Shreveport to reconsider RR crossing closures

By Fred Childers – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – It appears the squeaky wheel is getting the grease, at railroad crossings for Hyde Park, and at Mansfield and Malcolm.

  that's where signs went up last week telling residents within thirty days the crossings would be closed, now it appears that won't happen immediately.

"It inconvenienced us to go all the way around the world to get to our home," said one driver after she had just learned of the scheduled closures.

Mayor Cedric Glover told residents the closure was part of a deal with union pacific, to open a crossing at the growing Shreve park. He pointed to millions of dollars in wages, new jobs, and overall economic growth.

"We just want it right now, to stop," said Mary Lites, a resident who has helped organize a rebellion.

And it appears it will stop, temporarily, after residents showed up to the city council meeting Tuesday with a petition.

More than 500 people signed it.

They've convinced city leaders to at least consider a different plan.

"We haven't made any final decisions yet, at this point we're going to hold up closing those crossings," said City Council Member, Bryan Wooley.

The problem is that the tracks were there long before the city streets, and it's up to the railroad company to decide how many of them stay open. But it's up to the city, somewhat, which ones close, city leaders will negotiate with the company, and if one opens at Shreve Park, a couple have to close elsewhere. The question is now: If the city does renegotiate, could it face a lawsuit?

"At this point we are going to seek legal advice of our council to see where that does put us," said Wooley.

Tuesday's decision by city council is not a sign that crossings will remain open, but it's a much more promising sign than the ones residents saw last week.

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