Residents Speak Out About Railroad Crossings - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Residents Speak Out About Railroad Crossings

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By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's been more than four years since Gulfport residents went to bat with council members over railroad crossings in their communities. But now the issue has resurfaced.

This week ward two councilwoman Libby Milner-Roland will hold a workshop, along with CSX, to hear the concerns of residents who live and work near railroad crossings.

James Kidd, Jr. and his wife Michelle have lived in their Hardy Avenue home for decades. For as long as they can remember, they've had an issue with a nearby crossing. Now, they want it closed.

"For one thing the noise levels, it would increase all the property values down here and the safety concerns with people speeding up and down the street. There are a lot of reasons,"  said Kidd.

The city of Gulfport leads the coast with 34 railroad crossings and some residents feel that if some of those are closed, it will not only help some communities but CSX as well.

In the spring of 2004, Harrison County led the nation with the highest number of railroad accidents.  Just one reason CSX began installing more crossing arms and sounding more train horns.

"They have to blow at every crossing, so it is quite noisy," said Michelle Kidd.

Spring of 2004 was also the time when Michelle Kidd and several other Gulfport residents went before the former city administration to ask for some changes when it came to the Gulfport's railway system.

"We had been working for some time to get some of the crossings closed. We had traffic issues, safety issues that we were addressing," Michelle said.

While she remembers chaos amongst the old administration, she doesn't recall any progress.

"It was tabled and it was forgotten because not very long after that we got a new administration in, a new city council, but it was still on our minds. And we knew that we needed to bring it back up. And of course Katrina hit, and we had many more issues that were pressing at the time," said Michelle.

Coucilwoman Libby Milner-Roland will hold an informal workshop for people to ask questions or express their concerns about railroad crossings in their area. The meeting will be this Tuesday, July 29, from 5pm to 7pm at Gulfport City Hall.

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