For the last week or so, the railroad gates at the railroad crossing near my house have been acting as though they are possessed. The train stop is in the the Riverdale town center, which is as barren of business as Teli Savalis was of hair. It is also in a direct line home from work for me. Once again, the gates were acting nutty today and it took fifteen minutes to get across the tracks, though a single train was not in sight. When I got home, I was annoyed enough to compose a letter to the Mayor of Riverdale.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Dear Mr. Mayor:
Can anything be done about the ailing railroad gates at the town center? Several times in the last week, these things have been failing, opening and closing in a seemingly random fashion with no trains in sight. Traffic backs up. It takes me five minutes to go from P.G. Plaza Metro to the Riverdale town center–and then and additional fifteen minutes or more to creep forward and make my way across the tracks.
I suppose it would be an even bigger problem if there were actual businesses in the town center, as the traffic caused by these disruptions would clog the street and potential customers would not be able to get to the various businesses. Without customers these business would fail and the result would be a town center void of all business.
As it turns out (as I am sure you are well aware) the town center is a barren wasteland, void of virtually all business. Is it possible that the railroad crossing is to blame, and we are merely repeating a vicious cycle?
Since there are no businesses to tackle the problem, is there someone out there who can fight for the little people? Someone to whom the town can turn, who can talk to the railroad people? Find an electrician, perhaps, or any seven year old with a train set? Someone who can fix the problem?
It’s bad enough to hear the train whistles howling throughout the night. Do we now also have to sit in traffic, surrounded by our desolate town center, waiting for a phantom train that never seems to come? (I’m referring to the actual train–the phantom train is most certainly not intended as a metaphor for local business.)
I don’t know it will do much good, but I felt better writing it. I also managed to vent my frustration with our empty town center. It has been depressingly empty for four years now. I wonder if it has anything to do with that darned railroad crossing?