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Glendale Residents: Railroad Crossing Is Accident Waiting To Happen

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Concern has been growing in Queens over a railroad crossing that residents say doesn’t give adequate warning to drivers before they cross.

Residents in Glendale told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez the railroad crossing at 88th Street and 76th Avenue is an accident waiting to happen.

“Somebody’s going to get hurt. It’s that simple,” one resident said.

Area resident Monica Tam recorded cell phone video of just how long the gates take to go down at the crossing as a train approached.

The crossing gates are only activated when the train is just feet from cars and pedestrians, Sanchez reported.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is not right,’” Tam said.

Only New York and Atlantic Railway freight trains travel through the crossing. The trains travel at restricted speeds of no more than 15 mph and are required to pull up to a gate-activating circuit about 100 feet from the intersection, and wait to cross until the gate is completely down and the track is clear, Sanchez reported.

The train in Tam’s video appears to stop, Sanchez reported. But residents say it’s still too close for comfort.

“A train will approach too close and the gates will go down with no reaction time for pedestrians, or car drivers, or bus drivers,” said Glendale resident Kate Interrante.

The Long Island Rail Road owns and maintains the crossing signals and equipment and said it’s all in working order.

The Federal Railroad Administration also conducted its own inspection at the crossing and found the gate’s timing and the train conductors’ protocol meet safety standards.

Many residents said they find that hard to believe.

“I would like more of a 3 minute warning. Yes, it will inconvenience some of the drivers, but there will be more of a lead time so we know that somebody’s coming,” Interrante said.

After hearing residents’ concerns, the New York and Atlantic Railway’s general superintendent said the railway is looking into taking over maintenance from the LIRR so it can extend the gate activation point and lower the barriers sooner, Sanchez reported.

“It needs to be done and it needs to be done now,” a resident said.

Glendale residents insist there is no other option.

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