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Old 08-29-07, 02:44 PM   #1
The Human Car
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Successful advocacy strategies to fix RR crossings

I would like to hear from anyone who has successfully got a Railroad company to pay attention to street crossings keeping them well maintained especially from a cyclist’s perspective. Extra points if that RR Company is CSX.

For background in certain locations around Baltimore CSX has stopped using some tracks and has let them go to heck and are extremely hazardous for cyclists, not to mention a lot of places they do fix up from time to time but a month latter they are as bad as ever.
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Old 08-29-07, 09:35 PM   #2
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Good luck, the city I used to live in has a train bridge that is falling apart, literally pieces fall onto the street and houses below. The city can't get them to fix it. The city condembed it, the railroad went to court and won based that a local gov has no jurisdiciton over a railroad.
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Old 08-29-07, 10:32 PM   #3
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I’m not sure how apocryphal this story is but apparently one of Baltimore’s past Mayor’s would park a maintenance truck on (or just overly near) the tracks when CSX would not fix something creating a standoff till CSX would move on the issue.
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Old 08-29-07, 10:41 PM   #4
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Learn how to bunnyhop?

Seriously though, I haven't had too many problems with RR tracks - just make sure you cross them perpendicularly, get your arse outta the saddle, and have a good grasp on the bars.
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Old 08-30-07, 12:43 AM   #5
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Successful advocacy strategies to fix RR crossings

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
I would like to hear from anyone who has successfully got a Railroad company to pay attention to street crossings keeping them well maintained especially from a cyclist’s perspective. Extra points if that RR Company is CSX.
I'm not sure if this'll help, Barry, but it's worth putting out there.

When I was with Cycling Advisory Committee with the City of Victoria (BC, Canada), we worked with the City and the railroad company to fix a very dangerous 45-degree crossing on a major road.

We negotiated their providing right-of-way to allow installation of 'jughandles'. These permitted crossing the tracks at a 90-degree angle while out of traffic. See the 4th photo down on this page:



I commuted daily on this road, and it made a huge difference (by the time it was installed, I lived in another part of town, but every subsequent trip was much easier).

Another improvement made while I was with the Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition was installing rubber flanges on railroad track crossing, reducing the gap and making the transition a lot safer. I don't recall the manufacturer, but these installations have apparently been made in many places in North America.

We also worked with the railway companies to provide right-of-way for a trackside recreational trail in Nanaimo, and the BC government has just anted up around $13 million CDN for doing the same in Victoria.

Just a bit of fodder to present to CSX to let them know they're being shown up...

Allan
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Old 08-30-07, 12:50 AM   #6
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If we build a massive bicycle the size of a train and then roll it at the crossings, then they'll be sure to notice.
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Old 08-30-07, 06:02 AM   #7
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There is a particularly nasty 45º crossing on Magnolia Ave. in Riverside, CA. Years ago, A cyclists got her front tire caught in the tracks, went down hard and was killed.

It got a lot of press at the time.

Bicycles normally travel in the WOL of Magnolia in this area.

The city added a short bike lane that loops around so the bikes can cross the track at 90º, then merge back onto Magnolia.
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Old 08-30-07, 09:41 AM   #8
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Cancer will be cured before you make this happen.
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Old 08-30-07, 11:59 AM   #9
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CSX tried to block some crossing to a trail in Philadelphia:

http://www.freetheriverpark.org/
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Old 08-31-07, 12:32 PM   #10
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Depends on the railroad. In Minneapolis, one of the shortline railroads, Progressive Rail ended up
buying nine miles of a former Canadian Pacific (former Soo Line ex-Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern)
branch line and one of the things they did is take one of the worst crossings I've ever experienced
as a cyclist and put in a whole new crossing with new cement. I can cross on a road bike even
when it's wet out. I can show you a before/after picture.

Some of the larger railroads it's more about the bottom line and how much they can nickel and
dime the public sometimes. In Progressives' case they want to be friendly neighbors so doing
stuff like actually maintaining track and crossings is just one of the things they do.
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Old 09-01-07, 12:43 PM   #11
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Here's what they (the Railroads) need to do:

Get some concrete ties:


Lay them down in the RR station parking lot:


Fasten the rails to the ties:


Put the track in place by slinging it between two payloaders:


Sing "I've been workin' on the railroad" while putting the new track together:


Bolt down pre-cast concrete grade xing:


And it's done! Smooth as it's ever going to be.


Photographs copyright Bob Huron and Photo Press Intl.

This crossing sees over 50 trains per day.
As for abandonned or hardly used track, it may never get done.
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Old 09-01-07, 07:58 PM   #12
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A number of years ago the City of Del Mar improved the notoriously dangerous 15th St. railroad crossing by looping the bike lane outward to create a 90-degree traversal of the tracks.
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Old 09-01-07, 08:09 PM   #13
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Well the tracks are fixed now! All it took was a well known cyclist to get injured on them and then schedule the Mayor for a bike ride over that area.

Thanks to all who responded!
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Old 09-12-07, 10:11 AM   #14
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The last photo in Hotbikes' picture set is what Progressive did to the crossing near my home.

It's amazingly easy to ride over now.
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