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Letters: Views on LIRR crash and crossings

Workers with the rerailed LIRR train involved in

Workers with the rerailed LIRR train involved in the fatal crash at Westbury. Credit: Todd Maisel

Eliminating street-level train crossings is a long-term, expensive endeavor. A simple short-term, inexpensive way to cut down on horrific crashes like the one on Feb. 26 is to replace flimsy gates with more sturdy ones and replace the two short gates with long ones [“Fatal collision,” News, Feb. 27].

Carla Wanzer,

West Hempstead


It isn’t every day that I compliment the Long Island Rail Road, but I must say the workers did an outstanding job of getting service restored on the Main Line after the fatal collision on Feb. 26. I was amazed to see that the westbound platform of the Westbury station was back in operation with trains running the afternoon of Feb. 28 after such a horrific accident and tremendous damage. Congratulations on a great job.

Harold Rinder,



Often we read news of the day with less than positive reactions.

But then we read the moving article by Craig Schneider [“Priority 1: get trains moving,” News, March 2] about the men who worked in sub-freezing weather to repair the LIRR disaster in Westbury. It was written with compassion about unsung heroes of our community.

Thank you for bringing this to us.

Edna Ritzenberg,



Just read “Focus on safety at crossings” [News, March 3]. Once again, tragic loss of life somehow once again is labeled an accident. Why the shock? Why the anger at the LIRR?

This was no accident. An accident at a train crossing is when the car or truck’s engine fails and leaves the vehicle stranded on the railway. An accident is when you wait patiently at the crossing and get hit from behind by a distracted driver and your car is pushed onto the tracks.

Here we have a situation where the driver of the obliterated car was foolish enough to think he is not subject to the laws of the road, nor the laws of physics. Not only did he make his first mistake by apparently trying to evade responsibility in a hit and run, but he also drove over the rail tracks compounding his questionable behavior.

“Eliminate all the grade crossings” is the response instead of “let’s make sure drivers are trained better before they are allowed to drive.” Or if not that, then at least let’s raise the consequences for doing stupid things on the road. Let’s impound the car, let’s levy a $5,000 or $10,000 fine for doing that.

If losing one’s life is not an adequate deterrent, then maybe a hit to their wallets and bank accounts will get these people to obey the rules or maybe we can all benefit from just taking them off the road to begin with.

Eugene Artemyeff,

Glenwood Landing


When I was in Ireland more than 20 years ago, I picked up on something.

I was at a railroad crossing when I noticed the gates dropped on all four sides and a steel meshed barrier hung below so no vehicle can get through at a decent speed. Maybe this wouldn’t work on Long Island, I thought then, because of emergency vehicles needing access to pass the crossing.

However, something needs to be done now at least temporarily. We can’t wait almost 17 years, like the Herricks Road crossing, for permanent solutions at every crossing. We have to think outside the box for a temporary solution before sitting through years of committees and appropriations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and local governments.

Come up with a gate solution first, then dig underpasses or build bridges.

Patrick Tierney,

West Babylon


In reading comments by MTA board member Mitchell Pally on the choice the authority has about using or not using some $400 million on grade-crossing-elimination projects, it seems there was no mention of the feasibility of adding four-quadrant gates to the more dangerous crossings in the LIRR system.

The gates block the roadway from all four corners of the crossing, eliminating the route vehicles can take around the gates. They would create a more resolute barrier than the present two-arm gates that leave the opposing lanes open to anyone wanting to drive around them, and cost an already cash-strapped MTA much less than moving an entire roadway or track bed.

Marek W. Jaworski,



You gotta be kidding me with the money the higher-ups want to spend to make railroad crossings safer on Long Island.

I’m gonna save everyone a lot of money, time and delay. Just put up a sign that says “DANGER DO NOT CROSS A TRAIN IS COMING!”

Hell of a lot cheaper.

Anthony Tanzi,

Mastic Beach