Green monster: UVA's ped-stopping fence claims a victim
It took 12 years, but an overnight impalement indicates that the so-called "Green Monster" has claimed its first injury victim. Fire Chief Charles Werner reports that rescue workers arrived at 258 Crispell Drive at 2:58am Saturday, January 28 to rescue an individual dangling upside-down on the fence erected by UVA to keep pedestrians away from train tracks.
The patient was transported to the UVA Medical Center Emergency Room, Werner said.
In the year 2000, under an agreement with Norfolk Southern Corporation, the University of Virginia erected the $125,000, 1,200-foot long metal fence between the train tracks and the back side of the Medical Center.
With few officially-permitted pedestrian crossings in that area and with train speeds typically much slower than in rural areas, the nearly quarter-mile-long in-town structure has long provoked concern that UVA was overzealously elevating insurance concerns– in the name of safety– over connectivity.
UVA Police spokesperson Melissa Fielding tells a reporter that she can recall no prior injuries on the fence.
Charlottesville Police occasionally embark on stings to ticket people who cross train tracks, with one such sting and its $106 tickets provoking ire in 2008. One of the ironies inherent in any discussion of shortcutting or trespassing over railroad tracks is that pedestrians have the right to legally walk over such tracks at automobile crossings.
At the time of the fence's erection, there was talk of creating bridges over the tracks, but that never happened.