Voice of the People: Helen Pridmore

August 19, 2013 9:37:11 AM

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Stop making excuses 

 

Things I learned from the town meeting regarding the railroad crossing closures: Safety is very important to Kansas City Southern and to MDOT. So important that after all this time with no safety features, they are finally going to do something about it. Except, darn it, they can't afford to make these safer if they don't save some money by closing the other crossings.  

 

I am having a hard time following the logic behind this move, so please allow me to break this down by what was said at Thursday night's meeting. With the new industries moving into town, there has been an increase in rail traffic, and it could get busier. Okay, sounds great for the railroad. More traffic means an increase in revenue for them, correct? If they are making more money, why can they not afford to maintain the tracks now? And the million-dollar question is this: Why are they so concerned with getting safety features at the other crossings now? After all, Kevin Stafford said the population of Columbus has been declining. So are you saying that safety at the crossings was not as important in the 1950s, when my parents moved to Ninth Avenue South, and it was much busier?  

 

This is such a blatant money grab from the railroad that as a town we should all be insulted. Trust me, if they weren't going to make money off of these closings, they would not be doing it. Safety has absolutely nothing to do with this, no matter how many times they make these claims. They are benefiting from this, and we all lose. Oh, I know that those few people who showed up to talk about the horns and the "quality of life on Southside" will get the noise-free zone, but at what cost to the rest of us? I hear the horns, too. It's a small price to pay for living in an old house on Southside. But to allow the railroad to arbitrarily close roads that people have lived on all of their lives is just wrong. 

 

I urge EVERYONE to call their councilmen and protest, even if you don't live on Southside. This is an issue that will affect all of us in one way or another. The railroad owns this property, and they should be made to maintain it, just like small business owners like myself maintain our property. Stop making excuses about why you can't fix these crossings and figure out a solution that does not involve closing streets. 

 

Helen Pridmore 

 

Columbus