WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | News, Weather & Sports

C'ville Police to Pedestrians: Stay Off the Train Tracks

By: Bianca Spinosa Email
By: Bianca Spinosa Email

August 17, 2008

The past couple weeks dozens of people have received tickets from the Charlottesville Police for railroad trespassing. Many of those ticketed were students trying to get from their apartments to the Corner.

Charlottesville Police say the main reason they patrol the tracks is safety. So far, no one has been struck or killed by a train in Charlottesville. But there have been injuries.

Police say it is not just trains people should be concerned about, they warn that the secluded nature of the tracks is conducive to crime.

"Some of those freight trains come right through our downtown area, and people cross those tracks during the day," said Charlottesville Police Chief, Tim Longo.

The CSX Railroad runs through the heart of Charlottesville several times a day, both downtown and on The Corner. A majority of these tracks run through the University community, therefore many students are crossing these tracks as a short cut to reach The Corner, or avoid it.

"Even the panhandling on the street corner. If you don't want to get hassled, it's another good way to go, so people are just trying to find alternatives," said Kurt Jacobson, who lives across from the train tracks.

Part of the problem is that the paths in and around the tracks are well worn. Plus, there are no physical barriers, like fences or bushes to stop someone from crossing the tracks, which is exactly why police are enforcing the $100 fine.

"We are really vigilant at trying to dissuade students from crossing the tracks," said Chief Longo.

Chief Longo says students should stick to roads, pedestrian crossings, and other well-lit areas. When crossing the tracks, they run the risk of being assaulted by people lurking in the bushes along Virginia Avenue.

"I think it should be more of police making sure it's for public safety and not handing out citations, because from what I've seen that's what people think," said Jacobson.

However, it is not just students getting tickets. Some employees downtown have been ticketed for parking on one side of the tracks and walking across to get to work.

"These are adults and other working class folk who are merely trying to get from their place of enforcement to their car, but the law is the law and we don't draw lines as to who gets the enforcement and who doesn't," said Chief Longo.

The Buckingham Railroad Branch wants fences or some sort of natural barrier installed to dissuade people from trespassing on the train tracks. So far, those changes are pretty low on City Council's agenda.

All railroad tracks are the private property of the railroad. Railroad trespassing is a misdemeanor and you could face fines if caught crossing the tracks.


The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
     
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
     
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.

 

powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 27075149