Advocate Editorial Board opinion: City should continue talks with Union Pacific
By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 15, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.
The city of Victoria agreed to close three crossings (at Main and Guadalupe streets, Sabine and Main streets, and Stayton Avenue and North William Street) in exchange for a future crossing when Ball Street is extended to Main Street.
Is Union Pacific Railroad bullying the city of Victoria?
Some had that feeling recently when the railroad forced the city to close three railroad crossings so it could have a crossing when it finishes the proposed Ball Street extension.
A sometimes arduous history exists between the city and railroad.
At a recent council meeting, City Councilman Tom Halepaska suggested the city move quickly to get a written agreement on the deal because of past difficulties with the railroad. He called previous dealings with railroad officials "miserable."
We don't think this agreement is a case of the city being bullied; it is a case of intersecting interests of a government and private business. Hands get dirty, but you give something to get something.
Railroad crossing closings should make sense in terms of safety, what's best for the city and plain old common sense. The city shouldn't feel it's forced to compromise if its interests aren't protected.
In this case, the three crossing closings make sense because there aren't high traffic counts and the proximity of other nearby crossings. We don't feel safety is compromised, either. And the city gets a value in return.
In the end, the city must keep working with the railroad, now and for future interests; after all, neither is going anywhere. So, we call on our leaders to keep protecting the interests of the city, as they so often do.
We don't want, as Mayor Paul Polasek said, the city to paint itself "into a corner."
Nothing good ever comes from that.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.