Council reverses action on RR crossings (for now)

During a Mar. 31, 2022 Special meeting, the Forney City Council met to hold an open forum, again consider Project Umbrella. (watch official video) Watch Video

  • Public Comment
    • Speaking against the proposed closure of Elm and Center RR crossings (often in very frank terms) were:Nate Dettmer, Former councilperson Mike Thomas, former Mayor Mary Penn, former Fire Chief Rick Townsend, RJ Avery, Cecil Stewart, David Rain, Joe Dan McBeth, Ann Enloe, Terry Piper, Wende Hawthorne, Constable Jason Johnson, Connie Jo Ivy, Gail Lief, Pamela Presley.

  • Council moved to enter executive session, then approved allowing the audience to participate, then moved to exit executive session.
          The HEB Rep was then invited to answer questions: he said council had the exact same information as before.  The traffic counts in question were from TxDOT, from studies in 2018/19, and were provided to them by the city.  Mr. Traylor asked if HEB was willing to make any concessions about the crossing; he replied "we believe the crossing is necessary" and they need to talk about what's happening at 548/1641.  He said the (traffic) numbers were at peak hours, it's published information.  Mr. Traylor said almost 20 people just spoke to say they want HEB, but aren't willing to close 2 downtown crossings.  The Rep said "we understand the feelings of the citizens here, and we will take it under advisement" and that they have to make decisions appropriate for their business.
          There was then a motion to reconsider the previous meeting motion to approve the writing of a letter to close the two crossings.  Mayor Lewis related that council members have talked with Congressman (Gooden) to "get some push" for UPRR to reconsider the 3-to-1 closure requirement.  She believes headway is being made, and they need more time to make better decision.  Ms. Salgado said, now that they possibly have other options, should pause.  Mayor Lewis asked FD Chief Briggs to speak (over the procedural objections of Mr. Traylor), who said he's not in favor of closing the 212 crossing, it will be an entry point for emergency responses, closing it would add 2 miles to a trip.  He supports action to take a deep breath, explore all options, and make a decision good for all.  Fire trucks don't use Elm and Center crossings.
  • The motion to reconsider the prior meeting motion to approve the letter for the offer of closing two crossings was approved.
  • Adjourned at 1924.
Thursday, 2022, March 31