CSX appeals decision on Fonda rail crossing: officials

FONDA – CSX Transportation is appealing a decision that left the village’s Center Street railroad crossing open to pedestrians, according to a news release from village officials Friday.

According to the release, Mayor William Peeler received a notice of appeal Thursday afternoon, filed by CSX, through the company’s attorneys, who are with the law firm Nixon Peabody LLP, of Buffalo.

The notice was in reference to the Aug. 15 decision by members of the New York State Department of Transportation regarding the Center Street railroad crossing, the release said.

According to the DOT order, the crossing on Center Street was completely closed to vehicular traffic, although pedestrians are allowed to cross the tracks there.

“As the notice served on behalf of CSX is the first stage in requesting a review of the decision and order, it is unknown to village officials as to the basis of the appeal,” the release said.

Officials with CSX?could not be reached for comment.

The release said a separate order made the railroad crossing on Broadway closed to northbound vehicle traffic.

CSX requested DOT close the village crossings completely in 2011. CSX claimed the crossings are dangerous and few vehicles use them. Two people have died at the crossings in the last 10 years.

Following the decision, the Village Board passed a resolution in September to cooperate with the order. Village Attorney Michael Albanese advised the board to comply with the order. Board members said they disagreed with the decision, but would reluctantly go forward with it.

The release said the Center Street crossing is the main crossing for residents in the southern portion of the village to get to Main Street businesses. Many of the residents are senior citizens and include those who are wheelchair bound or require assistance walking, the release said.

“The cost to our community may not be overstated; the village is with little resources and needs these routes to remain open for economical purposes and much more importantly, the safety of our residents and visitors,” the release said.

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has established a petition on his website seeking a reversal of the order from DOT. The release said Peeler requests people help the village by signing the petition, which is online at tinyurl.com/FondaRR.

Local representatives previously expressed their support for keeping the crossings open.

Walter Boyd, a member of the Village Board, said Friday he was opposed to the closings that were already ordered.

“As far as I am concerned, my personal opinion is they should have never been closed,” Boyd said.

Rick Sager, Montgomery County’s interim emergency management director, said the county could work with one of the intersections closing. If the appeal results in both crossings being closed, he said, it would be tough for the county to handle.

Jim Hoffman, a Mohawk Town Board member, said closing both intersections would be detrimental to the village, town and county.

“That would be an extreme inconvenience,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said with the increased traffic going through the village, cutting off alternative routes would negatively affect it.

Boyd said he expects CSX’s appeal to be discussed at the Village Board’s meeting?Tuesday.

The Village Board requested Albanese look into appealing the decision back in September.

Boyd said he was not aware of the details of any appeal on behalf of the village.