Bungalower has been covering SunRail since before the 32-mile commuter rail system launched its first phase in May 2014.
Since then, the fledgling transit project has expanded and now serves 16 stations that through Volusia, Seminole, Orange, and Osceola counties.
Ridership is on the up and with the fall opening of Creative Village and other transit-oriented developments along the rail corridor, SunRail seems to be on the edge of a fairly sunny future; if we could only get Orlandoans to stop parking their SUVs on the tracks.
Trivia Note: It takes about one mile for a train to come to a complete stop. If they see you and you’re less than a mile away, it’s already too late.
We reached out to the Florida Department of Transportation for a list of the collisions to see if we could map out some of the problem areas along the SunRail corridor and found that while most incidents were spread out along the entire service area, there were a handful of repeat offenders that seemed to hint at some sort of traffic design flaw at work.
COLONIAL DRIVE – 5 INCIDENTS
Colonial Drive is tied for most collisions along the corridor, which isn’t much of a surprise given the current state of the intersection and the amount of traffic it handles throughout the day. This specific section is being completely reworked under the banner of I-4 Ultimate with new ramps, traffic patterns, and lane closures on a seemingly weekly basis.
Earlier this month, a woman was seriously injured after being hit by a train, as seen in this report by WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando.
As noted in the report, drivers in this area are prone to trying to squeeze forward onto the tracks in order to make the light that allows them to turn left and merge onto the interstate.
NORTH RONALD REAGAN BOULEVARD – 5 INCIDENTS
Just north of the intersection of State Road 434 and North Ronald Reagan Boulevard is another problem area that should be looked at. In much the same way as Colonial Drive, this hot spot occurs immediately after the lights, where drivers are impatient to continue on their way northward and tend to squeeze onto the tracks to get by.
Two hidden slip roads add to the confusion as well, for traffic that may be paying more attention to merging safely onto Ronald Reagan and not looking for trains.
It must be noted, this stretch had two pedestrian collisions to the north and south and one at the intersection; one of which was attributed to a suicide.
MICHIGAN STREET – 4 INCIDENTS
This one is tough.
This specific intersection is mostly surrounded by service organizations, industrial uses, and a small pocket of residential. The tracks are clearly visible from both sides of approach for oncoming vehicles, and the closest stoplight is about 800 feet to the east, so people shouldn’t necessarily be rushing to keep from being stopped by a pesky train.
All of the reported incidents were flagged “Vehicle on Tracks” so the best we can hope for is that they were all stalled and in need of service as this doesn’t look like a design flaw on paper.
Two other intersections of note were Maitland Avenue South and North Denning Drive, with two incidents apiece. And while there was no single intersection at play in Winter Park, there were reports of seven separate incidents between Pennsylvania Avenue leading up to the train station in Central Park; one of which was an alleged suicide.
Trivia Note: It is illegal to walk across the tracks unless at a designated crossing. Even for selfies. FDOT has added $500,000 in fencing to help keep people from walking on the tracks since they launched SunRail in 2014.
Use our interactive map below if you’d like to see the collision map for yourself.