Plan For Pedestrian Crossing On Railroad

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-Seven people have died at the train crossing on North Kansas Avenue over the past 27 years.

Many of them were guests at the nearby Topeka Rescue Mission.
The organization's Executive Director and the City have an idea to make it safer.

Montreal Johnson was walking across the North Kansas Avenue train tracks Sunday with 3 other people.

He says they made it passed a stopped train, but then a 50-year-old man stepped into the path of a second train, moving toward them.

"And I'm screaming at him telling him 'hey man a train coming, a train coming', and I'm telling him that he was get down, and he would have probably still been alive if he got down quicker," said Johnson.

Topeka Rescue Mission Executive Director Barry Feaker says the man couldn't hear the warning because he was deaf.

He says the man's death is the seventh he's learned about in his career.

"You don't need to have people collide with a train," says Feaker.

That's why Feaker asks this vital question: "Is it possible to have a pedestrian walkway across these tracks?"

For years, Feaker has proposed the idea of installing a pedestrian crossing over the tracks to connect the Topeka Rescue Mission to the Great Overland Station and NOTO arts district.

The City says the concept is included in comprehensive plans for North Topeka. An illustration is included in their written strategy.

"There's a great reason to give them access across this very dangerous intersection," says Feaker.

Montreal agrees and says he doesn't want to see anyone else risk their life.

"Because people are homeless and they feel like they ain't got nobody in the world and they will take theirselves out by the track being here," says Johnson.

Barry Feaker tells 13 news that he spoke with Union Pacific representatives and that they are interested in cooperating with the City on long term solutions.


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