In The Mail

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Let’s postpone putting railroad crossing on ballot


You say underpass. I saw overpass. Let’s call the whole thing off.

In reality, I am less concerned about what type of railroad crossing we build in  Livingston, than I am about where it is built. There is a serious problem regarding where some want to construct it that would have serious negative, irreversible  impacts on our community for years to come.

The Livingston city manager and perhaps the City Commission seem intent on locating this crossing two and a half miles west of town near Printing for Less. And extending Front Street to this site at a cost of over $15 million. Where infrastructure goes, so goes development.

We are currently in the process of crafting a new growth policy for the city which will articulate our vision for the future of our town, and identify the character and pattern of that growth. Over a thousand people have engaged in related public meetings, discussions, surveys and through personal comments.

What the planners who are assembling this growth policy are hearing, is that we all acknowledge that we are going to grow. But we want to make certain that growth occurs in a thoughtful, well-planned manner that preserves our unique community character, maintains the health of downtown, creates walkable, traditional-style neighborhoods, and doesn’t sprawl out into our precious open spaces.

Massive residential and commercial sprawl which would undoubtedly be the result of an overpass and expanded infrastructure near PFL, would undermine all of these worthy goals. And it would be the exact opposite of what many people want to see.

I say, let us — the citizens of Livingston — complete our new growth policy, and use that to determine where and how we grow. Moving forward with some consulting engineer’s plans for a railroad crossing and road and sewer extensions — all paid for with our hard-earned tax dollars — is putting the cart before the horse. Not to mention an insult to everyone who has taken the time to engage in the growth policy process.

Please tell the City Commissioners to postpone putting this crossing on the November ballot, at least until we have completed our vision for the future. Not the vision of consultants.

Dennis Glick