Railroad crossings have nearly been eliminated in Colorado Springs.
There are two in the Mill Street neighborhood — at Las Animas and at Sierra Madre streets, near the Drake Power Plant.
Another is not far away at South Royer Street, just north of East Las Vegas Street, on the edge of the Hillside neighborhood.
The city is conducting a survey of public opinion regarding the Royer crossing. See it here.
(NOTE: The electronic survey was shut down Dec. 17. But it will still accept mail-in surveys for a short time. To receive a hard copy of the survey, call 385-5877 or use the email contacts shown on the webpage.)
It’s studying whether to close the crossing after 25 accidents since 1975 and several near tragedies. About a dozen people have been hurt but no one has died in the wrecks. Yet.
Recently, trucks and buses have become stuck on the crossing because of its steep grade.
The guys at nearby Harris Used Parts have come to the rescue of stuck trucks several times. They use a forklift to lift the trucks. Usually, they say, they can dislodge the trucks.
The survey is the beginning of a community discussion about the crossing and whether it should be closed or moved to a safer location, said Dave Krauth, the city’s principal traffic engineer.
It could lead to the city simply closing the crossing, which gets about 5,000 cars a day and about three dozen trains, or relocating it further west.
Krauth said it is a 15 percent grade. It drops off so sharply that low-riding trucks scrape and get caught on the tracks.
It would be easier to simply close it and rebuild a new crossing a mile or two west.
There would be a huge fringe benefit for nearby residents in Hillside. Any new crossing would be required by federal law to incorporate the latest crossing guards, lights, sensors and safety devices.
As a result, the crossing would qualify as a quiet zone. Engineers in passing trains would no longer be required to routinely blast their horns, which register at about 100 decibles, rattling houses, windows and eye-teeth.
Here’s a link to a story about the crossing in September 2005 after a semi-truck got stuck and smashed there. It followed a similar truck-train encounter in July 2005.
In December 2009, a tour bus became the latest victim of the crossing. Read about it at this link.
Here’s what we wrote after a truck got stuck on Nov. 11, 2010.
Here’s a look at the scars in the pavement from trucks stuck across the tracks: