Judge: Close Fonda railroad crossing

FONDA – The New York State Department of Transportation has ordered the closing of one railroad crossing in Fonda, while limiting the use of another.

According to a DOT order from Chief Administrative Law Judge Robert Rybak, the CSX railroad crossing on Broadway will be closed to northbound traffic. The crossing on Center?Street will be closed completely.

According to the order, CSX would be responsible for the costs in altering the surface, as well as warnings to prevent the crossing.

As of December 2014, the deadline for the closure, village residents living between the crossings would need to take Park Street to Route 30A to leave their neighborhood.

CSX requested the closure of both crossings in 2011, and a decision has been awaited since last year.

CSX claimed the crossings are dangerous and few vehicles use them.

“The record indicates that an arrangement allowing one-lane, one-way southbound vehicular traffic on Broadway (with accommodation for reverse flow in the event of an area emergency) is the alternative that best addresses safety needs of the traveling public while at the same time accommodating local safety concerns during emergencies,” Rybak said in the order. “Meanwhile, there is no testimony in the record, engineering or otherwise, indicating that reposting of Park Street as a one-way road would adequately address the safety issues associated with the Broadway crossing.”

A number of public officials in Montgomery?County opposed the suggestion by CSX.

Mayor Bill Peeler was unavailable for comment today.

However, Peeler has been public about his opposition to the closure.

“In short, the village of Fonda maintains that a need for closure of either [the] Center Street or Broadway crossing is not found in the evidence brought forth by CSX or New York State DOT,” Peeler said in July 2012.

Peeler said the village could not handle the financial hardships from closing the crossings.

Officials also said the closings would negatively affect local businesses, cause traffic congestion and present problems for emergency vehicles.

“The application for these closures has, not in one instance, demonstrated recognition or consideration for the full health and safety … of our residents and visitors, the negative economic impact these closures would bring to the village, town and county governments, and most certainly the negative impact on the quality of life for the residents within the area,” Peeler said.

A representative from CSX was unavailable for comment.

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