Girls crossing tracks prompts safety reminder

This is my first letter to the editor, which I wrote as soon as I arrived at my office downtown this morning.

I am a longtime Hinsdale resident and commuter. I was running late this morning (Aug. 29) for the 7:52 and missed it, standing behind the east pedestrian gate on the north side of the tracks at Washington. As a few fellow late commuters and I watched the train stopped on the other side, my heart stopped as I noticed two young girls, perhaps 15 and 10, crossing the tracks, behind the stopped train from the south side. The train obscured their view of other traffic, but I looked and thank God there were no other trains going the other way at that instant.

As they approached our side, I said, “Girls, you can’t do that when the gates are down!” The older girl mumbled “sorry” and on they went.

I was so dumbfounded that I told the guy next to me that I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. He said to me, “Yes, I did that once and got a $500 ticket, which was the least of what could have happened — I won’t do that again.”

I am particularly sensitive to this issue as one of my co-workers lost a brother as a child to a train accident. Her father channeled his grief into bringing the state’s pedestrian crossing gate program to reality. I hope that parents that read this will remind their children to always pay attention but especially when the crossing gates are down. They are there for a very important reason — to save lives. — Bob Newman, Hinsdale