By design, the innovative “Z” crossing directs pedestrians to look both ways down the tracks before they cross.
“Projects such as this are a result of NCDOT partnering with local communities to improve safety at railroad crossings,” said Patrick B. Simmons, NCDOT rail division director. “We believe that the innovative engineering design installed at Thompson Street will help increase the safety and accessibility of this major crossing.”
The “Z” crossing design directs pedestrians through a sidewalk and fence configuration that enables them to face the tracks in both directions prior to crossing. The integration of fencing is a key safety feature that leads pedestrians through the sidewalk configuration and discourages access to the railroad tracks at other points near the crossing.
“The Thompson Street design was slightly modified to ensure that pedestrians are aware of the bi-directional train traffic on both tracks,” said Rail Division Engineer and Safety Director Paul Worley. Clear signage is posted to guide pedestrians to the gate crossing, advise of the two-directional train traffic and warn against trespassing on railroad property.
The “Z” pedestrian crossing was installed at Thompson Street because of the Town of Apex’s ongoing plans for a pedestrian network linking downtown with developing areas near the Town complex. Through partnerships with railroads in state and local governments, NCDOT’s ongoing program of modernizing the railroad has enhanced safety and capacity by systematically protecting highway-railroad crossings, adding passing sidings, straightening curves and other railroad projects including the installation of up-to-date computer-controlled train dispatching and traffic control systems.