Often in the meetings with officials, there is a severe disconnect between what Union Pacific, BNSF and Kansas City Southern say residents are going through and what residents are actually going through.
Checkout stories from residents.
Some residents have to change their entire routes, risking car accidents to get around stopped trains.
I cannot pass at Cullen. Only way out is Polk Street. Many cars stopping and turning around making dangerous traffic maneuvers. Almost was hit at intersection by truck making illegal U-turn to speed around the train. This is happening at 5:30 p.m. during the evening rush hour.– East End Resident
School children, already impacted by a pandemic and hybrid learning, are unnecessarily impacted by blocked trains.
My child goes to Kipp and the traffic a blocked train causes is ridiculous. We constantly have to reroute to get her to school. If we don’t leave extra early we risk her being late.– East End Resident
Residents are having to resort to dangerous driving in order to get around stopped trains.
I have to make an illegal and dangerous left turn onto Navigation from Bastrop to get around the train– East End Resident
Residents’ mental health is suffering with the constant horn blowing – sometimes in areas where quiet zones are approved but Union Pacific will not put up the “no horn” signs.
Impacting ability to sleep. Between 2-3 AM and 5-6 AM, multiple trains with extremely loud and long horns.– East End Resident
Constantly waking up from sleep. Especially aggravating when horns are unnecessary. Many other neighborhoods have found solutions for this.
– East End Resident
Impact on those trying to utilize Uber and Lyft. This leaves out a whole section where drivers are unable to make the money they are working so hard for.
I can never request an Uber because they always get stuck behind trains. I always try to redirect them to an alternate route but it is too cumbersome if you are not familiar with the back streets. It is very frustrating because it has made me late to appointments. Thankfully, Uber did not charge me for a fee. I would’ve canceled the ride sooner for another Uber and attempt to try and make my appointment on time but this would have ended up in a cancellation fee. Frustrating.– East End Resident
HPD Chief Peña noted there were nearly 1400 incidents of first responders seeing delays, blockages and re-routes resulting in the delay of critical care for those in need. One resident saw it in action.
I noticed this ambulance trying to get by the stopped train, and they were having to weave through the neighborhood to find where the end of the train was. I’m fortunate to live in a place where an ambulance or fire truck can reach me without crossing any train tracks, but many other people in the area are not so lucky.”– East End Resident
Residents riding Metro are impacted as well.
“I was taking the Metro Bus Route #50 home from Hobby Airport. Since there was a blocked crossing the Bus Operator detoured from the route south down Hughes street. All intersections south of Polk were blocked with the stopped train (Polk, Leeland, Jefferson, Lawndale, and Telephone) so the Operator had to detour to the i45 Feeder until they reached the Eastwood Transit Centre to resume their route. This meant that 10 bus stops were not serviced on that route, leaving would be passengers waiting for their bus, or existing passengers to walk longer than if they could have gotten off at their stop. For me, it meant a 23 minute walk from the Transit Centre instead of a 5 minute walk from my closest bus stop. “
Horns are excessive to say the least. The inability to get a good night sleep has severe impacts on mental health. Horn blowing in a no-horn zone is abusing residents.
“Two nights in a row a train was stopped in the neighborhood and blew the horn all night long starting at 9pm and continuing through 6am. This is ridiculous. I don’t understand why the horn needs to be blown all night in a no blow zone.”