Monday, February 5, 2018

Brightline and Tri-Rail: The message always needs to be “STOP LOOK LISTEN” and “THINK TRAIN!”?
Can you think of a better message?

UPDATE: Today The Palm Beach Post editorial board makes a strong case for Brightline, this exciting “new roadway” into the future of passenger rail and travel in the United States. Here’s an excerpt:

“Leave an upgraded system in place for commercial transport, but give us a new roadway . . . on the highways of the future.”

Published today (Monday, February 5th, 2018) by the editor in a piece titled, “Interstate system not safe for drivers”.

True. The Palm Beach Post is “up for sale”. And everyone wishes them the best of luck. However, when it comes to public safety and saving lives, thankfully, there is no shortage of reporters and journalists here in South Florida and in Palm Beach County who will always strive to do their best and get the word out about trains and public safety (please see another quote below).

But if the Post does fail to find a buyer another newspaper, with both a print and online presence, will most certainly fill the void such at the Tampa Bay Times (the winner of 12 Pulitzer prizes) possibly opening a new satellite location here in Palm Beach County. And doesn’t The Palm Beach County Times have a nice ring to it! There are many possibilities. So don’t fret the loss of any one newspaper.

On the topic of Brightline and public safety. . .

“It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for anyone to ever consider trying to beat a train.”

Quote by Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams as reported by CBS12/WPEC reporter Mike Magnoli on Jan. 31st, 2018 (see link below).

However, if you are one of those still deeply troubled about three articles published in yesterday’s Palm Beach Post you are not alone. Following the paragraph below are two questions.

The one article published in today’s print edition is about a Brightline train in the ‘A’ front section (on page A13) that struck a woman who didn’t pay attention to the warning signals — the lights, horn, and crossing arms — and “■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■ had no reason to even know what a Brightline train was until one killed her sister.” The other story on page A12 was about a Brightline train that, “zoomed [sic] through, and struck and killed ■■■■■■■”. Note the word “killed” was used as well on the front page, A1, in another story about Brightline too. Yes. Three stories in today’s Sunday paper about Brightline trains ‘killing’ people.

Two questions: How many such in-depth stories do you ever recall about someone losing their life on I-95 and the Florida Turnpike every year in the Post? On Dec. 12th last year in West Palm Beach a man visiting from Tennessee died tragically when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver and just two days ago another man was “fatally struck by car in West Palm Beach”. What do you think the chances are we’ll ever see a feature story any time soon about the man struck and killed last Friday and what happened to cause this all-too-common tragedy?

[And by the way, there were twenty-seven (27) homicides in West Palm Beach last year. Twenty-five (25) were shot and killed by firearms. Despite repeated calls for new technology such as ShotSpotter has there been any news published in the Post about this new tool? No. Nothing at all.]

So what do you think the message needs to be concerning public safety, the Florida East Coast (FEC) and the western CSX railroads?

From Brightline and Tri-Rail’s perspective the message always needs to be “STOP LOOK LISTEN” and “THINK TRAIN!”. Or do you think featuring people who made terrible decisions is the right message? And the hardest question of them all, how does this topic fit into the entire equation?

If you support Brightline passenger rail and Tri-Rail service strongly encourage you to write a “Letter to the Editor” at The Palm Beach Post today to have published on the editorial page in the next day or two.

[Note: Below are the instructions how to write a letter to the editor at the Post: word count, email address, and some tricks you can use to get your letter published like listing your credentials and “how to follow-up”, which is very important.]

And after reading this blog post scroll back up and click on this link for the recent news from CBS12 (WPTV) reporter Mike Magnoli and County Commissioner Steven Abrams about “Spreading the message” from Brightline, Tri-Rail, and passenger rail service and this terrible message recently from another elected official, the mayor of West Palm Beach:
“. . .and you know you might’ve been able to outrun a Tri-Rail train, [emphasis added] but you can’t outrun a Brightline train”.
And for more information about Brightline, public safety, and an “[U]nhelpful political campaign targeting the Brightline rail service” click on this link.

Message from WTVJ in March 1949 is no different
than today: “STOP   LOOK   LISTEN”
The goal has always been to avoid “deaths” on railroad tracks. In the battle Train vs. People and Train vs. Vehicle the train has never lost since the 1890s in Florida. Not one single time.

Now. More reasons why you need to write
a letter to the editor today:

There was another negative “Letter to the Editor” published in The Palm Beach Post this week about Brightline passenger rail service with another open-ended question and once again, “laced with not too subtle fear-mongering” about Brighline: “Asking the people to wait patiently while a projected 30 or 40 trains a day close our streets is wrong.” Where did the number 30–40 come from? Then another letter was published trying to make the case Brighline’s tracks should be elevated.

Besides waiting until after all that new track was laid to make the point about elevating the track the letter writer compared Brightline passenger rail service to the Long Island Rail Road. Elevating structures in the northeastern U.S. is a fairly routine task; doing so in Florida is an entirely different matter especially for the Brightline route from Miami to Orlando and then beyond to Tampa.

By the way, there’s a very good reason why Florida only has two tunnels. We’ll just leave it at that for now.

Also last week this story was posted in the online edition of the Post about Brightline and the very next day that same article made the print edition. Note that the headline in the online edition is:
Train deaths prompt Boynton to add more restrictive gates
Why not the headline, “To avoid train deaths Boynton added. . .”? Here are more recent headlines from the Post’s online edition, note the words highlighted in yellow:
  • After multiple train deaths, a call for action and education [why not, “After avoidable train deaths. . .”?]
  • To stem rail train deaths, West Palm paints sidewalk safety signs [‘stem’?]
  • Police say man pedaled around closed train gates before death [why not, “Police say man ignored closed train gates. . .”?]

The message from County and local government officials, Brightline and Tri-Rail is “THINK TRAIN” to AVOID “TRAIN DEATHS”.

The message from Brightline and Tri-Rail is this:
Do you think The Palm Beach Post is doing their part to get this message out to the public? Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. Tell the editor at the Post
what you think. Here’s how: 

Please write a letter to the editor at the Post today. It only takes 5–10 minutes. To learn how, including tips on how to “follow-up” and explain why your letter is important, click on this link.

Lastly, in the never-ending debate about
the role of trains in Florida. . .

The press and news media has always been in the center of the fray, which is both good and bad. On the one hand the media gets job security — they’ll never run out of news to report — both good news and bad news.

But on the other hand. . . train companies rely on
the press and media to get it’s most important
message out to the public as well:
The message needs to focus primarily on public safety to avoid any more “train deaths” and people “killed”. And remember what Commissioner Abrams said, “It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for anyone to ever consider trying to beat a train.”