This story has been updated.
VALHALLA, N.Y. -- With the one-year anniversary of the deadliest train crash in Metro-North history on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday released a detailed list of plans for improving safety at its railroad crossings.
Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for Metro-North, said, "Railroad crossing safety is often discussed in terms of the three "E"s: Education, Enforcement and Engineering. We are focusing on all three."
In June, Metro-North announced a new partnership with Operation Lifesaver to better achieve public education.
Over the past year, MTA Police increased the level of motorist railroad crossing education and enforcement, Donovan said. In 2015, MTA Police distributed 4,905 railroad crossing safety pamphlets to motorists and pedestrians and issued 1,875 summonses and 831 written warnings at railroad crossings.
With regard to engineering, in September 2015, the MTA Board approved a contract worth $269,000 to a third party safety consulting company, CTC, Inc., to conduct a pilot risk assessment at 20 railroad crossings. Donovan said that assessment is ongoing and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
This month, the MTA expects to approve a competitively bid contract to a third party safety risk assessment company to conduct a systemwide grade crossing safety risk assessment at priority locations throughout the entire LIRR & Metro-North systems in New York and Connecticut.
"We’re also aware that the Town of Mount Pleasant is investigating the potential to close the railroad crossings at Commerce Street in Valhalla, where the incident took place, and at Cleveland Street.," Donovan said. "This is a process that originates at the Town level, and involves the New York State Department of Transportation, Metro-North and the MTA. The Town would submit a formal petition for the closure(s) of the crossings to the DOT. And the petition process involves the opportunity for the public to offering their comments on a potential closure, including through public hearings."
"Metro-North supports the closure of grade crossings as a general rule," Donovan said.
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