The condition and maintenance of local railroad underpasses was brought to the attention of City Council last week.
East Albert Avenue resident Juana Flores approached the governing body during the public comment portion of its Aug. 14 regular and combined meeting.
The East Hazelwood Avenue underpass in particular was a concern to Flores, who pointed out low-hanging wires above the sidewalk, but also raised the issue of pigeon droppings and other issues pedestrians might face while crossing beneath the tracks. All of the underpasses downtown, but especially the one on East Hazelwood Avenue, need maintenance, she said.
The railroad tracks are the dividing line between east and west portions of city streets, crossing over Inman Avenue, Hazelwood Avenue, Emerson Avenue, Milton Avenue, Cherry Street, Irving Street, Main Street, Grand Avenue, and Scott Avenue.
The downtown Rahway Train Station underwent significant renovations by NJ Transit in 1999. Amtrak owns the tracks, sharing them with NJ Transit. The city doesn’t have jurisdiction over the railroad tracks or underpasses, officials said they’ve been pushing Amtrak to get work done.
The railroad tressels are owned by Amtrak and the only one that is owned by NJ Transit — which is the only one that’s clean — is the one crossing over New Brunswick Avenue, according to City Administrator Cherron Rountree. She said she has four years’ worth of emails fighting with Amtrak about the overpasses and a packet of information is being sent to the federal railroad agency shortly.
To the best of her knowledge, Rountree said the downed wires likely were the result of a car accident and PSE&G has been contacted about the situation.
The issues will persist until Amtrak makes repairs because the city can’t go in on its own for safety reasons, she said. Rountree hopes that the attention and correspondence might light a fire under Amtrak to address the situation.