Cross at your own risk

Non-official EXO Pedestrian train crossing at end of Ogilvy is safer than you’d think, states City Councilor Mary Deros

The sensors and barricades all set up and in place, assuring safety of the crossing, as specified by City Councilor Deros in our conversation

It’s at the East End of Ogilvy that an EXO train crossing sits, an unofficial one according to signs posted there, but according to City Councilor Deros, it’s safer than you would think, or safer than the sign posted on the fence would have you believe.

A member of the community reaches out

It was Mary McCutcheon, a member of the community that reached out to me to write a piece on this, hopefully in the process, shedding a little bit of light on an interesting tidbit that may have gone unnoticed by most. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by City Councilor Deros however, and we have what she had to say in detail.

As it stands right now

Two ladies cross into Park Extension, hoping to finish up with their day’s shopping, cutting their walking rout by more than half by using the crossing

I went to investigate the crossing on a Saturday afternoon. The sky was clear and the temperature was just right, so, a lot of pedestrians were out and about. What I saw was incredible … in terms of how many people use the crossing, paying no mind to the sign set in place warning of supposed imminent danger. In fact, the sign was even vandalized at some point, it seemed, only half of it remains.

In a fifteen minute time span, over forty people crossed, carrying grocery bags from Provigo, going back towards the east, and many coming over towards the west and Park Ex, heading towards the Parc Metro Station, or wherever their daily walking would take them. Even cyclists crossed. But the one thing that didn’t come by in that time was a train, or even the threat of one … and for the longest time.

I saw firsthand that the crossing was indeed safe as it stands, as Mary Deros assured.

A woman crosses the train crossing—the fortieth in fifteen minutes as we observed the goings-on and traffic at the crossing … and what was also interesting to note was that every single person looked both ways before crossing, which shows awareness among citizens using the crossing

Other crossings in the city

Crossing train tracks is actually illegal in other boroughs across the city, specifically in Montreal-North into St-Leonard. There are train tracks that run over Lacordaire Boulevard and the tracks are closed to anyone trying to cross with a small two or so foot fence. Police have given out tickets to those trying to cross, as was witnessed by myself during another investigation. But here, that seems not to be the case.

“Sign, sign … everywhere a sign”

The sign suggesting you “cross at your own risk,” has already been vandalized, and perhaps by someone who sees its redundancy

And so it’s as Les Emmerson wrote all those years back: “ …Sign, sign, everywhere a sign / Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind / Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign …?”

And maybe most signs these days are there for our safety, this one has certainly left quite a few in the community scratching their heads.

The sign in place, attached to the fence states: “This is not a pedestrian access; the owner is not obliged to maintain this space. We are not responsible in case of accidents. *We suggest you use the shuttle service. (Shuttle located in front of metro)”

The land belongs to the building that is there on the eastern side, apparently.

And the crossing may just as well represent a fork in the road for many who come upon it. Cross and reach your destination in a mere few moments, or, walk all the way around the buildings there, back onto Jean-Talon, under the underpass and all the way to the front of the metro station? Decisions, decisions. The choice is yours, but it’s clear that something needs to be done, assuring the community that this crossing is safe and comfortable.

City Councilor’s comments on the safety of the crossing

Mary Deros finds the sign redundant. It makes no sense to her, as the crossing is a great access point into the community of Park Ex, its businesses and vice-versa. Also, people in Park Ex have to cross there to purchase their tickets, as the ticket booth/machine is on the east side of the tracks.

She further states that a superior court judgment made it an official crossing with safety measures securely set in place. The community “needs” to cross there, she stated.

Of the safety measures she said: “The sensors are already there … the flashing lights, noise sensors, the barricades. It’s not a smooth crossing (because of the awkward fence and uncomfortable pathway as it stands), but that’s the only thing that needs to be done.” This in turn, would definitely make the crossing comfortable, as I stated earlier.

A community in wait

So, as she stated, all that is left to be done is remove the fence that stands in the way on the eastern end of the crossing and pave the path with asphalt, making it an easier placed to cross. She is unclear as to when they would go about doing this, but hopes that it’ll be done this year, as it was promised, and she states that it would be a nice present for the Holidays, as the community and she would surely appreciate it.