BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich wants to add to the list of railroad crossings recommended for closure. He's asking the city council to vote on the process to close seven crossings at a public hearing Tuesday afternoon.
The addition to the list is the Delauney St. crossing. The other crossings recommended for closure are at Nixon, Holley, Iroquois, and Dorries streets and Keller and Querens avenues.
The recommendations are in response to the proposed Popp's Ferry Extension project. Extending Popp's Ferry Rd. to Hwy. 90 would require the installation of a few new rail crossings.
Delauney St. isn't the busiest among the crossings suggested by the city to close, but it's one of the most dangerous.
"It doesn't get a lot of traffic, but it's at a point where trains are usually moving pretty fast right through the middle of the city here," said Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard.
He said the city simply wants as many closures on the list as possible, and CSX likely would give the green light.
"CSX likes to say the only safe crossing is the one that doesn't exist," Leonard said. "So, we're going to try to make some crossings not exist, but we're also aware that before we close a crossing, we've got work to do to make sure that the parallel service roads that would allow people to move to an alternate site to cross the railroad have to be completed."
Under Gilich's proposal, CSX and the Mississippi Department of Transportation would help the city build new roads running parallel to the track to avoid having dead-end roads where the crossing are closed.
The Delauney St. crossing was not among those originally listed as potential closures by the city, because it primarily is used by city services. But, who better to make the sacrifice than the City of Biloxi?
"We could do well to close that street," Leonard said. "There would be no issue with it."
Herbert Lett has lived on Delauney St. for four years. He said he's OK if the rail crossing closes.
"It wouldn't matter. It really wouldn't matter if they closed it or not," Herbert said. "But, as long as it's here, make it safer."
Others see any crossing closures in the city a problem. Timothy French crosses the railroad tracks every day for his business.
"They need to put lights on them. They need to keep them safe. But closing them? I don't think it's a good thing," said French.
Wendy Grey Mitchell said the burden of safety is on those who cross.
"If people are stupid, that's their problem, but they should not be ignorant around railroad tracks," said Mitchell.
There will be a public hearing on the Delauney St. crossing immediately after the city council meeting Tuesday.
CSX regulations say before opening crossings, you must first close some. There are currently 29 railroad crossings in the city.