NJ rail crossing one of most dangerous in nation — and this video shows why
ELMWOOD PARK — The deadliest railroad crossing in New Jersey is also among the top 15 in the country for the number of accidents over the last decade.
The crossing at Midland Avenue in this Bergen County borough saw 14 accidents in the past 10 years, including one death and four injuries, according to a list released Thursday by the Federal Railroad Administration.
If you go back 40 years, the site has seen two deaths and 30 accidents.
The crossing was the only one in the state to make the the Federal Railroad Administration's list released Thursday.
Many people believe this crossing is so problematic because of the way it's designed: Instead of typical perpendicular intersection, the train tracks cross the street in a slanting, 45-degree angle.
Last year, government officials spent $800,000 in federal and state money to add safety features, including a "Do Not Block the Box" message and stripes painted on the pavement.
Even with that costly improvement, the near-misses continue. Just in February, five people — including a 4-year-old child — had to escape from their car after it stalled on the tracks, where a train slammed into it.
A year ago, a New York TV news crew managed to capture the dangerous intersection in action on camera — twice in a day.
The TV camera was there when five cars got stuck between the safety boom gates that come down before the train passes through the crossing.
Later in the day, as the reporter was live on TV, another vehicle got stuck on the wrong side of the gate and had to maneuver to avoid a close shave or impact.
The Federal Railroad Administration tracks safety data at more than 200,000 railroad crossings. Last year, 244 people died at railroad crossings, down from 264 in 2014.
The agency launched a program last year with tech companies add crossing alerts to map apps.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.