Pedestrians continue to ignore warning signals at train tracks where woman, child were struck
KITCHENER – A railway crossing in Kitchener continues to pose a public safety concern.
A GO train struck a woman and a child at Lancaster Street West near Victoria Street North on November 13.
More than a week later CTV News returned to the crossing.
Despite the danger, pedestrians continued to ignore the warning signals and walked past the activated railroad crossing arms.
Local business owner Marc Laderoute says he sees people crossing when they shouldn’t all the time.
He also admits it’s something he used to do too.
“I have done the same thing at this intersection when I lived in this neighbourhood, crossing the tracks with the guards down because of a cargo train.”
On Friday his security camera captured two people walking across the tracks while the crossing arm was down.
“People are unaware there is a second track for another train,” he says. “Unless you are familiar with this crossing you wouldn’t expect another train to be coming.”
The crossing has two arms in place to stop traffic but there are no physical barriers to block pedestrians on the sidewalks.
Laderoute’s camera also captured the collision involving the woman and child.
CTV News was allowed to watch the video but Laderoute asked that it not be shared publically.
The video shows a group standing on the sidewalk when a cargo train, moving slowly, clears the intersection. Someone walking in the opposite direction crosses the tracks while the signals are still on and the arms are down. Moments later the group on the sidewalk starts to cross the tracks and that’s when the woman and child were struck.
“Three people made it through prior to her crossing,” says Laderoute. “With the cargo train there her vision would have been obstructed. This isn’t the first time that this has occurred.”
There have been at least three fatalities at that same set of tracks.
A 76-year-old cyclist from Waterloo was killed in April of 2013.
Four years later a woman was also struck and killed by a GO train and then a year after that, there was another death.
Operation Life Saver, a Canadian rail safety organization, sent CTV News at statement which reads: “If you’re at a crossing with active warning signals, always wait for the lights to stop flashing, the bell to stop ringing, and for the gates to be fully raised before proceeding through. If the crossing has multiple tracks, remember that one train can block your view of another. Never cross until you have a clear view of the tracks in both directions and are certain no other trains are coming on any track.”
Kitchener mayor Berry Vrbanovic also address this, saying in part: “As we see more trains coming in and out of Kitchener in the month and years ahead, we’ll need to make sure the level-crossing at Victoria and Lancaster protects all users as effectively as possible.”
Laderoute agrees, saying he believes more needs to be done.
“This train crossing is an issue. It has been for several years.”
The crossing is owned by Metrolinx but Lancaster Street is the responsibility of the region.
Waterloo Regional Police and the Ministry of Labour are both still investigating the incident involving the woman and child.
Last week they confirmed that at the time of the incident the woman was employed as a therapist with bitKIDS Behaviour Consulting on Victoria Street North.
CTV reached out to the education centre to find out what their policies are regarding outings with children but they did not respond by our deadline.