Queens, NY, August 17, 2011 – NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., City Council Member Elizabeth S. Crowley, NYS Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi and Michael Miller gathered concerned residents, long-suffering trackside homeowners, and community organizations from Middle Village and Glendale to a town hall-style meeting at PS 128 on the evening of August 16. Their joint plan/agreement with the rail companies was unveiled to alleviate the excessive traffic, noise and undesirable odors caused by outgoing freight trains in Middle Village.
Currently, freight trains carrying municipal solid waste are left idling while their brakes are pressurized at a hook-up northeast of 69th Place. The site is located directly nearby PS 128, a highly populated residential area and many small businesses – all of which have to deal with frequent noise disturbances and foul smells emanating from the idling trains.
Through the combined efforts of Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi and Mike Miller, Assemblywoman Marge Markey and NYC Council Member Elizabeth S. Crowley, numerous important negotiations were agreed upon by the Department of Transportation and CSX Freight Corporation, including the installation of two new hook-up sites located farther back from the current stop.
The primary hook-up would be relocated approximately 600 feet back, off of 69th Street, near All Faiths Cemetery, where the freight cars’ impact will be much less disturbing to constituents. A secondary hook-up, which will be utilized when the trains are operating at maximum capacity, would be installed northeast of 69th Place, about 450 feet from the current site.
This plan would require the Department of Transportation to install lights underneath the 69th Place overpass, so that workers could safely perform maintenance at all times. All other costs are expected to be relatively low, given the simple, albeit effective, solution to this problem.
Reacting to the agreement reached last night, Senator Addabbo explains, “I appreciate all the residents who came to the town hall meeting in order to work with the area’s elected officials on addressing their concerns regarding railroad activity adjacent to their homes and allowing us to progress forward on a plan that will alleviate the noise and odor issues for many. The residents at the town hall meeting participated in a productive discussion of the issues we elected officials must deal with for their well being.”
“The concerns caused by the CSX and NY & Atlantic Railroad activity and the daily problems my residents witness have been some of the most frustrating issues my staff and I have worked on to find some answers. We have worked many hours to provide the immediate relief our people have asked for and deserve. I know that we must continue to address many other issues that relate to the railroad in the future.”
Notes City Council Member Crowley, "Residents at 69th Place have dealt with the unbearable noise and foul smells caused by these freight trains for too long. This plan will provide a short-term solution and relief to a very complex problem. The 850 families of PS 128 and members of the community deserve a plan that ensures their safety at all times, which is why we will continue to work with CSX and NY & Atlantic to come up with the most agreeable solution possible.”
Assemblyman Miller says, “It was good to see first-hand the Middle Village community express openly all the issues that are important to them. And, it is so personally gratifying that the community liked the two solutions we offered at the meeting. I look forward to a swift resolution for the long-suffering homeowners who’ve had so many sleepless nights.”
Assemblyman Hevesi agrees, “For the first time in several years community residents, leaders, and elected officials have agreed to take a significant first step toward alleviating serious quality of life and health concerns in our community. We will continue to work diligently until we achieve our shared goals."
The plan to move the hook-up location is an important short-term step to provide relief to residents who have lived with a rumbling freight train next to their homes. There are still issues relating to freight rail in the community and this is not the end of the conversation with the rail companies. Elected officials will continue the ongoing dialogue with the community, rail companies and government agencies to make sure the movement of freight rail is safe, quiet and clean.
# # #