State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilman Robert Holden visited Edsall Avenue in Glendale this week to discuss the startling decay of the area that residents have noticed over the years.
Edsall Avenue extends just four blocks with a train track running parallel to houses where some residents have lived for decades. Many consider moving because of the issues they are facing now.
Luis Ross lives just 40 feet from the tracks and said the noise, among other things, has seriously affected his quality of life.
“We can’t sleep. Me and my wife were going to stay in a hotel one time because it was affecting my heart,” Ross said. “We’re tired. We either have to move out or tell somebody about this.”
The railroad that runs parallel to the street is leased by New York & Atlantic Railway Co. (NYA). The residents complain that at odd hours of the night, trains will come by and blare horns and slam the cars together. This creates incredible noise and shaking that some say is ruining the foundations of their homes.
Rosalyn Rosario, who lives off of Edsall Avenue, said she has cracks all over her house.
“I have cracks all throughout my house,” Rosario said. “Who is going to pay for that?”
In response to this, NYA said that though it was understandable that residents would be bothered by the noise, the horns are completely unavoidable.
“Audible warning devices are federally mandated to ensure the general public’s safety,” said NYA in a statement. “Rest assured that our train crews are not wantonly sounding horns for any other purpose than what is required by federal safety regulations. Safety is of paramount concern to NYA.”
The NYA had planned to come out to the meeting but canceled a couple of days before. In an email to a concerned resident, NYA reassured that they work closely with community leaders and elected officials to be a good neighbor.
“We have always been responsive to our neighbors’ quality-of-life concerns, including ongoing maintenance of the property within our control,” NYA said.
Holden said otherwise at the meeting, claiming he has had a hard time with the railway for years.
“The railroad has been historically unresponsive for decades,” Holden said. “We had a hole in the fence kids were getting into by Lutheran Avenue. It took three years for them to fix it.”
The reason loud disconnecting and connecting happens with the trains is because the freight yard does not have enough room.
“They’re using our backyards as their freight yard, which is not acceptable. We’ve been writing letters,” Holden said. “All we can do is complain; it’s a federal issue.”
NYA had said they recently realigned and replaced 650 feet of track to try and mitigate the noise issues. Residents appreciate the efforts made but are still struggling with their quality of life.
On top of the railway issues, residents complain of crime, illegal parking and garbage.
According to Victor Rodriguez, the newly developed homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue is bringing “undesirable” people to the tracks and street. The shelter is a short walk from Edsall Avenue.
“They come up this avenue and they just hang out here and walk the tracks,” Rodriguez said. “Between this area looking like a dump, it’s attracting all the undesirables.”
At the meeting, residents claimed they have seen a man masturbating on the street and another living in an unregistered van. Many unregistered vehicles line the street next to the railroad tracks.
“Everybody forgot about us. We pay the same taxes. We’re not asking for what hasn’t been done already,” Rodriguez said.
Addabbo said that he doesn’t know how residents put up with it. He also said that there are already laws in place to avoid these issues, but because of the current mayor, nothing is being done.
“It’s about enforcement. There are rules about dumping,” Addabbo said. “With this administration, the graffiti is back. The noise is back. All these quality-of-life issues [are] what my people are concerned about. It is about how you administer the police department.”
Addabbo encouraged people to take pictures of their houses if there are cracks or structural damage to their houses. He also said that it’s crucial for residents to call 311 or 911 with complaints. From there, Holden and himself would have traction with the 104th Precinct and proof that community members are unhappy.
Holden and Addabbo said they will be reaching out to the necessary agencies and look to meet back on Edsall to follow up with residents in about a month.