Radburn Train Station Focus of NJ Transit Rail Safety Initiative
Radburn train station is one of four statewide that will be a target of increased enforcement
Due to high rates of trespasser activity, NJ Transit has designated the Radburn train station as an area of focus and stepped up visible police enforcement efforts at the station as a result, the transportation agency announced Friday.
To prevent people from stepping in front of the Fair Lawn Avenue-facing fence that is intended to guide commuters to the platform side and away from danger, NJ Transit has installed new horizontal orange and white bollards between the fence and the tracks.
“We literally had to install the horizontal bollards because folks would not walk around and get behind the gate where they belong,” NJ Transit vice president and general manager of rail operations Kevin O’Connor said at Friday’s press conference, held at the station. “They would literally walk along the right of way going to and from the station because it was quicker and easier rather than doing the safe thing.”
The increased safety efforts at the Radburn station are part of a new statewide initiative undertaken following the deaths of three teenagers – two in Wayne, one in Garfield – who were struck and killed by NJ Transit trains last October.
“As a result of these tragic and senseless deaths, the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s commissioner and chairman of the NJ Transit board, Jim Simpson, organized and convened a new advisory body titled the Railroad Crossings Leadership Oversight Committee,” NJ Transit executive director James Weinstein said Friday. “The message to this committee of safety, engineering and transportation experts was simple and straightforward – draw up a realistic, workable and effective strategy that will save lives along the railroads in this state.”
The committee’s three-pronged safety approach focuses on engineering, enforcement and education. For its education piece, the public transportation agency will air a pair of public service announcements that target both parents and children.
“Education is the most critical part of this initiative, and as NJ Transit’s engineers, conductors and police officers will tell you, children are not the only one’s guilty of making such poor choices,” Weinstein said. “Their parents are often the ones setting the example.”
The PSAs, which started running over the weekend in both the New York and Philadelphia media markets, are the agency’s first television awareness campaign in over a decade.
In an effort to highlight the wide-ranging impact that a railroad accident can have, the messages feature two NJ transit engineers and an NJ transit conductor who have been involved in railroad fatalities, two NJ transit police officers who have responded to railroad fatalities and have been forced to deliver the tragic news to the families, and two men who have lost loved ones in railroad accidents.
“There’s probably not an NJ Transit officer that hasn’t had to respond to an incident where a child or an adult has been killed by a rail vehicle. And that’s not something that doesn’t impact you,” said NJ Transit chief of police Chris Trucillo, whose officers issued hundreds of warnings and more than 50 summonses at railroad tracks around the state Friday as part of ramped up enforcement efforts. “If a summons can prevent one person from meeting that fate…then I submit to you that that would have been worth it.”
As of Friday, there have been five NJ Transit rail fatalities statewide this year, down slightly from the seven deaths up to this point last year. There are about 25 people killed by NJ transit trains annually, some of them by suicide, the agency reported.