Schumer, residents say more safety needed at Garden City railroad crossing

Posted: Updated:

A freight train crossing in Garden City has residents and officials concerned that there might be an accident waiting to happen. 

The crossing at Washington Avenue and St. James South has no gate crossing and residents say the intersection's traffic light is sometimes out of sync. Ken Falcon took a photo of a Long Island Rail Road maintenance train passing by while the traffic light was green. 

He sent his photo to some Garden City residents and Sen. Charles Schumer, who was at the crossing site Tuesday. 

"This photo here should be a red flashing light for the MTA to realize that this isn't a safe intersection," said Schumer. 

The senator called for the MTA and the LIRR to speak with the community about how to make the crossing safer. 

The intersection is one of three Garden City crossings without a gate or flashing lights to warn motorists about oncoming trains. The MTA says the tracks are used infrequently by LIRR maintenance trains. 

The MTA also says the maintenance trains come through at no more than 5 mph and that the crews get off the train and check the intersection before allowing the train to proceed. 

Bob and Nancy Orosz say they have seen the workers directing traffic and don't think there's a need for additional safety measures. 

Falcon says they should at least synchronize the traffic lights. 

Sen. Schumer says he's not pushing for a gate at the crossing, but he is pushing for flashing warning lights.

A spokesman for the MTA said in a statement that safety is their top priority, and that they will review Sen. Schumer's proposal when he reaches out directly to the MTA.

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