Concern over the roughness of the railroad crossing that dissects East F Street in downtown Oakdale has prompted some citizens to get involved in hopes of smoothing out the problem.
“After some discussions with city management at a recent meeting of the Burchell Hill Neighborhood Watch, we have launched a campaign to pressure Union Pacific to consider upgrading the rough rail crossing at East F Street,” said Neighborhood Watch spokesman Mike Hancock. “We have put information out on Nextdoor to ask citizens to call the Union Pacific Railroad Rough Crossing Hotline and complain about the condition of the crossing.”
Hancock said he also spoke with Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer about their plans and ultimate goal.
“He applauded our grassroots effort,” Hancock said.
This is a portion of the message the group placed on Nextdoor, which went out to over 2500 Oakdale users:
“The railroad crossing on East F Street, by the main intersection, has been very rough for years. Union Pacific Railroad has ignored the few requests they have received to fix the crossing. In a recent meeting with the city, we were advised that if many residents would complain to Union Pacific it might encourage them to take some action. If you feel the crossing needs improving to reduce the wear and tear on our vehicles, reporting the rough crossing by calling the Union Pacific Rough Crossing Hotline might help.”
Hancock added that it’s easy to call and report the rough crossing; it is an 800 number so there is no cost to the caller. Call 1-800-848-8715 and press ‘3’ at the prompts, until you can leave a message with the agent. The railroad crossing number is 753093B; providing that information will allow Union Pacific officials to keep track of the number of complaints received about that specific crossing.
With the effort underway for the last couple of weeks, Hancock said he had received reports from many residents that they have been calling but there hadn’t been any response from the railroad.
That prompted Hancock to contact the railroad again himself this week, requesting information on the local supervisor.
“They gave me the name of the local UP supervisor who is responsible for our area,” Hancock said, adding that he was able to get through to the supervisor, Fernando Perez, and speak to him directly.
“Surprisingly, he had not heard about any complaints about this crossing. So I explained the situation and he said he would take a look at the crossing and provide me with some feedback,” Hancock said.
Residents are asked to continue making phone calls as they attempt to get corrective measures taken at the crossing. Hancock said he is also hopeful that the contact made with the supervisor will prove beneficial. Another avenue may be to send letters directly to Union Pacific headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.
“We intend to keep the pressure up until we see some sign that they are interested in discussing the problem and finding a solution,” Hancock said.