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Riders want to stop train station vandalism in its tracks

Officials propose meeting to talk solutions
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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A vomit stain isn’t quite the “welcome to Auburn” sign train riders and officials had in mind for the station. However, the stain is there, along with evidence of other small-scale vandalism that station users want to stop. “It’s sad in a lot of ways,” said Chuck Robuck, a longtime train rider. “It’s the first impression a lot of people get who are traveling on the train to Auburn.” Robuck, a Newcastle resident, has commuted on the train that travels from Auburn to Sacramento for about nine years. He is part of the Capitol Corridor riders, which is an informal group of commuters who get together for a variety of events including train parties, letter-writing campaigns and to keep a watchful eye on their surroundings. The riders are not the only ones who notice the stains, smashed cigarette butt holders and kicked out wire inside the fencing next to the platform. Placer County Transportation Planning Agency staff keeps an eye on the track. The agency is housed in the Nevada Station building, which is adjacent to the Auburn train stop. “The vandalism and other activities are countering all the time and effort and public funding that have gone into making the Auburn/Conheim Station a positive experience for transit riders, and it needs to stop,” wrote Celia McAdam, executive director of the agency, in response to an e-mail from Robuck. On Monday, Robuck e-mailed capitol corridor riders, city and police officials and the Auburn Journal, discussing recent vandalism and attaching pictures documenting that vandalism. McAdam’s response included an offer to host a meeting where those involved could brainstorm solutions. McAdam said they are installing “high intensity” lights around the exterior of the building to deter any illegal activity during the evening hours. She also said staff members call police when they see any illegal activity during the day. “We keep an eye out for the platform,” McAdam said Monday. City Mayor Mike Holmes said he is pushing for a meeting of stakeholders by the end of this week. “We’re going to get on top of it and try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible,” Holmes said. He said the city contracts with cleaners to maintain the station. He said the platform was washed last week and the city responds to any other complaints. He said no one had reported the kicked in fencing to the city prior to the e-mail sent Monday. Robuck said he hopes his e-mail encourages people to take action to keep the train stop safe and clean for commuters and visitors. “I think people just need to speak up and get involved however they can,” Robuck said. “Don’t just watch it happen — speak out, contact your representative and let people know you’re not happy with it.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.