There’s been some frustration over the time it is taking to replace and re-open the Harvey Redmond bridge which connects the Kramer ballfields to the rest of Kent (see a recent blog post on the topic), so Council asked the City staff to check with the CSX Railroad and ask if there was any chance to add a temporary rail crossing that would allow people to access Kramer fields until the bridge is re-opened.
Fair question, so we asked. Here’s what we learned.
The City’s Public Service Director and City Engineer contacted CSX to inquire into the possibility of obtaining the railroad’s permission to authorize a new at grade crossing to serve as a secondary entryway in the Kramer ballfields since the Redmond Bridge is currently out of commission.
The City Engineer reports that CSX said that their policies require a community to show that there is no other reasonable solution to access problems before even requesting a new at-grade crossing. If a community can demonstrate that there is no reasonable alternative then there is a process by which a community can petition CSX to consider a new at grade crossing.
The CSX representative explained that there are a series of policy and engineering criteria that a community must satisfy (none of which are easy or inexpensive) as part of the request but the most critical requirement is that the community must be willing to close a minimum of three existing at grade crossings in exchange for the new crossing. In order to close three existing at grade crossings we’d have to either close City streets with railroad crossings on them or build new bridges over the tracks — neither of which seem particularly viable.
Then, if a community can do all of these things, the request will officially be forwarded to a CSX New Crossings Committee for their consideration. The CSX representative noted that satisfying all of the criteria does not guarantee approval by the Committee it just makes the request eligible to be considered.
We were given the impression that CSX policies strongly discourage any new at-grade requests and the timeline for considering such requests is usually multi-year.
The feedback we got from CSX was pretty clear and I don’t believe that a new at grade crossing is going to be feasible for secondary access into Kramer fields.
It never hurts to ask but unfortunately this time we didn’t get the answer we were hoping for.