Rockland Seeks to Make Railway Crossings Safer

In an attempt to prevent such accidents as last weeks Valhalla train crash that claimed six lives, Rockland County hopes to push construction for the 14 railroad crossings in Orangetown, Clarkstown, and Haverstraw. The first phase of construction could amount to $6 million with $3.5 million secured several years ago. One of the installed protections and systems would be “vehicle presence detection” technology which could slow or stop a train minimizing impact or preventing one completely. Officials would install a four-quadrant gate system, meaning four arms with flashing lights and ringing bells at 12 of the 14 crossings. Four arms should discourage and prevent motorists from driving around them. A quiet zone designation has been in the works for over ten years in which trains would no blow horns when passing through towns, a proposal meant to improve quality of life for nearby residents. CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle stated that blowing train horns is a key part of train crew and public safety as they alert the surrounding area. A map of the 14 crossings can be viewed at http://www.rocklandquietzone.com/map.html.

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