A man was struck and killed Thursday after he reportedly stepped in front of a train near the intersection of 16th and Mississippi streets, bringing the total number of deaths on the tracks to nine this year, officials said.
The apparent suicide comes just two weeks after Caltrain launched a railroad safety blitz in an attempt to address the growing number of deaths, which are on pace to meet or exceed a high of 20 set in 1995.
While the majority of deaths on Caltrain tracks this year have occurred on the Peninsula, the two most recent, including a May 27 incident, occurred in San Francisco. Half of the deaths have been ruled suicides, officials said. The identity of Thursday’s victim, who was hit by a southbound train, wasunknown at press time.
"We’re trying to raise pubic awareness about suicide because no matter how many fences we put up, it won’t stop people if they are determined to get on the tracks," Caltrain spokesman Jonah Weinberg said regarding Caltrains’ outreach program "Don't shortcut life."
Both tracks at the site in either direction were initially closed when the accident occurred starting around 3:15 p.m., officials said.
After a 55-minute delay, both tracks were reopened. And by about 5 p.m., commuters still faced a 10 to 20 minute delay. Northbound trains were back on schedule, Weinberg said.
Weinberg said outreach to schools as part of the "Don't shortcut life" program began before the school year ended and was extended to 150 principals of schools along the tracks, many of whom have already spoken with Caltrain about coming to their schools in the fall, Weinberg firstname.lastname@example.org