We applaud city commissioners Dave Waddington, Dan Kaman and Brian Crandall for going a step further on the city's rail underpasses.
The trio wants to close one of the two pedestrian walkways in the Hayes Avenue underpass. That way the city can limit the expense to repairing just one of the passageways, which have been dirty, run down and unsafe for years. That's a good idea for the short term, but those underpasses aren't going away anytime soon and there's no long- term plan.
How did this become a city problem? The rail underpasses are used by just one corporate citizen: Norfolk Southern Railroad. And when reporters ask they get the same reply: The rail company is responsible for maintenance and repair of the rail bridges.
Well, Norfolk Southern might be legally responsible, but the company is not being responsible in any way that seems to matter. Engineers have questioned the safety of the rail bridges, and pedestrians aren't safe using them.
The rail company has an obligation to provide an honest assessment and make upgrades that are needed. We believe Waddington, Kaman and Crandall should push that hard and get some rail funds to make needed repairs.