(Middle River, Maryland – April 23, 2011)
Even though efforts by the parents of 14-year-old Kenwood High School freshman Anna Marie Stickel, who died over a year ago (Jan. 6, 2010) when, after missing their school bus, she and a classmate decided to take a shortcut along Amtrak/MARC railroad tracks, where Anna was hit and killed by an Amtrak train. Previous pedestrian safety improvement requests reportedly fell upon deaf ears, however, construction of a heavy eight-foot high steel fence designed to keep people off railroad tracks will begin in a few days.
At a memorial vigil for Anna held a year after the tragedy and attended by about 200 friends and family, Tara Stickel, Anna’s mother, said that she wants to ensure her daughter did not die in vain and has made improving safety along the railroad tracks her life’s passion. She has lobbied elected officials and railroad management for a pedestrian bridge across the tracks and, in the interim, wants improved fencing and security. Stickel said her daughter “wasn’t the first person this happened to and she won’t be the last if we don’t do something. When a kid can walk right onto those tracks without so much as breaking a sweat, you know something needs to be done.”
On Friday, in a statement, Amtrak Spokesperson Danielle Hunter said that the new security fencing “is not in direct response to Anna Stickel’s death, but Amtrak is installing the fence to deter access to the railroad tracks, and we are hoping in conjunction with public awareness that this will deter public access to the tracks.”