Friends and relatives of Monique Garcia said that safety barriers should be installed along the railroad to deter people from walking across tracks betweens streets.
"There are no safety barriers," Angela Tovar, Garcia's cousin, said at a candlelight vigil Sunday night at the Downtown Lodi train station where Garcia was killed. "Any teenager could have done what she did."
Kevin Lynch, a retired Conair railroad police captain from Clifton Park, N.Y., who now serves as a railroad police practices consultant, agrees that barriers should be installed.
"The railroad should be fenced in urban areas," Lynch said. "The railroad should have fenced it so that (Garcia) wouldn't have been there."
Union Pacific has about 23,000 miles of track, so it's too difficult to construct fencing everywhere, UP spokeswoman Zoe Richmond said. But the railroad is willing to enter partnerships with local communities where the railroad installs the fence at its expense and the city maintains it and patrols the area, Richmond said.
Lodi city spokeswoman Jeff Hood said that city officials have never discussed installing fencing or other barriers along the tracks.
"I've never heard of the fencing option," Lodi Mayor Larry Hansen said Monday. "If it's something that will make it safer, we'll have to look at it. I'll have to know lot more about it. I don't know how expensive they are, how effective they are."
The arrangement has worked in Winnemucca, Nev., where Union Pacific installed a fence about a mile long to detour junior high students from using an unsafe path across the tracks from school to their neighborhood, according to Winnemucca City Manager Stephen West.
What brought things to a head in Winnemucca was when a 13-year-old boy on his way to school seriously injured his leg after attempting to crawl underneath a parked train in October, according to the Elko Daily Free Press. The train suddenly moved and ran over his leg, according to the Elko newspaper.
Although Winnemucca officials attempted to get Union Pacific to install a fence for several years, they responded quickly after the October accident, West said. UP installed a fence close to a mile long and 6 feet high at a cost to UP of about $130,000, West said.
"We have agreed to assist in the maintenance of general wear and tear and vandalism that we'll take care of for a 10-year period," West said.
As a result of the new fence, students use a street to cross the tracks 300 feet from the dirt path, West said.
"I think this is going to make things a lot safer," he added.
The state of Washington's Utilities and Transportation Commission has issued grants to communities to install fences to deter people from crossing railroad tracks, according to Lynch, the railroad expert from New York state.
"The state of Wyoming requires fencing, but it's to protect livestock, not people," Lynch added.
Hansen, Lodi's mayor, questions how effective fencing would be.
"You can't totally fence it off," Hansen said. "If someone wants to cross, they'll be able to cross."