North Charleston, SC is not the first town to sense that a railroad company is being a bad neighbor. It is a familiar state of affairs: a set of dangerous railroad crossings need repairs and maintenance, while the railroad company who owns the crossings refuses to take action. Typically, citizens complain to the city, who in turn complains to the railroad company, who in turn either requests that the city fund the entire ordeal (fixing the railroad’s own property), or simply ignores the complaints altogether (usually until a severe accident or two takes place at the scene due to the conditions).
The city of North Charleston, however, is attempting to break this cycle, after the rate of incoming complaints has become too frequent. Their new strategy? At the targeted crossings, they’ve posted black and white signs which read: “This crossing recently repaired by CSX. If unhappy with it, please call 1-877-835-5279.” Now, (rightfully) upset motorists are given immediate incentive to call CSX and let them have a piece of their mind.
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t the only grievance that North Charleston has with CSX. Representatives for the railroad company failed to show up for a meeting to discuss a few issues in March of this year. The mayor’s top assistant, Ray Anderson, has made clear that the issue is not simply about the city’s differences with CSX. The real issue, he says, is the responsibility that CSX has towards the public’s safety – and these crossings are unsafe for pedestrians and vehicles.