Lombard pushes plan for fence
along railroad tracks forward
By Michael Wamble
Posted Friday, October 20, 2006 Lombard
could have new fencing along the Union Pacific railroad bordering four cul de
sacs as a means to restrict illegal and dangerous cut-throughs in areas other
than designated crossings.
Trustees approved moving the plan forward, which
would entail covering blocks with dead-ends to the rails at Chase, Highland,
Ahrens and Westmore Avenues.
The plan could come up for a final vote in
Roughly 60 people, supporters of a plan for a
six-foot high, steel and continuous fencing, attended Thursday night’s village
Outside the meeting hall rested a large placard with
the face of a smiling young girl.
In Feb. 2006, Kristen Bowen, of Villa Park, was hit
by a train and killed while trying to cross the rails. She was 14.
Ray Zukowski, Kristen’s dad, lauded Lombard trustees
for moving forward with a plan to place fencing along the railroad.
At times, communities where people have been hit by
trains express their concerns and let the issue fade away, said Zukowski, of
“And you don’t hear about it again until the next
person goes kerplunk,” Zukowski said.
“For some of us it doesn’t go away,” Zukowski said.
“Certainly not for the victims’ families; certainly not for those who know
their deaths could be prevented.”
Prevention, he said, means more than railroad safety
“That’s it?” Zukowski said. “It stops with education?
I think we can do better than that.”
Nicole Bobor, who lives on Ahrens Avenue, agreed that
fencing was needed “to reroute them to cross at a safe crossing with lights and
A preliminary estimate discussed by the village’s
transportation and safety commission put the fencing project at a cost estimate
The village would first have to send the project out
for final bidding.
If the process continues, ground construction for
fencing could begin as soon as late December.
With a commitment to this project expected to be made
by Lombard in November, Village President William Mueller requested members of
the grassroots safety group redirect their efforts toward pushing Villa Park to
build a similar fencing barrier.
In regard to Villa Park, Zukowski said a current lack
of funding would delay any formal fencing plans.
Zukowski said he would begin efforts through a
recently created nonprofit group to raise money from area businesses for such
Mueller said any fundraising should not include
soliciting any Lombard businesses.
“We had no money set aside for this,” Mueller said in
regard to Lombard. Lombard businesses already paid for fencing through the
village’s taxpayer general fund.
“You’re going to have to visit our friends in Villa
Park to find out how they can help,” Mueller said.
“We’ve already been working with Villa Park,”
Yet up until Thursday, Zukowski said, fencing
supporters concentrated their campaign within Lombard.
“Tomorrow we’ll focus on Villa Park and the safety
commission and see where we go from there,” Zukowski said.