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Crossing Closures Create Public Safety Concern

(Fonda, New York – August 6, 2012)

The closure of two street crossings of the CSX railroad have created a sense of insecurity for residents of Fonda, NY as they deal with the loss of direct routes for the city’s fire department and other public safety agencies.

Influenced by the railroad, the New York Dept. of Transportation placed a “temporary” closure on two crossings, which caused response delay for a fire on East Street, just a few hundred feet from the fire station, but almost impossible to reach in time due to the closing of the street’s crossing over CSX rails.

Fonda Mayor told attendees at a recent public hearing that “We’re very fortunate firemen were able to get there and respond to this fire, but there were delays in getting the proper apparatus there in timely fashion.”

In total agreement was Fonda Fire Chief Donald Wagoner, who commented that “The longer a fire goes untended, the faster it grows and the bigger it gets.”

Regardless of how rail crossing closure hampers emergency response, the “solution” from NYDOT – once again a railroad-generated concept – is to have a locked gate at the crossing that could be unlocked and opened for emergencies.

“You can’t wait for a number of phone calls and for someone to come down with a key,” said a frustrated Chief Wagoner. “We need the crossing open. We need the access,” he added.

Fonda citizen Sal Riggi observed that “They (emergency responders) feel like they’re trapped and they can’t get out quick enough to where they need to go.”

Your News Now Reporter Maria Valvanis, in an article reporting on the situation, said NYDOT intends to issue a ruling regarding the closures in the next few weeks.