I consider myself to be a very tolerant and easygoing person, but living by the railroad tracks in Delray Beach has become unbearable.
First, it should be part of Urban Planning 101 that you do not have a freight train and an express passenger train pass right through the center of our beautiful downtown, where people live and go out in the evening to enjoy themselves.
If public officials really cared about the design of our urban environment, they would have used eminent domain to move the freight train and Brightline to the Tri-Rail tracks along I-95.
Anyway, this letter is not supposed to be about that, because that would make too much sense and, with big business in the picture, it is not likely to happen.
Therefore, let us deal with the problem at hand, which is twofold.
First, people are being killed by Brightline!
Second, those of us who live near the railroad tracks — probably hundreds of thousands of people if you factor in every city in southeast Florida — are having our lives disturbed by being woken up eight to 10 times a night by trains that continually blast their horns throughout the night.
What’s so frustrating to me is that finding a solution should not be difficult. In Germany and the United Kingdom, for many years they have had such trains, and nowhere do the trains blast their horns. Yes, their gates are better and practically impossible to get through.
As you can see in the photo, it is possible to make the gates in such a way that you cannot crawl under them or sneak your bicycle through.
There should obviously also be a wall or fence along the tracks so that no one can walk around the gates.
Now as far as the train horn goes, it really serves no purpose because any person who is not severely hearing-impaired hears the bells from the gates as they are closing.
The bottom line is, it is time for city officials to show some urgency!
The Florida East Coast Railroad was hauling freight along these tracks many years before Delray Beach became developed to anywhere near the extent that it is now. The horns sound by law before each crossing. If we left it to people on the street to pay attention and actually look for the train that thet could see coming but not yet hear, there would be many more statistics. Freight trains have become more numerous as population and the economy increases just like road traffic has and now in an effort to relieve some of our traffic problems passenger trains are in the mix after years of planning. People are not getting killed by trains at this rate in other parts of the country or world even where train traffic is heavy. Stupidity, innatention and daring are factors in almost all of these accidents. It's not the train's fault. As for Delray Beach, the city, in the past several years has chosen to overdevelop and pack every parcel right up to railbed and now people are upset.