September 18, 2019
New Westminster, B.C. – Every year, dozens of Canadians — especially young Canadians — are killed or injured around railway tracks and trains. Collisions at railway crossings are tragically common; in 2018, there were 167 such incidents across Canada which killed 19 people and seriously injured another 42.
Today, in the lead up to Rail Safety Week (September 23-29, 2019), the City of New Westminster, in partnership with Operation Lifesaver (OL) Canada and HUB Surface Systems, launched a new rail-safety program aimed at curbing these tragic incidents. Through the program, Operation Lifesaver works to identify locations where rail-safety decals can be installed in communities across the country to raise awareness among pedestrians, cyclists and drivers about the need to exercise caution around railway crossings.
New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Coté, city staff, and representatives from Operation Lifesaver and its partner railways, today unveiled a rail-safety decal on the pavement near the city’s Begbie Street crossing.
“Railway crossing safety is important to us as a city that has several high traffic crossings,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “We’re happy to partner with the Look. Listen. Live. Community Safety Partnership Program to install this decal at one of our busiest railway crossings, to serve as a reminder to people to be extra cautious and enhance safety in the area.”
The installed decal is yellow and diamond-shaped — similar to a traffic warning sign — and features a black silhouette of a train, as well as the words “Look. Listen. Live.”
“Our hope is that when people see this decal, it will remind them to pay closer attention to their surroundings at the crossing. We want them to slow down, look in both directions, listen for approaching trains, and obey railway warning signs and signals,” said Sarah Mayes, Operation Lifesaver Canada’s National Director.
New Westminster is the third B.C. community to participate in OL’s Community Safety Partnership Program; the City of Vancouver became the first Canadian municipality to install decals in 2018, and Squamish, B.C. followed suit shortly thereafter.
New Westminster is serviced by a robust network of railways — including CN, CP, Southern Railway of British Columbia, BNSF and TransLink — which move both freight and passengers. These railways are crucial to the economic prosperity and sustainability of New Westminster, as they provide a reliable, affordable and efficient way of transporting goods and people.
Operation Lifesaver plans to expand the Look. Listen. Live Community Safety Partnership Program to additional Canadian communities in 2019. Municipalities obtain information or apply for the program by visiting www.operationlifesaver.ca/communitydecals