My grandparents had to sell their farmland to make room for Highway 52 to bypass Haugen, WI and make it a negligible city. The highway can’t even be seen from downtown Haugen, but the impact of the traffic diversion has effected Haugen economy. One thing that helped bring back a little dignity to the village was turning an old railroad into a nice walking trail.
Unfortunately, all railroads declare to the public that they are private property and nobody is even allowed to cross them unless they go to the designated dangerous crossing sections. I don’t understand what makes a train any less dangerous at the designated spots compared to the spots that say no trespassing. The wildlife doesn’t read, so train accidents involved with killing living things still exist whether they have private property signs or not.
This movement to designate train rails as private property has been very recent. I used to cross the tracks as a child in the 1980s and never seen any private property sings before. I don’t recall seeing any signs as a young man in the 1990s. But today, all the tracks are private property. They make us feel guilty about traveling the tracks now and this is unfortunate added rules that we don’t need.
Now I feel like a criminal crossing tracks in “illegal” spots whereas before there was no warning. The rules for travel are getting much tighter and we are subject to more trespassing charges today as a result. Cops are finding it very convenient to accuse people of illegally trespassing anywhere as a good reason to detain and investigate us. That kind of power is much stronger, especially when the cops freely pull their guns out of their holsters as they interview you.
Even though gas is cheaper, it doesn’t mean we can afford to drive more. The savings are being compromised by higher prices in other areas. More people need to find alternative means to travel, but we are more limited than ever. The roads have to be more protected and cleared and enforced with laws that protect cars more than pedestrians. In turn, the pedestrians face more private property and curfew trespassing limitations as well. There is a major wrench tightening on our mobility that virtual gaming can distract us with for a little bit. But I don’t believe we can be distracted for very much longer.