At approximately 10:42am on Monday, Dec. 5 at the intersection of Foxhall Avenue and Stephan Street in Kingston, an unnamed driver was hit by a train and subsequently hospitalized with what police say were “minor injuries”.
On a Facebook post by the Kingston Fire Department, one user described why this intersection is a dangerous one: “…what happens an AWFUL lot at this intersection is that people will attempt to turn left onto Stephan or Cornell, and oncoming traffic won’t let people turn. I see it very frequently, where someone will cross the tracks and only then turn their blinker on and suddenly stop to wait to turn. If the people behind aren’t cautious, they can get stuck on the tracks behind the turning vehicle and have no way around to get off the tracks. And rather than go down a block further where it’s safer to turn, they’ll just sit there trapping the poor person behind them on the tracks.”
Though there was no official word on how this particular accident was caused, this writer can confirm the Facebook poster’s account first-hand.
In 2020, I found myself in the exact scenario described. Following traffic, I had driven over the tracks only to be stopped on them when the driver ahead of me abruptly stopped, presumably to turn left onto Cornell St., without using their signal to indicate this intended action. I looked to my right only to see a train slowly moving towards me. The train continued to move towards me for at least ten seconds before the train crossing arm began its descent with warning lights began flashing. The arm of the crossing guard device literally began descending toward the hood of my vehicle. My only option to get off the tracks was to pass the car in front of me on the right-hand side. Unfortunately, a truck behind me was also stuck on the tracks as the crossing arms descended, and we both had the same idea of avoiding an oncoming train, colliding side-by-side as we both tried to pass the car in front whose driver was oblivious to the fact we were stuck on the tracks, despite frenetic honking. It was a minor car accident for me, but I shuddered to think that another, more serious future accident here was practically inevitable.
Until the traffic issue is addressed by the City of Kingston and CSX Transportation, this writer strongly recommends you wait to cross the tracks until you can confirm no vehicles in front of you are turning left on Cornell St. (if northbound on Foxhall Ave.) or left on Stephan St. (if southbound on Foxhall Ave.)