Proposed fencing project for railway to ensure safety of pedestrians.

Houston council applies for rail funding

The Rail Safety Improvement Program (RSIP) provides financial assistance to improve safety, injuries, and fatalities

The Rail Safety Improvement Program (RSIP) provides financial assistance to improve safety, injuries, and fatalities related to rail transportation. The two components of RSIP are infrastructure, technology and research (ITR) and public education and awareness (E&A). It addresses immediate rail safety needs for the community, where $12 million is available for the years2016/2017, $20 million for 2017/2018, and $20 million for 2018/2019.

District staff recommended five possible projects, of which council agreed to apply for four.

Recommended projects were to station a drop arm on Benson Avenue crossing at an estimated cost of $150,000, assemble fencing from Tweedie Avenue to North Nadina at an estimated cost of $70,000, assemble fencing from the Via Rail building toBenson Avenue at an estimated a cost of $10,000, assemble fencing from Benson Avenue to Buck Creek at an estimated cost of $15,000, and upgrade the North Nadina Crossing at an estimated cost of $400,000.

A discussion about which projects are of higher priority was deliberated and determined.

“The big one, the upgrade to North Nadina crossing, it’s a two year project, $400,000. Because the trains are so long, they’re blocking the entrances off up to 23 minutes, which can be a safety issue to us,” said Michael Glavin, Chief AdministrativeOfficer for the District of Houston.

“[Fencing from Via Rail building to Benson Avenue] might be pertinent because that’s the area where all the tourists come around the fly rod. There is lots of traffic there, commented councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld.

“If you combine [the drop arm on Benson Avenue crossing] with the [Benson Avenue] fencing, that’s another issue, you can have the arms there but if you don’t have any fencing, there’s still going to be people crossing the tracks,” commented Glavin.

Council directed staff to apply for the drop arm on Benson Avenue, fencing from Via Rail building to Benson Avenue, fencing around Benson Avenue to Buck Creek and the upgrade to North Nadina crossing.

All projects must be completed by March 31, 2019. Any one project can not exceed $200,000 annually. Eligible expenditures for proposed projects or completed projects will be reimbursed up to 50 per cent by RSIP and E&A.

These projects will have a significant impact on the 2017-2021 district five year financial plan, and will need to be calculated into the budget.