Alluding to Amtrak's position that the fences are needed for public safety, Jen Crawford, chair of the Germantown Waterfront Advisory Committee told the crowd about the current practice when people are down by the river, "When we hear a train coming, we yell 'TRAIN!' That's how we keep each other safe." A little later, when a train was heard approaching, the crowd yelled "TRAIN!" and held up their signs toward the train as it sped by. Crawford assured the crowd the protest wasn't against the train. "I want the train to be here," she said, "but I also want the train to let me be here."
Former Germantown supervisor George Sharpe called for people "to come together in a bipartisan way," declaring, "We do not want to lose access to our 'poor person's park.'" He recalled that twenty-five years ago, there were no protected crossings, and Amtrak resisted local governments' requests for them to be installed. He maintained, "The path to continued safety is to leave things alone."
Several of the speakers stressed the need for public meetings in the affected communities and reminded those gathered at the rally that the public comment period would end on May 1. Comments by email should go to email@example.com, with the subject line "F-2018-0060." Comments can also mailed to:
New York State Department of State
Office of Planning
Development & Community Infrastructure
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
Jennifer Benson, outreach coordinator for Riverkeeper, urged people in their comments "to write about what the river means to you."
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