HOLLYWOOD - Over the past 5 years, there have been 1,622 railway accidents in Florida.
Just in 2021 alone, 52 people died, that's according to the latest statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration and that's part of the reason why train operators and law enforcement are holding National Rail Safety week.
The statistics are still being tabulated for 2022, but just this Monday, a pedestrian was hit and killed by a train in Hollywood. Bystanders near the scene were saddened to see what happened.
"I hope whoever passed away that their family is OK. I give them my condolences," Brianna Rodden said.
It's unclear at this point what led to the collision, but it's something some who live nearby think happens too often.
"And right here there are no fences or nothing. There's only the rails right there," Rodden added.
This growing concern over safety is part of the reason why Brightline is partnering with law enforcement agencies in South Florida to enforce and educate drivers and pedestrians of the rules near railroad tracks. That means potentially more citations, but an opportunity to raise awareness.
"When BSO did their operation Crossing guard a few weeks ago we went over 10 weeks without an incident," Patrick Goddard, Brightline President said.
CBS4 also asked Brightline about why some safety measures are only being added now.
Goddard explained that extensive planning and cooperation with federal agencies went into designing safe crossings and train corridors, but adjustments are necessary. "So, then you start to identify hot spots where these incidents are occurring," he said.
This summer, Brightline announced it'll be using over $20 million in state and local grants for safety enhancements that include more poles to divert traffic, with 22 miles of added fencing, along with 9 new electronic signs in Broward and Palm Beach Counties that can switch from various messaging needs.
The signs "warn motorists and pedestrians of approaching trains and offer suicide crisis messaging," Goodard said.
The changes will likely be completed at the end of 2023.
Meanwhile, Brightline has reported that ridership is climbing and it is working to extend all the way to Orlando.
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