Railroad adds pedestrian crossings
Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad crews are installing pedestrian walkways across railroad tracks at four crossings in Fairfield.
“It’s a partnership between Fairfield and BNSF,” said Michael Halley, Fairfield city council member.
“We first brought this up at a pre-Quiet Zone meeting in August 2010,” he said. “Now, three years later, work has ironically begun just in time for RAGBRAI. When I let the railroad know we’d have thousands of bicyclists coming through, it began happening. It’s good to see the crews coming through working on this.”
Halley said the medians installed in streets at railroads crossings required by the Quiet Zone narrow the lane for vehicles and pedestrians to share when crossing the tracks.
“The four crossings — at Ninth Street, Court Street, Main Street and B Street — are getting pedestrian walkways installed,” said Halley. “It’s a safety issue. It will make crossing the tracks easier and safer, especially for walkers, people pushing baby strollers and riding bicycles. They won’t have to walk out into the street to cross the tracks.
“BNSF provided concrete or wooden platforms along with asphalt between the tracks,” Halley said. “City crews will connect the existing sidewalks as soon as their schedule allows, most likely in August.”
He said the Main Street crossing is receiving special attention because a wheelchair resident uses it frequently.
Halley said BNSF is aware RAGBRAI is coming and will slow its trains from the standard 45 mph or more through town to 25 mph in town on Friday.
Fairfield has three at-grade railroad crossings at 23rd Street, Fourth Street and D Street, which are already pedestrian-friendly.