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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, February 14, 2015 11:16 AM

Norm48327
So, we need a sign to tell one what should be common sense? Huh?
 

 

Apparently so
 
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Posted by wanswheel on Saturday, February 14, 2015 11:21 AM
Do Not Stop On Tracks sign at Commerce St. crossing in Daily News video
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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, February 14, 2015 11:28 AM
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Posted by Paul of Covington on Saturday, February 14, 2015 11:39 AM

   We keep going back to "There should be a sign saying ...."    You can put up any sign you want, but how are you going to get drivers to pay attention to them?   As for the one that said "$50 FINE FOR FAILING TO READ THIS SIGN", I can hear the defense: "Sure, I read the sign, but I kept going anyway."   You can replace "READ" with "HEED", but what good would any sign do if drivers don't bother to read.

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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, February 14, 2015 12:35 PM
The critical point to warn drivers about is to not enter the crossing until it is clear to pass completely into the clear on the opposite side.  If they don’t heed that warning, they may not have any choice about the decision to stop on the track. 
Sure, lots of people will not read a sign, or assimilate its meaning.  But some will.  And if the hazard is important enough to put up a warning sign, it does not take any more effort to put up a sign that states the essence of the danger rather than some unavoidable consequence of it. 
When people inch along in stop-and-go traffic, they become a part of herd mentality.  They become less wary and cautious, because they feel they are a part of the mass of slow traffic.  All they focus on is making sure they move ahead when the car ahead moves ahead.  Probably only if drivers actually get stopped right on the track in such situations, do they suddenly recognize the peril of being trapped in that position.  But, I think it is understandable how drivers would not recognize that peril ahead of time.
Everybody moves when the car ahead moves.  Sometimes you move ten feet, and other times it might be 100 feet.  Nobody knows how far they will move, once they begin moving.  Everybody knows that it is important to not fail to recognize the car ahead starting to move.  When that happens people behind start blowing their horns. 
This was cited as a common reaction in the crash mentioned a few posts back.  The NTSB said that many times when people did properly refrain from entering the crossing before it was entirely clear ahead, they were urged forward by people blowing their horns behind, thinking that the stopped driver was distracted and failed to see traffic pulling away ahead.  So there is that peer pressure element further reinforcing the general misunderstanding the traffic principle involved.
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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, February 14, 2015 1:06 PM

Euclid
This was cited as a common reaction in the crash mentioned a few posts back.  The NTSB said that many times when people did properly refrain from entering the crossing before it was entirely clear ahead, they were urged forward by people blowing their horns behind, thinking that the stopped driver was distracted and failed to see traffic pulling away ahead.  So there is that peer pressure element further reinforcing the general misunderstanding the traffic principle involved.

Amen.  This poser always tries to keep my distance in stop and go traffic to prevent getting into a sandwich traffic accident.  Have seen cars behind  be just 1 - 2 ft behind other cars.  This also happens at grade crossings with car horn blowing by cars behind.  Do not see any way to prevent this behavior despite all the good suggestions in this thread.
The only good crossing is one that is under or over. (extinct level crossing )
 
 
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Posted by tree68 on Saturday, February 14, 2015 1:14 PM

And, if you're in a multi-lane situation, if you leave enough room for someone to cut in from the other lane, they will...

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, February 14, 2015 4:08 PM

WARNING

STOPPING ON TRACKS

IS A CAPITAL OFFENCE

ENFORCED

BY THE

LOCOMOTIVE

NO APPEALS ALLOWED

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Posted by challenger3980 on Saturday, February 14, 2015 4:11 PM

BroadwayLion

WARNING

STOPPING ON TRACKS

IS A CAPITAL OFFENCE

ENFORCED

BY THE

LOCOMOTIVE

NO APPEALS ALLOWED

 

 

Now THAT is the BEST sign suggestion yet, clear, to the point, just a bit long in the wording, but in this case that is excusable.

Doug

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Posted by zugmann on Saturday, February 14, 2015 4:15 PM

Euclid
why not have the trapped vehicle detection system simply raise the gates so the vehicle can escape?

 

You raise the gates and everyone else waiting will go through the crossing.  Then we'll have several cars hit by the train instead of one.

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Saturday, February 14, 2015 4:27 PM

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by Norm48327 on Saturday, February 14, 2015 5:23 PM

BroadwayLion

WARNING

STOPPING ON TRACKS

IS A CAPITAL OFFENCE

ENFORCED

BY THE

LOCOMOTIVE

NO APPEALS ALLOWED

 

I bow to you Sir. Best one yet. Bow Bow Bow

 

Norm


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Posted by Euclid on Saturday, February 14, 2015 5:24 PM

zugmann
 
Euclid
why not have the trapped vehicle detection system simply raise the gates so the vehicle can escape?

