Gardner residents differ on changes to crossing after man killed - KCTV5

Gardner residents differ on changes to crossing after man killed

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GARDNER, KS (KCTV) -

Some Gardner residents are calling for changes to a railroad that runs through the town after a man was hit and killed there Tuesday evening.

"This set of tracks have been here a long time," said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Howard Dickinson.

Now there are questions surrounding the busy intersection at Highway 56 and North Moonlight Road after 52-year-old William E. Gainey, of Yanktown, SD, was hit and killed by a train about 6 p.m. Tuesday.

There are quite a few businesses on one side of the tracks and some people have said they believe Gainey was walking from those businesses to a home on the other side when he was hit.

Authorities said they still don't know why the man was crossing the railroad tracks at that time.

"From all accounts and evidence at the scene and witness statements, it appears that he saw the train and just attempted to beat it across the tracks, and he was not successful," Dickinson said.

Troopers with the highway patrol say the area has seen a boom in population over the last few years and once the intermodal opened in nearby Edgerton, KS, residents say train traffic has picked up significantly.

Still authorities do not believe the intersection is dangerous.

"We do get a lot of traffic, it's a booming community and we have tons and tons of young people with young kids who live here so the intersection has gotten busier throughout the years, but there are two arms that come down to prevent anyone from driving through here, but as a pedestrian though you can run across the sidewalk," Dickinson said.

"It seems pretty adequately marked to me," said resident Mike Kane.

Kane disagrees that any changes need to be made to the intersection or the railroad crossing.

"I've never heard of another accident, not even a car accident. It doesn't seem to be a problem to me," he said.

But some residents like Heather Hollingshead are worried more about future problems than what's in the past.

"Trains go through here every 10 minutes now," she said.

Hollingshead said with the added train traffic maybe it's time to allow horns to sound when trains are approaching because currently it's a silent intersection.

One thing residents seem to agree on is that revisiting the safety concerns won't hurt.

Dickinson said Tuesday's incident was the first fatality, pedestrian or otherwise, to happen at the intersection, to his knowledge, in his 20+ years with the department.

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