The railroad tracks on Dickson Street in Fayetteville could get a crossing gate if the city council approves a $500,000 partnership with the Arkansas Missouri Railroad. Trails coordinator Matt Mihalevich said the city would split the cost with the railroad.
According to the city, there have been three collisions between cars and trains at the Dickson Street Crossing since 1999. In a 2009, a 21-year old University of Arkansas student lost his left arm in a crash.
“Whenever the train is coming, there will be a gate that comes down and blocks the roadway as well as the sidewalk,” Mihalevich said. “I think it’s high on their priority to make it safer, so they came to the city and said, ‘Hey, will you consider going in on it.'”
The site is home to heavy foot traffic and lots of cars around the University of Arkansas campus. Some of the city’s trail system is also nearby.
“I think it’s a great idea because it would just be more obvious,” said Meng Jiao, a UA student. “Obviously a car can’t go through if there’s a gate, so I think in general it’s a very safe idea.”
Patrick Kells, another student, said, “I think it’s a good idea for safety, but as far as the cost issue goes, it’s not very reasonable.”
Mihalevich said if the $500,000 plan is approved, the city still has to determine where the funding would come from.
“If this is approved, we will research and apply for that grant funding to help on our part of it,” Mihalevich said. “Otherwise it’s going to have to be budgeted in.”
If the city council passes the partnership, the gates may be installed by 2015.