To the editor:
I've been driving to and from work by way of 127th Street in Alsip for the past eight years. There are two railroad crossings along the stretch between Pulaski and Western Avenues. Crossing them at 30-plus mph has been the norm. In eight years, I can recall no more than two occasions that repairs were needed at those crossings; and before the repair you could still cross them at 30 mph.
If reducing traffic congestion at 47th Street and East Avenue is the goal here, it's critical to identify the root cause and correct it. Stoplights or not, no one can cross those tracks at speeds faster than 10 to 15 mph, under the conditions we usually find those crossings, and not be concerned with damage to the car’s suspension system. Unless the authorities are able to hold the feet of Indiana Harbor Belt (IHB) to the fire, and have them upgrade and consistently maintain the crossings' condition, no plan to address traffic congestion there is likely to be successful over the long term.
If there’s agreement that the condition of the grade crossings is the root cause, I urge the IDOT to:
Force IHB to upgrade (not just repair) the two grade crossings After drivers are aware of the improvements and changed their driving habit, conduct a new analysis of traffic flow Decide whether stoplights remain a consideration