Rebecca FernandezFeb 1, 2018, 2:29 pmFeb 6, 2018, 2:05 pm

Brookhaven to sue LIRR over railroad crossings in Shirley

Town officials claim rail system has failed to follow up request to add more intersections

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SHIRLEY — Brookhaven is the most populated town in Suffolk County with more than 50,000 people living in just Shirley and Mastic Beach. The town also experiences heavy congestion on the roads.

To make matters worse, about 20 streets right around the Shirley Long Island Railroad station don't cross the tracks and just become dead ends.

The village has three roads that residents can actually cross the railroad tracks, and many say that this is definitely a safety hazard for the whole town.

"If there’s a storm, or anything wrong, these three ways to cross the tracks is the only way we can do it. It has been a disaster. In fact, I'm to the point now that I want to move out of Shirley simply due to that. Too much of a headache," said Shirley resident Andrew Northcutt.

Now Town of Brookhaven officials say they will be suing the LIRR because they say the rail system has failed to follow up on the town's request to add more grade crossings in Shirley.

“At some point, you can only ask so long. We’re going to go to court and we’re going to hope that administrative law judge will grant us the relief that we need,“ said Brookhaven Councilman Dan Panico.

The town has requested for the LIRR to create at least two more crossings in the South Shore area, but LIRR spokesperson Aaron Donovan released a statement saying no due to safety reasons. The statement reads:

"Railroad crossings present safety challenges for motorists and pedestrians, and require the sounding of train horns that, along with traffic backups, bells and flashing lights, can disturb neighbors. For safety reasons, the LIRR opposes the creation of new railroad crossings anywhere along our tracks."

"They’re an inconsistent no. It's infuriating. It's sad because they also work for the same residents that we do, and their inflexibility and this uniform policy is holding back this area. It doesn't make sense to anyone who lives here," Councilman Panico said.

The Town of Brookhaven is asking the LIRR to change their mind and take action.

"We have a great town here. We have a large town here, great economy here, there’s absolutely no reason why citizens should be suffering just to cross a railroad track," Northcutt said.

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