Originally Posted by Trainguy
Fences are only for smart people. Idiots will do what idiots will do. White Rock is lucky that BNSF is neighbourly and allows them to use railway property for the promenade and parking lot. They could easily fence the whole thing off and install no trespassing signs. White Rock ( formerly Surrey ) built itself along an active railway. What did they expect would happen? Don't whine after the fact.
Yeah, idiots do what idiots do. That's not the true concern. The true concern is over accidents happening to innocent people minding their own business.
We overuse the term accident. Like:
"I was in a car accident."
"Oh, what happened?"
"I was drunk and ran a red light hitting another car."
That's not an accident, that's negligence and a criminal act. That's an extreme example, but we do overuse the word accident making it so generalized.
People standing on the tracks thinking they can jump out of the way at the last minute to pose of an awesome selfie, but getting their foot stuck under the rail and hit by the train isn't an accident. It is unintentional suicide. It's like a snowmobile getting killed in an avalanche in the off limits in the back country; what did you expect?
Accidents happen when people are not properly aware of their surroundings. Countless studies have been conducted on situational awareness and decision making, and show we all have different competencies. For some people it is easy to be caught unaware a train is approaching. You could be running with earbuds in with the train approaching from your rear, and when you cross the tracks not realize the train is that close. In the dark it can be difficult to tell how fast the train is moving and if you have enough time. Some people also make rash decisions brought on by pressure, like trying to beat the train because their brain misfires and they believe having to wait for the train is actually worse than any possible consequence (many of us make this error all the time, like running to make a crosswalk light, or speeding to pass a slow moving car; luckily most of us survive our lapse in judgement). See the video bellow to see what I mean.
The real problem on the promenade is that the main crossing at the pier should be gated (much like the pedestrian crossings on the LRT in Calgary), and there should be an overpass alternative (the federal government provides grants to build them). That way people won't feel the need to beat the train.
And the crossings as the east beach aren't even signaled. So at night trains run silently through there, which can be dangerous. They should be gated and signaled as well.
Transport Canada actually recommended this, but the Mayor of White Rock called it an over reaction (I guess spending a billion dollars on a tunnel instead is much more rational).
The pedestrian crossings at the White Rock waterfront are completely legal, and it would actually be illegal for BNSF to block them. The Canada Transportation Act says that if the parties have come to an agreement on crossings, then it is binding. Even if the railway doesn't agree to the crossing, the "individual" (or city in this case) can ask the Agency directly for a crossing which the agency can force the railway to pay to build.
So just putting up fences is kind of pointless. There still need to be public crossings of the railway, which put gaps in the fence anyway. Maybe a fence east of the East Beach, but the stuff along the actual promenade is decent enough, it just needs swing arms at the crossings.
• Video Link
Swing arms would prevent the idiot group of girls from doing what they did, but no fence in the world is going to cure that raging case of asshole from the end of the video.