FONDA - The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors agreed on a written statement opposing the proposed closing of railroad crossings at Center Street and Broadway.
The statement will be sent to the judge who will make a recommendation regarding the closing of the crossings. The judge then will present the letter to the New York State Department of Transportation, which will make the final decision.
CSX Railroad, the company seeking closure of the crossings, said the crossings are dangerous and few vehicles use them.
Charleston Supervisor Shayne Walters said the only accident at the Broadway crossing happened in 2005 and was caused by CSX, which he said improperly deactivated the gates. The victim, Victoria Doyle, had no indication a train was coming, Walters said.
Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito Greco expressed similar sentiments about the only fatality at the Center Street crossing in 2007.
"There was one at Center Street, and that was a pedestrian," Greco said. "You're never going to keep pedestrians off the track."
Local authorities and citizens say the crossings should stay open so emergency vehicles can cross the tracks. They also have said the closed gates could hurt local businesses.
The DOT is proposing the gates be locked, but officials could unlock them and use the crossings in case of emergencies.
Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato said if Broadway were blocked off, there is no guarantee Main Street would provide a clear route to the area.
"If you close off Broadway, there would be no way of responding. You're further isolating that village," Amato said.
Emergency Management Director Dwight Schwabrow expressed concerns about access to the emergency vehicles that are stored on Park Street, including sheriff's boats, ATVs and snowmobiles.
He cited the effect closed gates would have on businesses in the district.
"Just closing [the Broadway crossing] would hurt a lot of businesses [over there]," Schwabrow said. "I think the compelling arguments that have been made by the residents have to be followed by the board. There's no way that crossing is as dangerous as others in the state."