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Mount Pleasant Considers Closing Two Railroad Crossings

The Commerce Street crossing in Valhalla.
The Commerce Street crossing in Valhalla. Photo Credit: NTSB

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. -- The railroad crossing that was the site of the deadliest train crash in Metro-North history may soon be closed.

The Town of Mount Pleasant is considering joining with the State Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in discussions to close the Commerce Street railroad crossing. The Mount Pleasant town board would have to approve joining a petition with the other two groups.

In Feb. 2015, a Metro-North train collided with a car that Ellen Brody drove onto the tracks at the railroad crossing. Brody and five other people were killed, while 15 people were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board determined Brody was mainly at fault. Investigators said they were unable to determine why Brody drove her car onto the train tracks despite warning signs indicating a train was approaching.

As part of their report, the NTSB recommended closing the Commerce Street crossing. Mount Pleasant Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi agreed with the NTSB's report that something should be done.

As part of a study of all the railroad crossings in Mount Pleasant, the town found the Cleveland Street crossing was the most dangerous, Fulgenzi said.

Fulgenzi said the town has come up with ways to bypass the crossing that would not inconvenience residents, including building a pedestrian overpass to connect people to the railroad station.

The State Department of Transportation would be paying for all costs, Fulgenzi said.

"I made that clear from day one," Fulgenzi said. "We want to eliminate as many dangerous crossings as possible and this is one way of doing it."

Fulgenzi said there is no timetable for when the railroad crossings might be eliminated, saying the project is in its infancy stage. The first in a series of public information meetings will be held on Oct. 24.

"Once we conduct these meetings and everybody is satisfied, we'll use that information to help us make a decision," Fulgenzi said. "I want this to happen. I don't want to wait until another major accident occurs and we wonder why we didn't do something."

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