Woman killed using popular path to cross train tracks

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A woman was killed on Monday, after being hit by a train while crossing the tracks in Springfield.

We were literally two steps away from making it all the way, explained her granddaughter Hilda Sanchez. Yesterday it was her. Tomorrow it could be someone else.

That woman was crossing the tracks near the Plainfield Street Soccer Field in Springfield’s North End. 

She and her granddaughter were using a path that goes from Plainfield Street, over the tracks to Birnie Avenue. 

That’s the only route we’ve ever really walked through, said Sanchez. 

Residents in the area said it’s a popular shortcut for people looking to walk to Main Street. But, Amtrak said it’s both dangerous and illegal to cross the tracks anywhere but a designated crossing. 

There are designated crossings here at Wason Avenue, as well as Route 20. But, people who live here in the Brightwood neighborhood say they really aren’t better options. 

There’s like a small area on the bridge that’s really tiny, said Miriam Gonzalez, who uses the path to cross the tracks. To me, that’s a lot more dangerous than crossing the train tracks. If anything.

MassDOT is planning to construct an underpass that goes under the train tracks and connects Plainfield Street to Birnie Ave. A MassDOT spokesperson told 22News the project has been designed, and construction should begin later this spring. 

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