††††††††††† ††††††††††Message to Lombard Village Board
In the year 2005 The Federal Railroad Administration revealed that in the United States every 53 minutes the railroad takes another casualty. Thatís over 10,000 injuries or deaths annually. I was a little surprised to learn that the highest percentage of casualties were actually railroad employees, many of them killed or injured by on track equipment. Another statistic that stands out is when you compare the death rates between our states. Year after year Illinois remains at or near the top of the list in all categories when it comes to railroad related injuries and fatalities.† It Does not matter whether its a pedestrian or an automobile. It makes no difference what type of crossing or whether there was a crossing at all. Illinois remains an ominous leader in all categories.
††††† The state of Illinois has more railroad track than any other state except Texas.† The Chicago area is the busiest gateway in the United States.† As many as 1300 trains traveling at speeds up to 70 mph pass through our region every day.
††† Most of us are unaware of the rising death toll. Since our own tragedy last February, other communities have lost loved ones..†† Westmont, Oregon IL, Collinsville, Rantoul, Steger, Berwyn, Lagrange, , Chicago, Morrison IL, .along with multiple pedestrian deaths in† Springfield . Their local newspapers might have a short article about it.† But then it all seams to go away, their deaths swept under the rug.† But not for everybody, certainly not for the victimís family and not for the people that know these deaths should have been prevented.
††††††††† So how do we fix it? Education remains a TOP priority. It should begin with education, at the home and in the schools.† But is that it? †Does railroad safety begin and end with education alone?† I donít think so.† We can do better than that.† People continue to die?†† How many deaths can we justify every year?† 75? ††25?.† How about zero!
††††††††† If one of our businesses has an unsafe or hazardous condition the village or the proper authorities will serve notice in the form of a warning or a citation and order them to correct the problem.†† If a resident has unsafe or hazardous conditions on their property, the village will come knocking.† We are ALL held responsible as far as maintaining a safe environment especially when it concerns children...† Governments, Cities and Villages as well as the railroads, need to be held accountable as well.† Governments spend millions of dollars annually improving safety on our roads.† Government spends millions of dollars on law enforcement to protect its citizens. We need Governments to take a stronger stance on improving and enforcing railroad safety in our state and nation wide. We need Governments to change the laws that railroads often hide behind..†
The railroads profit billions of dollars annually.† If the railroad owns the property we must hold them obligated to make it safe and to keep it safe. Barriers need to separate Parks and schools from the high speed train traffic.
††††††††† The railroads are aware of these high-risk locations along the railway... These death traps need to be addressed and the necessary safety measures need to be implemented.† With the ultimate price at stake, fears of liability, costs, and inconvenience need to become an afterthought.†
††††††††† The tragic history along the east west railway in district 4 can no longer be ignored.† Today we urge the Lombard Village Board to approve a 6 ft. steel continuous fence that will extend from Western Ave. to N. Westmore.† We also urge the Village Board members to work with Villa Park officials in an effort to see this fence is extended as far east as the Addison Rd. crossing on the south side of the railway. We also need to secure N. Terrace
Park on the north side of these tracks.
††††††††† Villa Park has acknowledged the dangers for this area and is willing to do their part.† Unfortunately fence funding for their boundaries is not available at this time.†
†† We need Your Help! ††Beginning as early as November volunteers will hit the streets targeting the local business communities in an effort to seek funding for this costly project.† We have incorporated a (501c3) tax exempt non profit named T.E.A.R.S.† Targeting Education Awareness and Railroad Safety represents all the victims and victimsí families that have fallen prey to the railroads.†† All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
†With tax time right around the corner this could be the opportunity you or your business is looking for. This is a chance to have your name or your business name forever associated with a life saving fence.† For more information please log on to KristensLaw.org††††
†At this time I would like to thank the Village Board and remind them that their decision today has the potential to save lives not just locally but statewide. I would also like to thank John and Tiffany Davis along with the entire Davis Family. Alicia King , Sharon Lechtenberg† ,Jennifer Hagan, Diana Jones, Jon Mielke, our District Trustee Steve Sebby† And his Safety Committee. I want to thank my family along with all of our supporters locally and throughout the State.
†† I want to remind you today is not the end ITíS THE beginning. We are not the first group to come together like this. I have been in contact with groups throughout the state of Illinois†† and we all have a common goal. Unified we will become stronger and soon have an impact on changing and writing new Railroad Safety laws in our great State.