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The Village of Palatine, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago, is home to nearly 69,000 citizens. Many people enter Palatine on several of the major roads bordering the village: Route 53, Northwest Highway, Dundee Road, and Lake Cook Road. The roads separate Palatine from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and Inverness. Palatine residents have easy access to several shopping malls and golf courses off of these major roads. Palatine is also home to Harper Community College.

Why So Many People Love Palatine

Palatine is a great place to raise a family with many great schools, such as Fremd and Palatine High Schools. However, Palatine is still a suburb where a car is the most efficient mode of transportation to get from grocery stores, schools, and theaters. 96% of households in Palatine have access to at least 1 vehicle for personal use while half of all households have 2 or more. Palatine does also provide public transportation options. Metra’s Northwest Line takes commuters by train from Downtown Palatine to the Chicago Loop while Union Pacific freight trains run through Palatine for commercial purposes. The Village is served by PACE buses route 696 which provides weekday service from Mt. Prospect to Palatine.

Palatine also offers air, rail and bus transportation options throughout the Village.  Both O’Hare International Airport and Palwaukee Airport are less than 15 miles away.

Obviously, with so many transportation options available in Palatine, the abundance of drivers and transportation alternatives also creates a much higher risk of personal injury accidents.

Metra Train Collides with Vehicle in Palatine

On Wednesday, January 6, 2016, emergency crews responded to the area of Plum Grove Rd., north of Palatine Rd. in Palatine, for a collision between a Metra Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW) train and a passenger vehicle.  The driver suffered minor injuries and was treated and released by the Palatine Fire Department at the scene.  Fortunately, no one on the train was injured but the accident did tie up traffic for several hours. This accident comes less than a year after a 30-year old Palatine man died when he was struck by a Metra train just a few blocks north.

Train Tracks pose a risk to Pedestrians leaving Bars and Restaurants

Durty Nellie’s. Lamplighter Inn, and Emmett’s Brewing Company are all great local spots to grab a drink or a bite to eat in Palatine, but they are located within a block of the railroad tracks.  And as if foot-traffic around railroad tracks isn’t dangerous enough, it becomes exponentially riskier when alcohol enters the mix.  Walking home from a night out can be a smart alternative to driving so long as pedestrians use safe practices when crossing railroad tracks. Alcohol can impair your vision, perception, and ability to control and maintain position relative to changes in the environment. This means that you may not see an incoming train or may misjudge your proximity to a speeding train if you have been drinking.  To prevent being injured when walking home from your favorite Palatine bar or restaurant, stay away from the train tracks.  If you must cross the tracks, do so only at a designated public crossing with either a crossbuck, flashing red lights or a gate and do not cross the tracks immediately after a train passes.  Trains can come from either direction and a second train might be blocked by the first. Wait until you can see clearly around the first train in both directions. Alcohol has also been proven to increase risk-taking which may lead a pedestrian to become tempted to try to beat the train or even hop aboard while the train is moving. Remember, you will not beat the train and a slip of the foot may cost you a limb or your life.

Hazardous Material risks presented by Railroad Tracks

In addition to the risks created when vehicles and people cross train tracks in Palatine, the transportation of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) by freight trains poses an elevated risk of personal injury when these trains are involved in accidents. Although rail transportation of hazardous materials is recognized as the safest method of moving large quantities of chemicals over long distances, accidents involving HAZMAT can result in spills and leaks of potentially toxic materials. Different categories of hazardous materials may generate health risks that can span across the community.

Should an accident like this occur, the Village of Palatine is uniquely equipped to make notification to its citizens and to respond to the incident quickly, in order to protect the health and safety of Palatine residents.  The Palatine Fire Department has 18 members who are part of a Hazardous Materials Team that is specially trained to handle incidents where chemical, biological, or radiological threats exist. Further, Palatine utilizes the leading technology in emergency notification systems to reach Palatine residents via landline and alert them to emergency situations in the area.

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