LETTER TO THE EDITOR: How many train accidents can we take?
After losing my friend B.J. [Strandberg] on May 5, 2001, I fear railroad crossings. I can't cross the tracks, even at the intersections with crossing arms, without slowing down to look both directions - probably a good habit to have, but even with crossing arms I still don't feel completely safe. It seems those arms lower only a few seconds before the train is upon the intersection.
Yet there are still several intersections that are only marked with a stop sign. For those of us who have lived in Storm Lake for many years, it is easy to forget that there are now stop signs at every previously unmarked railroad crossing. People still roll through them without even noticing they are there. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that the city took the initiative of closing intersections and placing those signs, but I wonder how much good they are doing. The stop sign is not going to tell a driver if a train is coming or not.
I realize these signs are just a temporary fix until crossing arms can be put up at the remaining crossings, but since B.J.'s fateful day not one new set of crossing arms have been put up. Now another accident has brought to our attention that railroad safety should be a major concern in our city. We need to come together as a community to find the money needed to protect the remaining crossings with crossing arms. In the meantime I just want to encourage everyone to be
cautious at crossings and obey the stop signs.