Town hall meeting held to discuss 7th St. railroad crossing

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Dozens of concerned Wichita Falls attended a town hall meeting Saturday to bring awareness to a railroad crossing they say is dangerous to pedestrians.

Wichita County Action Network, WeCAN, held the discussion at Booker T. Washington Elementary. The goal of the non-profit is to identify issues and take action by building relationships with the city and the community. The first issue they chose to address is the railroad crossing on 7th Street, the busiest railroad crossing in the city.

The railroad crossing also divides the city's east side to its downtown.

Some attendees said they were shocked to learn it is still an issue.

"I think it's past due time to do something about the railroad crossing," Cassandra Harris said.

Some said they saw the meeting as a step in the right direction.
 
"It really got me excited, to be honest," Rev. Andre Waits, the Anderson Chapel pastor said. "I've been looking for some activities to get involved in."

Earlier this year, WeCAN members presented their issues to city and BNSF Railway officials. BNSF Railway owns the crossing. The members gave them possible solutions like where to move to place an over or underpass and a sidewalk for pedestrians.

Lin Barnett, the city's MPO Director said, the city will wait for TxDOT engineers run scenarios and tests to help them determine the most cost-effective solution.

"From what I heard in that meeting, it could be anywhere from ten to 15 years before anything major can happen at that crossing," Barnett said.

"It's going to take the support from WeCAN, possibly from TxDOT, other entities to make this happen," Joseph Faust, BNSF Regional Director, said. "We're going to explore everything. It's not going to be a really, really quick fix."

WeCAN will meet at the YMCA 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. It is open to the public.

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