• John Jantak

Pedestrian and motorist safety highlighted at Pincourt–Terrasse-Vaudreuil train station


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

An information blitz promoting railway crossing awareness geared towards motorists and pedestrians in partnership with the Operation Lifesaver safety campaign took place at the Pincourt–Terrasse Vaudreuil train station last Thursday, September 27.

Pedestrian security at railroad crossings was the focus of a safety campaign from Operation Lifesaver that took place at the Pincourt–Terrasse-Vaudreuil commuter train station last Thursday morning, September 27. Motorists and pedestrians were encouraged to stay alert and be aware of their surroundings.

Jean-Guy DuSablon, the Eastern Regional Coordinator for Operation Lifesaver, along with the organization’s partners including the CN Police, CP Police, Sûreté du Québec (SQ), Terrasse-Vaudreuil Councillor Jean-Pierre Brazeau, Pincourt Mayor Yvan Cardinal and others participated in the information blitz.

Raising safety awareness

They met, briefly chatted with and handed out information cards to commuters for more than two hours beginning at 6:30 a.m. “This is an education program to bring awareness to the risks around railway crossings and trains. It’s a part of National Rail Safety Week across Canada and is being coordinated to take place at the same time with the United States,” DuSablon told The Journal.

“More than 2,000 people across North America are killed or seriously injured in incidents each year involving trains. We’re here to promote accident prevention and inform people about the risks of being around trains,” said DuSablon.

As he was talking, warning bells began chiming, red lights began flashing and the rail crossing barriers lowered. About 15 seconds later, a Via Rail train whizzed by at about 90 kilometres an hour. “At this speed, you don’t want to take a chance,” DuSablon said.

Dangerous crossing

The four sets of rail tracks in Terrasse-Vaudreuil make it difficult to know from which direction a train is approaching. This makes the crossing more dangerous than others, said Councillor Brazeau. In October 2014, a car got stuck between one set of tracks. The driver was able to get out before the vehicle was hit by a train. No one was injured.

Town officials are constantly looking for ways to reduce the danger to motorists and pedestrians. Traffic lights were installed at nearby intersections in January, 2015. “This helped make the intersection safer,” said Brazeau. The town is also looking into the feasibility of building an underground pedestrian tunnel with CN and CP to improve safety.

‘Stop and look up’

“Impatience is a big problem. People are in a rush. When the barriers comes down to prevent pedestrians from crossing the tracks, people will bend down and cross underneath the gates,” said Brazeau.

One strategy is to spray paint yellow diamond-shaped warning signs onto the pavement to advise pedestrians they’re about to enter a railroad crossing zone. “Everybody is walking with their headphones. They’re looking down (at their phones). They’re not looking up. It’s to let them know there’s a track and they should stop and look up. It’s a good initiative from Operation Lifesaver,” said Brazeau.

“It’s a pleasure for us to be cooperating today with all our colleagues from their respective organizations to promote rail crossing safety,” said SQ Sergeant Bruno Beaulieu. Operation Lifesaver also delivered their safety message to the kindergarten through grade six students of École José Marie in Terrasse-Vaudreuil.

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