Tacoma is tackling what some residents are calling dangerous and, in rare cases, deadly railroad crossings.
The city is working with an outside consultant to study several crossings in the Tacoma Dome District, Old Town, and the West End.
At a public meeting Tuesday, residents were asked to prioritize their concerns which include safety, pedestrian and bicycle mobility, train noise, and the cost to improve. Many said noise and safety topped the list.
"That is like a jackhammer right outside our house, and then it stops for 15 seconds, and then it starts up again. You cannot sleep through it, " said Mary, who didn't want to give her last name.
"So the noise. Obviously, a lot of my neighbors are very concerned about that, but I'd rather have it be safe," said Julia Lundblad, a West End resident.
Trains in Tacoma have claimed the lives of several residents over the last few years.
"I was driving to a dentist appointment and saw the covered body on the tracks with the second fatality, and I just think, abd that was the middle of the day, and I think that shouldn't happen," said Lundblad.
She was talking about the body of Alexandria Lewis, the second person to be hit by a train at the McCarver Street Crossing in the last couple of years. It happened during her lunch break. She was paralegal who used to work at Phil deMaine's law office.
"She was coming from the water side to come back up the hill and, as the first train passed, she was just trying to get a little momentum going up the hill and she took a step and it was all over," deMaine said.
Over the last couple of years, deMaine has been working with the city to advocate for new signs, fences, and a pedestrian crossing gate.
“It’s good that they’ve taken some steps and gotten some grant money for this. These are long overdue changes. On the one hand we’re cautiously optimistic and encouraged by what the city has done but, on the other hand, we really want them to complete the project so that we can call it done and move on," deMaine said.
The Titlow crossing area is also no stranger to fatalities. A teen was killed near there in 2010.
City leaders say they're making a $1.1 million investment at the Titlow crossing. After getting feedback from the public, they’re hoping to apply for additional grants to get more funding for area crossings.