VALHALLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Hudson Valley lawmakers are pushing the state to complete a comprehensive inventory of New York’s railroad grade crossings.
A fiery collision involving an SUV and Metro-North Railroad train that killed six people in Valhalla in 2015 raised concerns about all crossings.
Even though the NTSB found that the gates, signals, signs and lights all met safety standards, state lawmakers seized the opportunity to do a top to bottom evaluation of all 5,300 grade crossings statewide.
The state Department of Transportation was supposed to complete the inspections by April 1.
“Whoops, that passed didn’t it? So, we’ve been calling the Department of Transportation and all we get back is ‘we’re working on it, we’re working on it, we’re working on it,'” Assemblyman Tom Abinanti said. “We don’t know what that means… We’re working on it is not enough. We don’t want to wait for the next accident to happen, we want to prevent the next accident.”
Officials stood at the Commerce Street crossing where the deadly crash occurred to call on the DOT to finish the survey.
Sen. David Carlucci said an inventory will identify crossings that should be closed and ones where safety improvements can be made.
“Six people died at this spot and we’re still waiting. Right now our system puts the public at risk,” Carlucci said. “By having an inventory of the rail crossings to know which are the most dangerous, which are the most deadly, which ones do need to be eliminated altogether?”
In Februaruy 2015, Ellen Brody got caught in traffic; the crossing gate came down on her SUV and she pulled forward onto the tracks. Her husband believes the crossing is poorly designed.
“I don’t want this to happen to your wife. I don’t want this to happen to your friends, your loved ones,” Alan Brody said.”So what we need is the will of the public to ensure that these folks do the right thing.”