November 13, 2016

New Pedestrian Crossing Warning Sign

This week a new warning sign went up at the Framingham MBTA station, notifying commuters that it’s illegal crossing the tracks. The sign is part of the continued attempt by the MBTA to notify users that this is not a legal crossing.

Framingham MBTA Sign

However, nobody was paying attention to the sign. I saw many commuters continue to cross the tracks. The sign is barely noticeable for most people crossing the tracks from the Banana Parking lot. When commuters approach the tracks they look both ways, and not at any sign on the fence

The law being referenced on the Framingham track sign 160 s218:

Whoever knowingly, without right is present, stands, walks, or rides a bicycle, snow vehicle, recreational or other vehicle on the right-of-way, bridge, or other property of, or used or controlled by any railroad corporation, except at a highway or other authorized grade crossing and except on rights-of-way formally abandoned pursuant to state or federal law and no longer owned by said railroad corporation or rights-of-way owned by said railroad corporation but which have been converted or leased specifically for use as a bicycle or walking path in accordance with state or federal laws, shall be fined $100 or shall be required to perform a total of 50 hours of community service which may include service in the operation lifesaver program, so-called. Any person violating this section may be arrested without a warrant by any police officer, including railroad police, and proceeded against according to law.

It's interesting that the law specifically mentions "walks" and "stands." It appears that it's perfectly legal for users to run or hop across the tracks. (Don't try to challenge that!)

I feel that the MBTA has a couple of options to reduce pedestrians from crossing the tracks:

  • Open up the new Parking Lot - In April, the new parking lot in Framingham will open. At that point, the pedestrian access point by the Concord Street will close. Until the lot opens, the MBTA should create a pedestrian path that users can follow and open up the gate by the pedestrian over path.
  • Change the Peak Trains to use Track 1 - By moving the peak trains to use the inside track, most pedestrians will not be crossing the tracks. Those that park on Waverly Street would simply use the pedestrian bridge since that would be the easier route to use.

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