Darien looks to make dangerous rail crossing safer
DARIEN — Darien police are looking to make improvements to the railroad crossing on Hoyt Street after third car got stuck there in as many months.
At 1:15 a.m. on Nov. 1, a train on the New Canaan line struck the unoccupied car on the tracks at Hoyt Street after the woman driving the vehicle ended up stuck on the tracks. According to police, the woman had been following her GPS and turned off the road and onto the tracks, thinking it was the street she needed to turn on. The woman and her passenger were trying to push the car off the tracks when the train came and hit the vehicle.
Now Darien police are considering ways the crossing can be improved. According to Darien Police Capt. Don Anderson the state Department of Transportation and Metro-North came put down extra markings and new asphalts on the tracks over the summer so vehicles can now drive over them more easily.
Last week, the two agencies returned again to determine what else can be done to prevent cars from driving onto the tracks.
According to Anderson, the police want a new light by the crossing, as well as guardrails going north across the tracks. It’s unclear when these changes will be put in place, but the town is working with the Department of Public Works to get lights in within a couple of months.
Anderson said that part of the problem with the tracks may be the lighting, as incidents where cars have ended up on the tracks have all happened at night. He also said patrol officers complained about the crossing prior to the incidents and said the police department is seeking to improve the tracks to improve overall roadway safety in town.
“No matter who owns or maintains, we’re always trying to make roadways as safe as they can be,” he said. “Working together with agencies is the best way to get it done quickly and efficiently as possible.”
According to Darien police, there have been three incidents similar to this that have occurred over the past three months. The other two vehicles were towed off the tracks. Police said they have corresponded with the MTA, as well as other local agencies, to look at enhancing the marking of the path of the roadway.
No one was injured in the Nov. 1 incident and train service was not impacted. The driver in question was issued a summons for failure to stop at a railroad crossing.