10/04/05 — Railroad wants to close Princeton street

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Railroad wants to close Princeton street

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on October 4, 2005 1:50 PM

PRINCETON -- Four streets cross the railroad in Princeton, and the railroad wants to close one of them. But which one is the question.

The Princeton town board wrestled with the issue during Monday night's monthly meeting but took no action.

Town Commissioner Eddie Haddock said the railroad wants to close Center Street. If the street were closed to vehicle traffic, then it also would be closed to pedestrian traffic. When a state Transportation Department official saw the number of children walking to Princeton School on the street, Haddock said he changed his mind. Haddock said the official, Paul Worley of Smithfield, then suggested closing Barden Street, the westernmost of the four crossings.

"We'd put all our eggs in one basket," Haddock said, noting that there would be three crossings within 750 feet, at Pine, Center and Pearl streets. "My concern is Barden Street."

Haddock said 12 members of the Princeton Rescue Squad use the Barden Street crossing to get to the squad building, which is next to the fire station, on West Dr. Donnie Jones Boulevard, or U.S. 70 Business. He said those members would have to go a half-mile further to the next crossing on Pine Street or two miles further to use U.S. 70 and then U.S. 70 Business.

Haddock also noted that a single train could block all the crossings.

Mayor Don Rains said the railroad's objective was to close one crossing so that it could increase the speed of its trains without a side effect for the public.

At the same time, Haddock said the railroad offered to improve the drainage along the line.

Rains said the drainage improvements would be expensive for the town without the railroad's help.

The mayor said the railroad now would put up a gate on Center Street if the town would maintain it. It also would up one at Barden Street, if the town would share the cost, paying $13,000, and also maintain it.

In other business, Mayor Rains announced that Town Clerk Marla Ashworth would be going on maternity leave and Assistant Clerk Kay Earp would fill in. The board also scheduled a public hearing at its Nov. 7 meeting on a proposed floodplain ordinance.