 

 

You raise the gates and everyone else waiting will go through the crossing.  Then we'll have several cars hit by the train instead of one.

 

I see your point.  You let someone out and someone will come in. 

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Posted by seppburgh2 on Saturday, February 14, 2015 6:42 PM

Thinking along the sign-route, there are also another approach more physical.  Here in Central PA, there is a sharp left ramp off Rt. 283 East for traffic to continue (1/2 up the road from the turn off is an end-of-highway 'T' type cross road with a Wendies right in the middle of the T, yes they do have a frontal tractor trailer drive through.)  The sharp curve of the ramp is such it cauese loads to shift and about 3 to 4 time a year a truck will end up on its side (PennDot maintains a fine green lawn as a landing pad.)   

Why I bring this up is PennDot has signs going back two mile warning trucks of the curve.  At the start of the ramp they have installed a number of rumble strips, spaced wide to narrow apart so that when you go over the final trip, you are at a safe speed to continue. Has worked as before the turn over turns were a monthly occurance.  The strips are cut into the pavement, not speed-bump style.

My contrubution to high-conjested grade crossing are rumble strips warning in the pavement.  On the Rt 283 ramp, ignore them and reduce speed, the more the the vehical shakes and the louder the sound.  

So we have the visual signes,  crossing-arms (question, do cross still have bells?) and now rumble strips.

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Posted by greyhounds on Saturday, February 14, 2015 9:40 PM
"By many measures, the U.S. freight rail system is the safest, most efficient and cost effective in the world." - Federal Railroad Administration, October, 2009. I'm just your average, everyday, uncivilized howling "anti-government" critic of mass government expenditures for "High Speed Rail" in the US. And I'm gosh darn proud of that.
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Sunday, February 15, 2015 6:19 AM

greyhounds

Actually, a fairly balanced article with some interesting information ($40MM for 1 grade crossing elimination). 

A couple quotes:

"The less expensive safety measures — automatic gates, lights, bells and signs — are largely in place in the New York region. A challenge is creating crossings that can overcome the lesser impulses of human nature in a part of the country where many people do not see patience as a virtue."

"The railroad also plans to paint “don’t block the box” stripping at the crossing this summer." [sic - should be "striping' - funny, the NYT editors/ style checkers must have missed that one !] 

- Paul North. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Sunday, February 15, 2015 6:25 AM

A lot of these bad situations involve traffic congestion and back-ups across the tracks.  Perhaps installing "ramp meters" with aggressive photo-enforcement (cameras)- which look like and can be enforced the same as regular traffic lights - to keep the volume and length of the queue down at the crossing - might be helpful, so that there is more room for trapped vehicles to escape.  See:  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramp_meter 

http://azdot.gov/media/blog/posts/2014/02/05/ramp-meters-unappreciated-or-just-misunderstood-

- Paul North.

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, February 15, 2015 6:26 AM

Paul_D_North_Jr

"The railroad also plans to paint “don’t block the box” stripping at the crossing this summer." [sic - should be "striping' - funny, the NYT editors/ style checkers must have missed that one !] 

- Paul North. 

 

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, February 15, 2015 9:08 AM
Here is the problem.  There are times when slow congested traffic is passing over a grade crossing without actually stopping.  A driver has no way of knowing whether the traffic will suddenly come to a stop when the driver is passing through the crossing.  So the traffic control principle has to be that no driver ever should enter a crossing until it is completely clear of vehicles.  The speed of the vehicles is irrelevant, but at higher speeds the problem of getting trapped on the crossing diminishes.  But at say 10 mph, the problem is quite likely to occur. 
So what should a driver do when approaching in traffic moving continuously at 10 mph? 
In the first place, a vehicle can get trapped by the gates in traffic where the vehicle never stopped, simply because the traffic is moving very slowly.  So the DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS sign does not even address this peril. A driver could get trapped by the gate although never stopping until that entrapment occurs.    
Here is what must be done when closely spaced traffic is approaching at 10 mph, but never stopping.  Every vehicle must stop short of the crossing and wait until the vehicle ahead passes completely through the crossing.  Only one at a time can cross. 
But this will add significantly to the already congested traffic. If the crossing is 100 feet wide, it will spread the closely spaced traffic out to have at least 100 feet of spacing between each vehicle.  So a line of 100 vehicles (each 15 ft. long) approaching with 10 feet of vehicle spacing will be approximately 2,500 feet long.  Once it crosses the track, every vehicle in the line will be spaced 110 feet from the next vehicle.  So, after crossing the tracks, the line of vehicles will have grown from 2,500 feet long to 12,500 feet long.       
This added excess spacing caused by the grade crossing will reduce the capacity of the road and greatly add to the already overloaded condition and gridlock. 
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Posted by Norm48327 on Sunday, February 15, 2015 10:59 AM

