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Union Pacific fences off tracks in SLO

jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Union Pacific Railroad is installing fencing adjacent to its railroad tracks in San Luis Obispo, near a spot where a 17-year-old was hit by a train and killed in July 2010 while walking a well-used path leading from Murray Street to California Boulevard.

The railroad initiated the work and is paying for it in an effort to prevent pedestrians and bicyclists from crossing the tracks in that area, except in designated crossing locations, according to San Luis Obispo Public Works Director Jay Walter.

The city recently completed a 500-foot portion of a bicycle and pedestrian trail that connects Cal Poly to California Boulevard. A wrought-iron fence was also installed to prevent people from trespassing on the railroad tracks.

Walter said the city hopes to start construction on a $250,000 project next fall that would extend the path and the fencing south toward the Highway 101 undercrossing on California Boulevard, next to an existing sidewalk.

Oscar Gonzalez, who would have been a senior at San Luis Obispo High School last fall, was killed when he was struck by an Amtrak train while trying to cross the tracks near Cal Poly.

Gonzalez’ death was the fourth in that area in 35 years, though the three previous deaths were near the crossing at the intersection.

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