By Gary Jenkins
BAPA Safety Liaison
Metra’s historic Rock Island commuter train runs through the heart of Beverly/Morgan Park community, with seven station stops within the two-mile stretch between 91st Street and 115th Street. A survey conducted in 2018, showed local ridership numbered over 3,000 commuters.
Due to the pandemic, ridership has been down, but with more businesses increasing the number onsite employees, Metra has reported ridership is increasing.
In fall, there are fewer daylight hours (we set clocks back an hour when daylight savings time begins in early November), it’s appropriate to address the importance of traveling safely via Metra.
Safety on Metra trains is not limited to the ride to and from your destination. It also involves, waiting on the platform for your train, the safety of your vehicle parked in the Metra parking lot or on the street, and the walk to and from the train.
Several years back a Metra police officer would attend CAPS meetings to discuss safety issues involving the Beverly/Morgan Park Metra stations. During those meetings, the officer would remind residents of simply measures that each of us can take to ensure that we remained safe. Those basic tips included:
Be aware of your surroundings.
Do not walk to and from the train with your headphones on or talking on the phone.
Have your car keys handy so you are not digging in your purse or pocket for them when you get to your vehicle.
Try to walk in well-lit areas where there are other people.
Do not stop to interact with people who appear suspicious.
Another area of concern addressed at CAPS meetings is pedestrians and motorists ignoring train warning lights and walking or driving around train guard rails. Too often we hear about a pedestrian or vehicle being struck by a train. Be patient at all railroad crossings and obey signs and signals.
The 22nd District CAPS officers have done an admirable job of keeping residents informed of situations regarding Metra. Hopefully, Metra representatives can attend CAPS meetings in the future to address questions from the community.
On its website, Metra expresses its dedication to ensuring the safety of its riders. Metra’s safety initiatives are highlighted by the Operation Lifesaver Train Safety Awareness Program and the annual safety poster and essay contest.
Through Operation Lifesaver, Metra employees give presentations to community organizations and schools. They also visit stations to speak with riders and hand out safety material.
Through Metra’s poster and essay contest, children in kindergarten through high school learn about train safety by creating their own posters and writing essays on the topic. The entry deadline is Dec. 17. Learn more at metra.com/safety-poster-and-essay-contest.
Visit metra.com to learn more about what Metra is doing to keep its riders safe, as well as other Metra programs.
When commuting, keep in mind that Metra follows all the latest COVID-19 safety protocols, so travel accordingly.
As always, for everyone’s safety, if you see something, say something.