Euclid
Here is the problem.  There are times when slow congested traffic is passing over a grade crossing without actually stopping.  A driver has no way of knowing whether the traffic will suddenly come to a stop when the driver is passing through the crossing.  So the traffic control principle has to be that no driver ever should enter a crossing until it is completely clear of vehicles.  The speed of the vehicles is irrelevant, but at higher speeds the problem of getting trapped on the crossing diminishes.  But at say 10 mph, the problem is quite likely to occur. 
So what should a driver do when approaching in traffic moving continuously at 10 mph? 
In the first place, a vehicle can get trapped by the gates in traffic where the vehicle never stopped, simply because the traffic is moving very slowly.  So the DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS sign does not even address this peril. A driver could get trapped by the gate although never stopping until that entrapment occurs.    
Here is what must be done when closely spaced traffic is approaching at 10 mph, but never stopping.  Every vehicle must stop short of the crossing and wait until the vehicle ahead passes completely through the crossing.  Only one at a time can cross. 
But this will add significantly to the already congested traffic. If the crossing is 100 feet wide, it will spread the closely spaced traffic out to have at least 100 feet of spacing between each vehicle.  So a line of 100 vehicles (each 15 ft. long) approaching with 10 feet of vehicle spacing will be approximately 2,500 feet long.  Once it crosses the track, every vehicle in the line will be spaced 110 feet from the next vehicle.  So, after crossing the tracks, the line of vehicles will have grown from 2,500 feet long to 12,500 feet long.       
This added excess spacing caused by the grade crossing will reduce the capacity of the road and greatly add to the already overloaded condition and gridlock. 
 

And how would you propose to enforce that?

Norm


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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, February 15, 2015 11:10 AM

North of where I live here in Virginia is the town of Ashland.  The old RF&P, now CSX mainline runs through the center of town and there's several grade crossings.

Traffic usually backs up a bit at the grade crossing in the downtown area. When I'm in town I NEVER stop on the tracks, I always maintain a more than good separation between myself and the car in front of me. When there's room on the other side, then I cross. You're behind me and in a rush?  Too damn bad, you're going to wait! 

But then, that's just me.

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Posted by NorthWest on Sunday, February 15, 2015 11:24 AM

Considering the freak nature of this accident, and the rarity of it, I think we need to be mindful that creating solutions that are worse than the problem should be avoided at all costs. As noted earlier by many posters, as long as there are trains running, people will still manage to get hit by them.

One possible and somewhat easy solution to lower risk is an electronic stop sign activated in congested conditions. In the Cascades, there are a few speed limit signs that light up with different speed limits when the roads are icy. Perhaps a sign that is blank when roads are uncrowded but lit up as a stop sign when roads are backed up would be a low cost improvement. People, of course, may still run through it.

I think we need to remember, though, that the road in question was congested due to an emergency detour.  

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, February 15, 2015 11:52 AM

Norm48327
And how would you propose to enforce that?

They can enforce it like they enforce all the other traffic laws.  But first they have to recognize the problem, and the DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS sign is a clear indication of a failure to recognize the problem, as I have carefully explained above.  There is a need for this traffic control at grade crossings, and it goes beyond the issue of warning of trains.

I have revised my sign that I recommend for controlling the problem.  This one says exactly what to do in the fewest words possible:
 

STOP AND WAIT HERE

IF VEHICLES ARE ON CROSSING

 

The larger problem, however, is that this requirement, as I have explained, will increase traffic gridlock by maybe 5-10 times, depending on the crossing width.  I doubt that will be deemed acceptable.  So there is no solution to the problem, and the silly DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS sign is a feeble attempt to deny that lack of a solution.    

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Posted by mudchicken on Sunday, February 15, 2015 12:48 PM

Just build the damn bridge and try to inconvenience the adjoiners as little as possible. The rules of the conservation of stupid will continue to apply in the sign department. (subset of the Army Axiom)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Norm48327 on Sunday, February 15, 2015 1:01 PM

Euclid

 

 

 

 

 
 

STOP AND WAIT HERE

IF VEHICLES ARE ON CROSSING

 

 

 

So, if there are no vehicles on the crossing, your sign is an invitation for them to pull up and stop there.

Norm


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Posted by challenger3980 on Sunday, February 15, 2015 1:17 PM

Euclid
 
Norm48327
And how would you propose to enforce that?

