Senator Schumer calls for safety measures at railroad crossing



Rockville Centre attorney Ken Falcon posted the above photo to Facebook after he saw a train go through the Washington Ave. and St. James St. crossing with no gates or signals to warn drivers. The traffic light is green.

Rockville Centre attorney Ken Falcon posted the above photo to Facebook after he saw a train go through the Washington Ave. and St. James St. crossing with no gates or signals to warn drivers. The traffic light is green.

New York state Senator, Charles Schumer, was at the corner of Washington Avenue and St. James Street on Tuesday to address a safety hazard at the railroad crossing. The lack of warning lights and signals at the grade crossing, where cargo trains sometimes pass, was brought to the attention of the Senator’s office by a concerned citizen.

“We shouldn’t have a train coming through this intersection without a warning for drivers such as a gate or flashing lights,” said Schumer. “I’ve seen a lot of accidents at railroad crossings across New York and I don’t want to be here when it’s too late.”

Ken Falcon, an attorney from Rockville Centre, was the concerned citizen who drew the attention of the Senator , when he posted a picture on Facebook showing a cargo train traveling through the intersection on a cloudy, rainy day.

“On October 29th, I was driving to the store with my son when I saw the train going by with just a green light at the intersection,” said Falcon. “I couldn’t believe there weren’t any safety measures in place like flashing lights or a signal of some sort to prevent accidents.”

The train line is officially known as the Garden City- Mitchel Field Secondary and it is a lightly used freight rail that spurs off the LIRR’s Hempstead branch. The LIRR uses the line to transport trackwork equipment to their Garden City yard. Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey circus also used the line to store box cars when they were performing at the Nassau Coliseum. Barnum & Bailey closed for good earlier this year.

Senator Schumer said he plans to contact the MTA and FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) so that they can sit down with concerned citizens including the Garden City Eastern Property Owner’s Association and come up with solutions to the problem.

“So far there has been no evidence of any accidents here but we need to do all we can to prevent that from happening,” said Schumer.

Senator Schumer was the original author of the Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Act which was put together in 2015. The Bill authorizes appropriations of up to $50 million each fiscal year for the Railway-Highway Crossings Program.

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