Mokena Metra Train Crossing Still Concerning, Local Businesses Say – CBS Chicago

Chicago (CBS) — There’s growing concern about the Mokena train crossing CBS 2’s been following for months, as nearby businesses say close calls with cars are happening far too often.

Video shows a train slowly pull through the 191st Street crossing on Friday as the safety bar lowers.

Weeks ago, that same location had the bar down with no train in sight.

It’s all part of the sights seen from John Houdek’s nearby business window.

Wednesday night, he got another glimpse he calls concerning.

“We saw the gate come down about halfway. We saw a Metra van sitting along the side of the road,” Houdek said. “It came down about three quarters of the way, went back up a little bit, came back down three quarters of the way then went right back up.”

We dug up posts on social media sharing similar sightings and concerns and found Vallery Ingram, who saw a train standing at the crossing Wednesday afternoon and thought something didn’t look right.

“There was no light, no guard down, no nothing, and it kind of scared the hell out of me for a second,” Ingram said.

Metra says many concerns are actually people spotting the tail end of the agency’s safety checks.

Some begin with a motorist reporting something that looked wrong. Metra then looks into it, meaning all trains must stop short of the intersection. The conductor may need to get off the train, walk into the crossing, stop traffic and signal the engineer to proceed slowly once the issue is checked out.

In other instances, safety mechanisms can trigger the bar to go down with no train in sight, if one is stopped at a nearby station.

None are considered malfunctions.

Dash came from a Nov. 9 close call, however, was a malfunction and the gates should have been down.

Metra says there have been numerous reports of additional malfunctions since then but that in almost every case, those were unfounded and the crossing is working and safe.

“People saying it’s fixed and it’s finished and we’re just watching it, it doesn’t put the warm and fuzzy on you at all,” Houdek said.

Businesses have observed that since the dash cam video surfaced, drivers are commonly slowing down and looking both ways before crossing.

Metra has additional explanations for some of the issues drivers might see in the crossing.

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