Petaluma Railroad Crossings Are Still Out Of Control!

Frankly, I CANNOT believe I am having to tell this story…Again! Fortunately, this time we avoided damage to our vehicle.

I was foolish to believe that any serious corrective action would be taken after the close call we had with the total lack of coordination of the railroad signals and traffic lights on Lakeville & D Streets in December 2012.  For details of that event, go to Railroad crossing arms close on Petaluma couple’s car at green light.

Today, I observed that the Same Dangerous Lack of Coordination is still manifest–this time at Lakeville and East Washington.

  • We were headed downtown this morning and stopped at the red light on Lakeville and East Washington. As in December 2012, I was the passenger in the vehicle.
  • Our light turned green for East Washington traffic and within a few seconds the railroad lights started flashing and the arms came down.
  • At least two cars continued through the intersection driving past the arms as they were lowering.
  • The traffic light stayed green throughout the event.

Fortunately, I caught a few photos through the windshield to document this lack of coordination between the two signal systems.

Photo Notes

About 5 seconds passed before I took the first photo of the scene…



Here is another…eleven seconds later…



A minute later these railroad cars appeared…stopped at this location…then reversed and left the scene without crossing East Washington.

The arms went up and the traffic light finally went from green to red!



Fortunately there were no vehicles in the intersection at the time the arms finished closing–how the two that did pass through made it was pure foolish luck on their part.

Given the overall incompetence displayed here in failing to coordinate the lights, it will only be a matter of time before there are serious injuries or worse.

I dare anyone in authority to explain this kind of screwup…much less defend it!

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6 thoughts on “Petaluma Railroad Crossings Are Still Out Of Control!

  1. Frankly, Frank, it takes a thoughtful person like you to bring this to our attention. But it sure is stupid and dangerous to have a green light when the gates are down. Should be red light for all before the gate drops and train rushes by.

    Take care.

    • Given the e-mail response–you are not alone. But I really do not expect that they will ever correct this stupid and dangerous situation. Sad to say but Ya Gotta Kill people before the powers that be get stimulated to pretend to act.

      • This happened to me on my way to work a few weeks ago. I was first to turn left on green arrow, and met the arm coming down. I was confused, shocked, panicked.. I proceeded to move forward quickly, but was disturbed to say the least when realizing I could have just been hit and killed by a train. This is insane.

      • This is the third time we have had an issue with Petaluma Crossing Arms. The first was in December 2012 and the third was yesterday–both involved traffic signals and RR signals that were not coordinated. However there was a second time about a year ago on a RR crossing on McDowell. That crossing only has RR signals and in that case the arms came up after the train passed–the traffic started flowing–and the arms came right back down even though the train had passed–barely missing a car. I don’t know how to advise on how to deal with these risks.

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