WIDOWER OF WOMAN KILLED AT VALHALLA TRAIN CROSSING IN 2015 STILL FIGHTS FOR SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS
Little has been accomplished in the 8 years
We have just created an online petition asking for safety improvements
This February marks the 8th anniversary of the infamous tragedy when Ellen Brody, 49, mother of three girls, was struck in her SUV by an MTA train at the Commerce Street crossing in Valhalla. Five additional lives were lost and many others injured that horrible day on Feb 3, 2015. Ellen was an amazing woman, friend and an asset to our community who is missed by those who had the good luck to know her.
There was plenty of media attention after the accident. Elected officials, transit officials and others promised to address the problem and to make the crossing safer. According to Alan Brody, former Edgemont resident and husband of Ellen, little has been accomplished since. The crossing remains unsafe.
He writes, “The accident took place in a heavily congested situation, something that we are seeing again, post-Covid. As for improved signage, lighting or avoidance technology, all the railroads have done is persuade Google to add a railroad crossing warning to Waze. Additionally, the MTA evaded legislation sponsored by State Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman Abinanti ordering them to review each crossing for safety by sending out a generic discussion of safety procedures without producing any improvements. That’s about it – along with repainting the road surfaces.”
Alan Brody, who asks, in light of a recent collision – luckily with no injuries -- at the Virginia Road crossing, “is this the most dangerous line in the wealthiest suburbs?”, proposed the following safety measures which he hopes will get more attention and action:
1. Fail safe technology that forces trains to slow down or stop if there is anything on the tracks.
2. Improved lighting including strobe lighting
3. Improved signage - especially the addition of standard highway signage instead of the historical railroad signage which fewer people understand today
4. Ballards in the medians at all crossings to make it clear this is a crossing and so cars can't go around the gates.
There is an online petition to implement these changes, which you can urge the governor, state legislators and Metro North to put into action, by signing your name here: https://www.change.org/CommerceStcrossing. It's my hope that Metro North, state, county and local lawmakers will give this dangerous crossing the attention it needs. We don't want another fatality.
Brody notes that the only person compensated by the MTA for this case is the engineer, who is alleged to have sped up after first seeing an object on the tracks that turned out be Brody’s SUV. The victims are suing the MTA and the case is likely going to trial sometime this year. Memorials and appeals to improve safety will take place on February 3rd.
For more information contact: WRST Phone contact: Philip Russotto 212-986-7353; Alan Brody (914) 484-1401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor