Posted at: 08/05/2014 6:24 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Workers holding orange flags were posted at the Rail Runner crossings in Santa Fe Tuesday, warning drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians about the oncoming train.
The train will also slow down at crossings in the city as part of new safety measures that just went into place.
"The amount of pedestrian and bicycle activity in and around these crossings has increased in the last couple of years", said Terry Doyle, Director of Rio Metro Regional Transit District. "We want to make sure we are doing all we can in the way of making these crossings as safe as possible for those who use them."
Over the next 60-90 days, the agencies that oversee the Rail Runner will be conducting a safety study of the crossings and looking for ways to make permanent safety improvements.
"One option we've considered was sounding the train horns through these crossings", said Dewey V. Cave, Executive Director for the Rio Metro Regional Transit District. "However, we decided to utilize slower speeds and flaggers so that we uphold the commitment we've made to the residents and business-owners of Santa Fe to maintain quiet operations through the area."
Two bicyclists have been hit and killed by the Road Runner in Santa Fe this year. In April, a woman was hit as she rode her bike across the tracks on Zia Road. A man was hit and killed in June at the St. Michael's Drive crossing. A spokeswoman says the safety improvements are not a direct result of the deaths.
"Maintaining safety throughout the Rail Runner corridor is not a one-time deal, but rather a continuous effort" said Mr. Cave. "We are very fortunate to have members of the Federal Railroad Administration, the PRC, NMDOT and the City of Santa Fe working with us to review these crossings. We want to make sure we are doing all we can to ensure that our crossings are as safe as they can be for bicyclists and pedestrians, as well as those traveling through them in their vehicles."