'Operation Lifesaver' Targets Railroad Crossers

Pedestrians, Drivers Face Citations For Not Obeying Track Warnings

A law enforcement operation is penalizing those who do not obey trolley and train warnings, specifically in downtown San Diego.

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"Evidently, I ran in front of a train … apparently it's illegal," said a man visiting the San Diego Convention Center. He was given a ticket with a $500 fine.

"I'm French, I am leaving tomorrow, I have to call some number and I can't even pay," said Juliette, who is visiting from France. "Just for crossing the road."

"Did you know you were doing anything wrong?" asked 10News reporter Jennifer Jensen.

"No, because I thought this was for cars," Juliette said.

"It's just like a red light ticket. Anyone that runs these gates … it's a red light, you have to stop for them," said San Diego police Officer Liz Weber.

As part of "Operation Lifesaver," law enforcement authorities from five different agencies were out in the Gaslamp Quarter Tuesday to educate drivers, cyclists and pedestrians of the dangers of crossing the tracks when a train or trolley is coming.

According to San Diego police, Fifth Avenue and Harbor Drive -- across from the Convention Center -- is one of the most problematic railroad crossings in San Diego.

"It's one of the busiest that we have. Tonight, I know we have a Padres game, we've got the Convention Center, we've got the Gaslamp, we've got all the trolley patrons and Seaport Village," said Weber.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis, between 2001 and 2011, 1,083 people were killed on railroad tracks throughout California from 8,667 total railroad-related collisions.

The data showed 65 of those fatalities happened in San Diego, which experienced 234 incidents where someone got hurt on the tracks.

Some people 10News spoke to said they disagree with the citations.

"I think it's a moneymaker for the city, is what it is," said the convention center visitor.

"Do you see how maybe they're trying to protect you from getting hit by a train though?" asked Jensen.

"Well, he was half a block down so maybe you're right, maybe that's what they are doing," he answered.

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