10.01.15

SCHUMER: IDLING TRAINS FROM CANADIAN PACIFIC RR BLOCK THE ONLY ENTRANCE & EXIT POINT FOR TOWN OF DICKINSON’S ROGERS MOUNTAIN WAY NEIGHBORHOOD; TRAINS SITTING ON TRACKS FOR HOURS CUT OFF RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES FROM TOWN & PREVENT EMERGENCY SERVICES FROM REACHING COMMUNITY – SCHUMER URGES COMPANY TO BE GOOD NEIGHBOR BY REMOVING IDLING TRAINS & HELPING FUND CONSTRUCTION OF ALTERNATE ROADWAY

Rogers Mountain Way Neighborhood Only Has One Entrance & Exit Point And It Is Regularly Blocked By Trains Passing Through Broome County; Idling Trains Sit on RR Crossing Track & Leave Residents Trapped In Their Neighborhood For Hours On End, Cutting Residents & Businesses Off From Surrounding Town, Emergency Responders, Snow Removal Services, Road Repair Crews And More

Town Of Dickenson Has Secured Permits To Create Alternate Road For Residents When Idling Trains Are Blocking Off Neighborhood, But Town Needs Funding To Start Construction; Schumer Urges Canadian Pacific To Remove Idling Trains & Help Fund Alternate Roadway 

Schumer: It’s Time For CP To Be A Good Neighbor

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) to a be good neighbor by relocating idling trains that block off the entire Rogers Mountain Way neighborhood, located in the Town of Dickinson, for hours at a time. Schumer explained that, currently, this Broome County community only has one means of entering and exiting the neighborhood, by way of Phelps Street, which contains an at-grade railroad crossing. However, when the crossing is in use, traffic exiting or attempting to enter the area is completely blocked, leaving the neighborhood cut-off and inaccessible. Schumer said this is an inconvenience for residents, a deterrent for local businesses and even a potential safety hazard if fire, police and ambulance services cannot reach the community in the event of an emergency. For this reason, the Town of Dickinson has applied for permits that would allow it to build an alternate road that would allow residents and safety personnel to egress and ingress into the neighborhood even if a train is blocking Phelps Street. Therefore, Schumer said CP must be a good neighbor by moving these idling trains to another location that will no longer cut off this neighborhood, in addition to helping the town fund its construction of the alternate roadway that is needed due to the train obstructions.

“They say good fences make good neighbors – but when the fence is a diesel-spewing multi-ton, idling Canadian Pacific train, that is not true. Just ask the residents and businesses of Rogers Mountain Way. These idling trains act as a barrier, and completely cut off this community from the Town of Dickinson when they sit idling on the only access road for hours at a time. Canadian Pacific needs to find an area of the track to park these cars where they do not interfere with the quality of life of residents, deter business activity and block critical access to emergency services – so I’m urging the company to be a friendly neighbor and resolve this issue immediately in order to better protect this community,” said Schumer.

Schumer continued, “What’s more, this community now needs to build an alternate access road so residents, businesses and emergency personnel will no longer be inhibited by this inconvenience and safety hazard. So I’m urging Canadian Pacific to be a part of the solution and help this community fund the construction of this alternate route. The financial burden to fund such an infrastructure project is significant for a municipality of this size, yet the security of this community is priceless.”

Schumer explained that when trains stop outside Rogers Mountain Way and idle, they block residents from being able to enter or exit their own neighborhood. Since Rogers Mountain Way is home to many businesses as well, blocking this ingress and egress point hurts community shop owners’ ability to operate efficiently. Most alarming, Schumer said, is the fact that this blocked road prevents ambulances, firefighters and police officers from accessing the community in the event of an emergency. On many occasions, trains have idled for extended periods, closing off access for several hours at a time. Therefore, Schumer said this blockage is not only an inconvenience for residents and a deterrent to local business, but also a public safety hazard.