 

They can enforce it like they enforce all the other traffic laws.  But first they have to recognize the problem, and the DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS sign is a clear indication of a failure to recognize the problem, as I have carefully explained above.  There is a need for this traffic control at grade crossings, and it goes beyond the issue of warning of trains.

I have revised my sign that I recommend for controlling the problem.  This one says exactly what to do in the fewest words possible:
 

STOP AND WAIT HERE

IF VEHICLES ARE ON CROSSING

 

The larger problem, however, is that this requirement, as I have explained, will increase traffic gridlock by maybe 5-10 times, depending on the crossing width.  I doubt that will be deemed acceptable.  So there is no solution to the problem, and the silly DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS sign is a feeble attempt to deny that lack of a solution.    

 

 

And here I thought the whole idea was to keep vehicles OFF the crossing.

I still don't see why some find the DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS less than adequate, it is short sweet and to the point.

The REAL problem isn't the sign anyway(regardless of WHAT wording is used) but the fact that common sense ISN'T COMMON any more, you shouldn't need to tell people not to enter a crossing until they can safely and COMPLETELY clear it.

Another sign that SHOULD be UN-Necessary is the "Fender Bender? Drive vehicles to the SHOULDER" signs. Yet I still see on a regular basis people exchanging Insurance info, in the TRAFFIC LANES, on the INTERSTATE, and then they can't understand WHY people are Honking at them. There are those that are still STUPID enough to believe that they can not move the vehicles until the Police show up, even in MINOR, NON-INJURY accidents. they don't understand, they are risking their own Safety, and increasing the chances of secondary accidents.

With more than 26 Years and 2,500,000 miles driving experience in Tractor Trailers, the Stupidity that I have seen on the roads is beyond mind boggeling, there is NOTHING that a motorist can do anymore that will surprise me. They may show me something I haven't seen yet, but it will take something truly, Impressively Stupid to surprise me.

Doug

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:09 PM

Euclid
 

STOP AND WAIT HERE

IF VEHICLES ARE ON CROSSING

 

Your suggestion and replies brings forth another possible solution.  In the far side of a crossing place a traffic sensor loop(s).  Maybe an electric light system ? If the loop(s) detect a stopped vehicle that would activate a sign, other lights, traffic signal, etc on the near side. saying:

" STOP crossing not clear "

Once  a  stopped vehicle moves then sign would turn off.

By no means is this a complete solution especially if a tractor trailer is allowed to proceed to an insufficient opening.  If built to restrict  a TT then our idiot drivers would soon learn to cross over to space.

We have 3 crossings here where a highway parallel to the train tracks distance is actually less than a TT length with  1   just one car length to highway..  As you can guess have seen some hairy situations.  That's why we usually stop at least 25 feet from gate until far side clears.  

 

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:21 PM

This is a vehicle / DOT problem, not a railroad problem.

Install a second gate about 50' in front of the railroad gate. It will be one of those yellow and bloack things like are used in the parking lot. It the road beyond the tracks is clear the gate will go up and a green light will appear. The gate will then go down again and display a red light until the place beyond the gate is clear again. If a train comes (say the gates at the previous intersection went down, then the yellow gate will stay down until the train is passed.

This is called Traffic Metering.

ROAR

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Posted by Euclid on Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:42 PM
The sign I propose offers a more direct control in preventing people from getting trapped on the crossing.  But I see it as being most beneficial (and critically necessary) where traffic routinely gets congested and moves very slowly.  I am just guessing, but I bet that the potential for grade crossing crashes goes way up when a solid line of traffic is inching across a grade crossing. 
This system would not be difficult to implement.  It does not even require electricity.  And most important, it adds the traffic control that is needed and is missing today.  You have to take a stronger control action to prevent multiple vehicles from being on the crossing in each lane.
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Posted by BroadwayLion on Sunday, February 15, 2015 7:45 PM

This particular intersection/Crossing is somewhat different.

Except for an accident on the Taconic State Parkway with traffic diverted to Commerse Street, Commerce is nothing more than a little country lane with little to no traffic on it. There is a reason why they call that town Valhalla -- It is 80% Cemetaries, and along that stretch of Commerce Street there is the Railroad and the Parkway to the east and a whole bunch of dead people to the west, and nothing else. That roac could easliy be removed together with the next crossing north whic ONLY serves the cemeteries to the West, and the one to the south whcih while it peters out in a cemetery does serve other communities, although that one would be more difficult to elevate.

The Taconic State Parkway is not much to speak of in that neighborhood either. IT COULD SERVE as the local street, and actually doesm until one gets to the Hawthorne Circle (Now just a super interchange) which is whre the real Parkway actually begins for all pratikal pourposes.

ROAR

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Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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