For Provo residents who find it difficult to get to work on time because a train blocks the road, relief may be on the way.
The Provo City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday making it unlawful for a train to block a public street for longer than 15 minutes. Train conductors who violate the ordinance will be ticketed.Councilman Ben Porter, sponsor of the ordinance, said he has timed trains in west Provo that have blocked streets for more than 30 minutes. One street traveled by the Utah Transit Authority has been blocked in the early morning hours, and as a result has delayed the bus and caused people to be late for work.
The new ordinance prohibits the blocking of any crossing for more than 15 minutes, except in emergency situations such as an accident or mechanical failure.
Union Pacific and Denver and Rio Grande train masters said their companies already have such a limitation in their policy manuals, but they said a city ordinance may give the limitation additional support.
"The railroad rules already pretty much say the same thing, but if they want to pass an ordinance, that is up to the city," said Jim Rawlinson, train master of Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in Provo.
In a council study meeting last week, both Dave Cook of the Union Pacific Railroad and Rawlinson said they were comfortable with the ordinance and told city officials to contact them when a violation occurs.
"They have assured us they would make every effort to stay within this ordinance," said Council Chairman Ron Last.
The ordinance was passed unanimously by the council.