Maryland transportation officials Monday night will present a safety assessment of the Gaithersburg MARC station, where an elderly man was struck by a train and died earlier this year .
The deaths of three people on train tracks in the Gaithersburg area since the beginning of the year have prompted officials to discuss how to prevent trains from striking people.
In January, James T. Clemons, 81, of Gaithersburg, was struck and killed by an inbound MARC train near the MARC station at Summit Avenue in Olde Towne. Officials have said Clemons was inside a coffee shop and when he saw the train coming, he crossed the tracks to board.
People waiting in the indoor waiting area often attempt to cross the tracks as the train is approaching.
Other fatal incidents this year near Gaithersburg: Officials said a woman committed suicide by stepping in front of a CSX train between Summit Avenue and Chestnut Street in Gaithersburg in April, and in July a man died after being struck by a MARC train about 500 yards east of the Washington Grove Station at 100 Railroad St.
One of the recommendations to be made tonight is to void boarding rights to people who cross tracks after the train has arrived and to install signs that indicate the new policy. Also recommended are upgrades to the pedestrian crosswalk, and the possible installation of more outdoor shelters.
According to a report provided by Gaithersburg city staff, some changes have already been implemented. Train crews have been asked to slow down while approaching the station and they have also been told they can refuse boarding to persons crossing the tracks after the train has arrived.
Transportation and city authorities have also discussed using volunteers from Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit organization that provides public education programs to prevent collisions, injuries and fatalities along rail tracks and crossings.
The report is expected to provide an assessment of the Gaithersburg MARC Station issues and their impact to the safety of residents, passengers, personnel, and equipment.
The presentation will be made at 7:30 tonight during a meeting at Gaithersburg City Hall, 31 S. Summit Ave.
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