By Tasha Bartholomew, @tashbart
In 2015, Caltrain experienced an increase in train collisions with vehicles along the rail corridor, but particularly in the city of Burlingame. Within a two-week timeframe last fall, there were two vehicle strikes at Broadway and one at Bayswater Avenue.
During that time, many people questioned the sudden rise in train versus vehicle collisions in Burlingame. It’s hard to pinpoint any one reason for the incidents. There have been a number of contributing factors to consider, such as heavy traffic congestion during commute hours, drivers who are not familiar with the crossings in that city and major construction activity from the Highway 101 Broadway Interchange Project.
Perhaps the biggest question asked of the rail agency was, “What is Caltrain going to do to improve safety in the area?”
Since those incidents occurred, Caltrain has taken several preventative measures to improve rail safety in Burlingame that included:
- Stepping up law enforcement patrols at the Broadway and Bayswater grade crossings. The Transit Police and the Burlingame Police Department worked together to educate drivers on the importance of not stopping their cars on the railroad tracks. Drivers should be stopped about 12 feet from tracks to remain at a safe distance;
- Painting the pavement so that there are fresh markings to alert drivers to “Keep Clear” so they know not to stop their vehicles on the tracks;
- Adding “bumps” or pavement markers at Broadway to show drivers that the grade crossing is not an intersection. The reflective markers define the edge of the roadway from the tracks; and
- Working with Caltrans to adjust the light sequence to improve traffic flow on Broadway.
Caltrain hopes these safety improvements help prevent any additional collisions from happening in the city of Burlingame.