Hoping for change | November 6, 2009 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 6, 2009

Hoping for change

Mothers and others offer to sit and watch at West Meadow train crossing

by Jocelyn Dong

With the temperature in the low 60s Tuesday evening, Caroline Camhy Rothstein, dressed in a black and red ski jacket, sat in a folding canvas chair along West Meadow Drive in Palo Alto.

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Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong can be e-mailed at [email protected]


Posted by S.C, Gunn Student
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 6, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Interesting. I'd like to point out that this watch group isn't the first of its kind. A Gunn student started a student watch group over the summer in response to the first two. However, he graduated and the group didn't continue. It's interesting to see that others have a similar idea.

Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 7, 2009 at 11:17 am

OK so there's a watch group at West Meadow Drive and the train tracks, and they are to be commended; but if someone really wants to stand infront of an oncoming train they'll just move over to Charleston and whose watching that train crossing?

Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 7, 2009 at 11:58 am


Possibly, but this should reduce the lure of W. Meadow, which has become freighted with a weird significance.

You can drown yourself at several bridges in the Bay Area, but people go out of their way to jump off the Golden Gate. Same kind of thing going on here.

Posted by Sarah
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm

A lot of suicide attempts are people looking for attention more than anything else. Having a group of mothers patrolling the train crossing can give these kids someone to talk to. It also shows the kids that the community really does care.

I agree with OhlonePar that the media notoriety of this intersection does attract suicide attempts to this specific place. Some of these people would not be considering suicide except for the notoriety.

This volunteer effort costs nothing, has potential benefits, and has no negatives that I can think of. We should applaud them for their efforts.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Not to undermine the efforts of those guarding the Meadow crossing, which I do think is commendable and I am grateful to those doing it, but the underlying problem is that Caltrain needs to make the tracks less accessible. There were two more fatalities on Caltrain yesterday
Web Link one in San Jose and one in Redwood City.

The Golden Gate Bridge gets more suicides than any other bridge in the Bay Area. Likewise Caltrain gets fatalities. Remember, the first suicide in Palo Alto this year was not a student but a 29 year old woman between Charleston and San Antonio. She seems to have been forgotten with all our concern about students.

I would really like to see a concerted effort to get Caltrain to realise that it is the magnet just as much as Meadow is a magnet. Bart is not a magnet the way Caltrain is and there are many, many reasons for this.

But, I will finish by repeating that I do find those guarding the tracks at Meadow commendable and very worth while. If nothing else, it shows Caltrain that we, the community, are very concerned about this.

Posted by Sarah
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm

For several years now, Caltrain has been building new fencing along the tracks, remodeling stations to reduce the need for pedestrians walking over the tracks, building new walkways and crossing gates at intersections, making the train horns louder, etc. Perhaps they can add flood lights along the tracks to keep people from hiding in the shadows.

Completely removing the road crossings is expensive. The only realistic funding source for that project is HSR.

Posted by Midtwon Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 7, 2009 at 10:47 pm

Dear Neighbor,
At this point sometimes Charleston has been watched but not as much as E. Meadow because of lack of enough volunteers, perhaps you could dedicate some of your time to watch the Charleston site. Even if you only donate one hour of your time per week, you will make a big difference. I hope you considered.

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