The Village of Barrington has asked the state for pedestrian gates to be set up at two rail crossings downtown and a pedestrian underpass will also be built at another crossing following the fatal accident of a 17-year-old Barrington High School student.
Marin Lacson, a 17-year-old junior at Barrington High School, was struck and killed by a Metra train while walking to school around 7:45 a.m. on January 25 at the Union Pacific Railroad train tracks in the area of Main Street and Hough Street.
Since the accident, village officials have received numerous comments and suggestions from residents regarding safety at rail crossings.
Officials said there will be an increased police presence at rail crossings from the village, Metra and Union Pacific.
“Uniformed officers will be visible during key times to remind pedestrians of all ages about the importance of rail safety,” the village said in a statement on Tuesday.
Metra police officers were seen handing out rail safety flyers.
The flyer contains safety tips, such as looking and listening for a train, waiting for a clear view in both directions and making sure another train is not coming from the other direction.
Additional signage and pavement markings are being introduced at pedestrian rail crossings “where appropriate,” the village said.
The village also asked the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to support additional pedestrian gates at the two Union Pacific Northwest rail crossings on Hough Street and at Cook and Main Streets.
ICC and IDOT are preparing for a planned project at the two crossings, the village said.
The ongoing underpass project at Route 14 and the Canadian National (CN) tracks – which will reconstruct Route 14 to pass underneath the rail line – will remove the intersection of train tracks, roads and pedestrian paths.
The village said the project will ensure safer passage for vehicles and pedestrians. Construction for the project will begin this year.
The village has also secured federal funding for the preliminary engineering design of a pedestrian underpass at Main Street and the CN tracks.
“This crossing is used by many students each day and this pedestrian underpass will safely connect the Village Center and Barrington High School,” the village said.
Barrington Community Unit School District 220 is also reviewing instructional practices regarding rail safety.
“The village has and will continue to share additional resources and learning opportunities from our rail safety education partners CN, ICC, Metra, Operation Lifesaver, and UP.”
Village officials are encouraging residents to take advantage of railway safety resources, demonstrate safe behavior at crossings for children and others, and collectively engage in supporting the planned safety improvements.
“As we plan future safety projects, the Village may ask for residents to help advocate for safety infrastructure improvement funding from outside agencies.”