SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Stuck at a train crossing while a freight train slowly rolls through. It’s a common problem for commuters in Salt Lake City driving between the east and west sides of the city.
Now, Salt Lake City officials want to hear about your frustrations at the city’s train crossings.
Officials in Utah’s capital have recognized the problem train crossings are causing residents, particularly those on the west side of the tracks. Freight trains crossing frequently used roads block traffic for “up to an hour or more.” The city says these blocks are delaying residents and impacting livelihoods.
“This is valuable time that could be spent cooking dinner with loved ones, studying for an exam, relaxing after a long workday, or enjoying one of our many parks and trails,” Salt Lake City wrote on its website dedicated to fighting “the Freight Train Crisis.”
The problem is so bad that Council Member Alejandro Puy launched a photo campaign to raise awareness and shine a light on its impact on Salt Lake residents. In his campaign, Puy showed all the things someone could “reasonably accomplish” while waiting for a train to roll by. These activities included things like grilling a steak, sunbathing, drinking a cup of coffee, or having a picnic.
Salt Lake City said the train crossing are not only a nuisance to residents but they are creating a public safety risk.
“In emergencies, blocked train crossings impact how quickly first responders arrive on the scene and save lives,” said Salt Lake City officials. “In such cases, every second counts, and even a small delay can cause the loss of a life that could have been saved otherwise.
The Salt Lake City Council funded a pilot program over the summer that would help alert residents of upcoming train crossings. The program includes three west-side train crossings. Salt Lake City says it would give residents and first responders the ability to “make informed decisions” to avoid extended delays at the railroad crossing.
As the city continues to work through the train crossing problem, officials want to hear from the public about their frustrations with train crossings. Whether it was a minor inconvenience or a major disruption, Salt Lake City wants to hear it.
The city said the stories will be collected and shared with local authorities and transportation agencies to push for better service and infrastructure.
Salt Lake City residents can leave their comments online at the campaign’s website here.