UPDATED: RR crossing closure compromise

By Jeff Ferrell – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Long-simmering feuds between the city council and the mayor have now found their way into a heated debate about the closure of railroad crossings in southwest Shreveport.

It comes as Mayor Cedric Glover prepares to unveil his compromise plan at Tuesday's (6/8) Shreveport City Council meeting.  And Monday's work session turned into round one of this "compromise controversy."

Like the apprehension of watching a fast-approaching train, some council members expressed fear they could be getting 'railroaded' with this compromise.  That led council member Joe Shyne to make some pointed remarks during that work session about the mayor.  "Now just because he's sitting over there in that chair doesn't mean that he knows everything."

The compromise itself would have the city build a traffic underpass and rail bridge on Wyngate Boulevard.  The cost:  Almost 3-and-a- half million dollars.  And it would take a little more than a year to complete.  Mayor Glover told the council, "What we're offering is a scenario that allows us to be able to effectively keep faith with our citizens."

Two of the crossings would still get closed on Levy Street, while three other crossings originally slated for closure would remain open to traffic.  Nearby resident Mary Lites said of the proposed compromise, "I liked it.  I was one of the ones he called at 8 o'clock on Friday night to meet on Saturday at 2 o'clock."

That meeting infuriated some council members who saw it as just another example of a one-way flow of information, leaving the council once again feeling 'out of the loop' and uninformed to make the best decision.  "We don't have to rush.  I mean this is not a life or death situation," added Shyne.

But, after Shyne called for a team approach, it was Mayor Glover who reminded the councilman of a bus ride they had all taken together during this three year long process.  "And we actually rode around Shreveport to each of these potential crossings, just like a team Mr. Shyne!" declared Glover.

But it's Mayor Glover's plan to use leftover bond money to pay for the entire project that's expected to create a debate of its own.  And, even if Mayor Glover already has the four votes needed from the council to 'green light' his railroad closure compromise, it'll still be another two weeks before the council can take a vote.  We'll keep you posted.

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