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The Voice of the People: There are now 200 signatures on the Petition to Get Warning Signs at Train Crossings (7th UPDATE)

Report by Paula Antolini

In the last three days, 200 signatures were obtained via an online petition, whose aim is to try and make train crossings safer in Bethel and towns along the Danbury train line, due to the present MTA/Metro-North malfunctioning rail system.  The comments from residents in this petition, and also in online social media chats, especially on Facebook, says it all.  

Some comments are as follows:

"I stopped short just as I saw the train coming, I was the first to stop, the anxiety and panic was unreal."

"Please lets not wait for something bad to happen. Fix it now."

"This is important because people are unsafe, and could potentially be killed."

"This is very scary and needs to be fixed immediately."

"This is a massive safety issue. Fix it."

"I live right next to a train crossing right before Greenwood Avenue and the train goes by slow practically stopped and blows his horn longer than I need to hear it. let's fix this before someone gets killed"

"Greenwood Avenue is one of Bethel's most densely traveled roads and it is completely unacceptable that there is no crossing lights and gates."

"A danger to all!"

"This train line crosses many busy roadways, and my kids cross two of them (twice a day) in Danbury everyday on the school bus. You can't go anywhere in this area without hitting at least one crossing, which is fine....when they are working! It's like we are taking our lives in our own hands."

"Very unsafe a nightmare accident just waiting to happen."

"It's an inconvenience to have to keep checking to see if there's a train coming and I want to be safe driving around Bethel."

"It's scary."

"I have witnessed too many close calls of cars stopped on tracks with Train on coming."

"No cross guards or signals came on for me and my 3 year old son and the train came right up. He did stop but nothing was more frightening to my son or myself. I heard no horn either."

"My daughter, two granddaughters and son in law live in Bethel. This is a no brainer. What is wrong with you people? Fix the damn signal."

"I do not want to be run over by a train."

"What about the buses that need to cross it?!  Are they seriously going to allow these kids to die because they refuse to fix it?! Not happy about that!"

"I almost drove into the path of a train in November of 2013. Someone is going to get killed if this isn't taken care of soon."

"I almost crossed the train tracks when a train was also crossing. I stopped and looked to my left and noticed the train idling near the RR crossing - no horn, no gates. This is what we come to expect when we approach a RR crossing!"

"My daughter has her drivers permit. I was in the passenger seat and the arms began lowering as we were under them while she was driving. No warning, nothing. Train coming. Luckily we had enough time and I screamed for her to floor it. We made it. Luckily. My husband and other daughter were at the other intersection between Agway & Rings End. Luckily my husband looked down the tracks and saw the train coming even though none of the lights or the arms were coming down to warn him. Again, they could've been killed!"

"This is unacceptable, I have been driving around town under the assumption that the warning signals have been working just fine until I saw a Facebook post this past week that they weren't working! As drivers we are taught that we only need to stop if the lights are flashing and the signals go down. I am sure that there are many other drivers that are unaware of this situation and danger. This needs to be fixed immediately and in the meanwhile all residents need to be made aware of this situation.This needs to be taken care of before someone gets hurt."

"Safety!"

"Safety is important to me. Don't wait until someone gets killed!"

"My wife was almost hit when crossing the other day. She notified the police as well as she was driving with both our kids."

"My grandmother is in that area and it is very dangerous."

"It needs to be fixed...it is so dangerous!"

"There is a potential for a serious injury or loss of life."

"Safety should be a priority."

"Also the signal on Shelter Rock in Danbury."

"I run over both crossings and have seen first hand the arms not come down and trains inching across blaring their horns. And buses make those crossings multiple times a day. It's not safe."

"Please fix this problem AND put warning signs up while it is malfunctioning before someone gets killed."

*****

The situation is desperate and an immediate remedy is needed, at LEAST the installation of traffic warning signs on either side of railroad crossing tracks, to warn vehicle drivers that the crossing gates and signal lights are not working properly.

At the present moment MTA/Metro-North has NOT addressed the traffic issues at all.  MTA has only said that the repairs and/or upgrade, which is called the "Danbury Signalization Project," is ongoing.

The traffic hazards started to reveal itself as the gate malfunctions began, definitely noticeable by last November 2012 but possibly as early as October 2012, according to MTA complaint reports, then eventually occurred so often that residents are now in an uproar, demanding immediate action.

Understand that not all residents place official complaints so this situation is far worse than reports on record.

Two officials of local towns, Bethel CT First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, and Danbury CT Mayor Mark Boughton, both claim it is the MTA/Metro-North's responsibility to install and pay for traffic warning signs (see my past report, link below).

*****

To view and sign the petition, go here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/bethel-ct-mta-fix-the-crossing-signal-on-greenwood-avenue-and-in-the...

*****

View the entire series of articles, from November 12, 2013 and on, about the MTA/Metro-North railroad system malfunctions, here:

November 13, 2013 (Original discovery)
Bethel Police Scene Last Night: What Is All The Secrecy?

November 22, 2013
2nd UPDATE: Bethel Police Scene at Railroad Crossing

January 4, 2014
PHOTOS: Danbury Metro North Train Accident Today January 4, 2014

January 6, 2014
Are There Railroad Safety Issues? 3rd UPDATE On Train Crossing Gate Malfunction.

January 6, 2014
RAILROAD SAFETY, 4TH UPDATE: Howard Permut, Metro-North President, Announced Retirement

February 7, 2014
Warning About Train Crossings and Delays on Danbury Branch of Metro North

February 14, 2014
"I almost ran right into the path of a train this morning!" (5th UPDATE)

February 16, 2014
METRO-NORTH COMPLAINTS: Grassroots Watchdog Group Formed to Empower Commuters

February 16, 2014
Petition to Get Warning Signs Placed at Train Crossings Already Has 77 Signatures (6th UPDATE)


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Paula Antolini February 18, 2014 at 08:22 AM
There are now 227 signatures on the petition as of this morning 2-18-14.
Paula Antolini February 18, 2014 at 08:22 AM
Coincidence that I just saw this on NBC news this morning! This happened yesterday in Chicago. Completely heart-throbbing. A man in his car watching, photographed this as he waited on the road. This can happen ANYWHERE, and it is why residents are pursuing the train gates malfunction issue here in Bethel and Danbury and other towns on the Danbury line. Notice the woman running across the train tracks right before the train hits. They also said people were still in the car, but walked away uninjured (which is simply a miracle). I pray I never have to report on anything like this here in CT. http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/Caught-On-Camera-Metra-Train-Slams-Into-Car-245904691.html

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