Safety blitz and ticketing brings awareness around CTrain safety

A safety blitz launched in partnership with Calgary Transit, Calgary police and Canadian Pacific police ended up with 35 tickets issued and plenty of concerns raised.

Officers with the three groups staked out the Chinook LRT station Friday morning, said Brian Whitelaw, superintendent of public safety with Calgary Transit.

“The area was selected really from an education and safety perspective,” he said. “We wanted to get out … with fairly high visibility.

“There’s parallel tracks for both Canadian Pacific and Calgary Transit, so it was a good location to go out and try to educate people about safety, particularly at level crossings.”

Among the tickets handed out were ones for illegal crossings and fare issues and officers arrested someone on a warrant.

“The statistics are still coming out, but as of last count there were 35 tickets issued,” said Whitelaw.

“That included one individual who actually crawled under the crossing arms as trains were going through the area.”

The blitz came just over one month after six-year-old Efua Isabel Ogbeide was killed by a CTrain near the Somerset-Bridlewood station.

On top of that, a recent video showed people climbing over Canadian Pacific railway cars in downtown Calgary.

“We’re primarily concerned about people who may be jaywalking as trains are coming and going, and certainly at that location, there’s always the possibility of a heavy rail train going through the area as well,” Whitelaw said.

“While we’ve had a number of tragic situations recently, this particular plan was really focused more on the proactive, educational efforts we’ll do quite often throughout the year.”

Whitelaw said he often borrows a quote from a group called Operation Lifesaver.

“Their key message, which I quite like is ‘look, listen and live,’” he said.

“Really, what we are trying to do is remind people this is a level-crossing area with both light rail and heavy rail trains that go through the area. (It’s) your own real responsibility to ensure that you are paying attention to safety.”

Look both ways, don’t cross when the arms are down and the bell is activated, and remove headphones around the train tracks — these, Whitelaw said, are some of the most important things people can do to remain safe around level train crossings.

zlaing@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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