On top of this, Schumer said local resources are often diverted to this blocked off area when the Sheriff’s office is called and asked to help locate the conductor of an idling train. In addition, trapping this neighborhood has been a hindrance to town road crews performing maintenance, repair and snow removal efforts on neighborhood streets. Therefore, Schumer is asking CP to work with Town of Dickinson and Broome County officials to not only move these idling train into areas that will not block off an entire community, but also help fund the construction of an alternate access road that will provide residents, business owners and first responders another way of entering and leaving the Rogers Mountain Way neighborhood.

Schumer is urging CP to be a good neighbor and work with the Town of Dickinson to support their effort to protect the community. Schumer said that the curtailment of the number of trains that are allowed to idle on these tracks and block off the neighborhood is an ideal solution. However, in addition to this push, Schumer is asking CP to work with town officials to develop and construct a road extension so there is an alternate route to enter and exit the neighborhood in the case that Phelps Street is blocked. Schumer said local officials have already conducted the necessary surveys and secured the necessary permits for the extension project. However, the town estimates the extension project will cost $200,000 and will need help shouldering the cost. Schumer says the financial burden should be shared and CP should help fund this project because the blockage is caused by idling trains and underscores the need for an alternate road. Since CP’s trains are the source of the problem, Schumer says it is only fair the company be part of the solution. 

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to Canadian Pacific appears below:

Dear Mr. Harrison:

I write in regards to a troubling situation involving a Canadian Pacific railroad crossing in the Town of Dickinson in New York’s Broome County. Rogers Mountain Way is a suburban neighborhood populated by residential homes and businesses. This community has only one means of ingress and egress by way of Phelps Street, which also has an at-grade railroad crossing. When the crossing is in use, traffic exiting or attempting to enter the area is blocked, leaving the neighborhood cut-off and inaccessible. On many occasions, trains are stopped or idling for extended periods, closing off access for several hours at a time. Specifically, on behalf of the Town of Dickinson, I urge Canadian Pacific to cease idling trains that block this community’s sole access point, and further seek the company’s financial support to complete an alternate entrance to alleviate the blockage that occurs when this route is blocked by train traffic.

Blockage of this nature presents significant concerns, challenges and risk to residents: it is certainly an inconvenience to many; an impediment to those trying to conduct their business and perform service in a timely manner; and a hindrance to town road crews performing maintenance, repair or snow removal on neighborhood streets. There are even more significant issues to consider. Often times, Sheriff personnel are called to help locate the conductor, which is both time consuming and a diversion of resources. Even more troubling is that during these periods the entire community is left cutoff, without access to ambulance, fire or police. In such instances, time is precious and minutes can mean the difference between tragedy and a healthy outcome.

It is clear that steps must be taken to mitigate these concerns and ensure safety and quality of life for those who call Rogers Mountain Way home. I am aware that Supervisor Marinaccio of the Town of Dickinson has raised these concerns in recent years and discussed solutions with Canadian Pacific. The town has determined the best path forward would be the construction of a secondary road allowing residents and safety personnel egress and ingress into the neighborhood even if a train is blocking Phelps Street. To that end, it is my understanding that municipal leadership has acquired right of ways, conducted necessary surveys, completed permit processes and begun land preparation in anticipation of construction. The preliminary cost is approximately $200,000. This roadway will serve as a complement to the established Phelps Street thoroughfare.

This situation has been a challenge for years and town leadership is unwilling to allow more time to elapse while the safety and convenience of its residents remain at risk, and I agree with their sense of urgency. The financial burden to fund such an infrastructure project is significant for a municipality of this size, yet the security of this community is priceless. Left with no alternative, the town will be forced to consider taking on debt it can ill afford to absorb to move the road construction process forward before the season comes to a close – otherwise another year will pass leaving the residents of Rogers Mountain Way vulnerable and severely inconvenienced. 

Therefore, I strongly urge that Canadian Pacific be a good neighbor and work with the Town of Dickinson to support them in their endeavors to protect this community. Ideally, the curtailment of parked and idling trains in this area would be the best solution. I ask you to take prompt action to eliminate or significantly reduce the frequencies of this potentially dangerous practice. Additionally, it is the hope of town leadership that Canadian Pacific will provide funds for the alternate roadway and ease the financial burden this endeavor poses for the community. I thank you for your consideration of this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff with any questions.

Sincerely,

Charles. E Schumer

U.S. Senator



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