The state Department of Transportation may rule later this year on whether to close two important railroad crossings in Fonda - one on Broadway and the other on South Center Street.
CSX Railroad has petitioned the state to close the crossings. If the state closes them permanently, CSX wouldn't have to pay to improve them or have to worry about the possibility of a car getting hit by a train.
Of course, all railroads would be safer if there were no crossings, but that would be impractical. Railroad crossings are necessary, especially when tracks run right through a village or city.
In Fonda, the CSX Railroad tracks basically divide the village in half. The two railroad crossings in question are necessary. Closing them would create problems for village residents.
Village officials point out emergency vehicles would have a difficult time getting to certain areas and rerouted traffic would increase congestion on other roads and intersections, possibly causing more accidents. In addition, local commuters would be inconvenienced and face longer rides and delays.
Some village officials also are worried about what would happen in the case of an evacuation during possible flooding or another emergency.
There's an economic effect from closing the crossings, too. "People need to have secure ways to get in and out of the village," village Trustee Robert Galusha said during a recent hearing on the issue. "CSX needs to upgrade the crossings and make them safe. We have businesses that rely on two-way traffic."
The people of the village are right. The state shouldn't close the crossings to make business easier for CSX. The right decision is to keep the crossings open and make them safe and reliable.