Lawmakers and Advocates 
Demand Action on Rail Safety Proposal

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Last week Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) was joined by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti and several advocates who, following the horrific accident in Hoboken, are demanding improved rail safety.

A bill that would enable a study of all highway-rail crossings, as well as determine the adequacy of traffic and pedestrian warning signals, has passed the Senate and Assembly. The bill now awaits action by the governor.

“There is a dire need to improve the rail infrastructure in our State, as the incident in Hoboken and last year’s fatal accident in Valhalla prove,” said Senator Carlucci. “We need to seriously examine why the number of crossing accidents has increased in New York, and what we can do to fix them as soon as possible – lives depend on it.”

“We need to use the recently announced federal monies as efficiently and effectively as possible to improve the most dangerous railroad crossings. Any railroad crossing improvements should include the results of the Department of Transportation’s assessment of what drivers see and don’t see as they approach a railroad crossing,” said Assemblyman Abinanti. “A comprehensive evaluation of these dangerous crossings will go a long way in protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers.”

The bill, S.3458, will give New York State the ability to provide a proper and professional evaluation on where the faulty rail lines are, and how much it would cost to fix them.

Specifically, the study will examine:

  • The safety of level grade crossings and the feasibility of implementing design changes to increase safety and to reduce the likelihood of obstructions
  • Adequacy of traffic and pedestrian warning signals
  • Federal funding available for safety improvement projects; and the feasibility of equipping passenger and commuter trains with technology to increase safety
  • Which level grade rail crossings are considered to be the most dangerous throughout the state
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