Close Call at 65th Street Railroad Crossing Amid Complaints of “Malfunctioning” Gates
A near car-train collision occurred last Thursday July 18th at the railroad crossing gate at 65th & Overland. A head-scratching photo posted by a resident at about 6 p.m. showed a black Audi sedan “pinned” between a gate arm and an Amtrak commuter train.
Miraculously, the train did not strike the vehicle and there were no reported injuries. Because of the lack of damage, there was no Emeryville police report filed. Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer Tejada noted that an officer responded to the area, but the scene had already been cleared by the time they arrived. The image shows a uniformed officer helping control the scene, but apparently they were coincidentally a passenger on the train.
— Rose Gonzales (@roseagonzales) July 19, 2019
Several commenters weighed in with their own observations of the recent erratic behavior of the gates “The gates were malfunctioning this week and had morning traffic backed up,” noted one commenter. “Those gates have malfunctioned more than once recently, and it’s such a headache,” added another.
— Justin Hartung (@JustinHartung) July 16, 2019
The City of Emeryville and its leaders are apparently aware of the ongoing issue and have received complaints. “I literally had this conversation yesterday with city staff,” noted Councilmember John Bauters on his Twitter handle. “This is why UPRR needs to stop wasting time with our proposed railroad safety designs and make them happen. This is not acceptable.”
The safety designs Bauters is referring to are the so-called “quiet zones” that he helped spearhead while serving his turn as Mayor last year. The project would require fortifying the crossings with a four quadrant gate system. The city procured state funding for the project but has been slowed by a lethargic approval process with Union Pacific. Negotiations with rail carriers are said to be extremely bureaucratic and the South Bayfront bridge has been delayed over a year awaiting “air rights” from them.
Incidents around the tracks appear to be on the rise including a vehicle that was struck due to poor visibility earlier this year and person that was struck back in January, 2018. We have reached out UPRR but they have not responded.
Feature Image: Rose Gonzalez via Twitter