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Churchill accident - a reminder to us all

Original post made by Paly Parent on Sep 26, 2006

The accident on Monday morning at the railroad tracks on Churchill should be a reminder to us all to behave responsibly while crossing the tracks. For parents of those who were in Paly when the previous events involving the deaths of two Paly students occurred, there is a chilling memory every time we hear of something like this. Fortunately this time there was no injury and although the driver walked away, the car shows that the situation could have been many times worse. What exactly happened has not been publicised, as far as I know, but the accident itself reminds us all that there should never be a situation where a car stops on the tracks. The rules are simple, if the exit is not clear, then don't go beyond the raised barrier. This is of paramount importance. Secondly, to all who have to cross the tracks on a daily basis, particularly those on their way to Gunn, Paly, or Stanford, irrespective of whether they are driving, cycling, walking, or anything else, these tracks are dangerous!!!!

Comments (3)

Posted by tom, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 27, 2006 at 11:27 pm

Her car stalled on the tracks before the crossing arms came down. When she could not get her car started and saw that the train was coming, she got out of the car before it was hit by the train.

When your car is stalled on a train crossing- FIRST THING TO DO-
get yourself and everyone out of the car and to a safe area. Do this even if there is no train in sight.

These trains travel at 70+ mph.


Posted by Cautious, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 28, 2006 at 7:58 am

But she should never have driven ON to the tracks in the first place. Traffic backs up there on Churchill in the morning. If the street on the other side of the tracks isn't clear, drivers should not cross the intersection.

From what I can tell, the driver was squeezing her way into a long line of backed-up cars when there wasn't room on the street yet. She appeared to be counting on the cars ahead to move before a train came by.

Just don't stop on the tracks! I've told my kids that when driving to Paly to not proceed through that intersection until there's a spot for the car AFTER crossing the tracks.


Posted by karen ewart, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 22, 2007 at 6:52 pm

I lived on Churchill Avenue, the one hundred block, for 15 years. The dangerous road behavior we witnessed on that street is something that will always live with me. The illegal passing, speeding, showing off, RR gate running, light running, speeding to MAKE the light. I was part of a committe that went to the City of Palo Alto and asked for change, even a few speed bumps, but the city never did a thing about ANY of our complaints. For a major pass through street, with a dedicated bike lane on one side, and a shared bike lane on the other, three schools on the route, and other multiple pedestrian/bicyclist/motor vehicle combo's, a fatality, in my opinion, is inevitable. When it happens, it will be too late.


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