Rail Corridor Street Closings Sent Back for ‘Do Over’

Dane County Judge says OCR did not fully explain decision

A Judge has asked the Office of the Commissioner of Rail Roads to reexamine his ruling to close crossings at Livingston and Brearly Streets.

A Judge has asked the Office of the Commissioner of Rail Roads to reexamine his ruling to close crossings at Livingston and Brearly Streets.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi has remanded the City of Madison’s appeal of the closing of two rail road crossings at Livingston and Brearly Streets. State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale¬†had ruled last year that the two crossings should close to address safety concerns. The City contended that there hadn’t been an accident in 40 years and the closures would substantially inhibit traffic flow on the Near East Side

In an email to various City officials City Attorney Steven Brist wrote that Judge Sumi asked the commissioner to re-examine his decision, and added some instructions. The commissioner is to fully explain his reasoning to increase the number of street closures to two, from the one recommended by a hearing examiner in February 2012.

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Wrong Track

City to appeal and maybe litigate decision to close isthmus rail crossings

This siding feeds the MG&E coal plant on south Livingston Street. The utility is also opposed to the closing of the rail crossings.

The only people that may be happy about the decision by State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale to close two isthmus rail crossings was Wisconsin & Southern Railroad which operates the tracks, and Union Pacific Railroad which owns them.

For everyone in the City who travels, lives, or works near this 1.06 mile stretch of track, it was a nonsensical decision for Plale to also close Brearly Street after earlier this year Hearing Examiner Douglas S. Wood had recommended only closing Livingston Street.  Continue reading