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Hamburg, Erie County at crossroads, literally, over railroad quiet zones

You could look at it as Erie County walking a mile, or 2.4 miles, in Hamburg’s shoes.

Hamburg does not want to own and maintain 2.4 miles of county roads to install railroad crossing zones on two county roads in the town.

And Erie County does not want to be stuck maintaining the old Route 219 bridge over Cattaraugus Creek gorge with Cattaraugus County on the former state road in the Town of Concord. A story in The Buffalo News outlined the feud between the two counties and New York State over maintaining the 652-foot long bridge.

Two different situations, but Hamburg’s supervisor sees a connection.

“I find that interesting,” Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters said Monday night. “It sounds very similar to what is going on here.”

Hamburg still has no agreement with Erie County to install quiet railroad crossing zones on Pleasant Avenue and Lake View Road. The county does not want the quiet zones on its roads, and wants to convey part of the roads to the town.

Quiet zones are crossings where trains do not blow their horns because channeling devices keep cars from driving around lowered gates. The town made an agreement with the county to own and maintain part of Rogers Road last year, and a quiet zone was installed there last summer.

The county first wanted the town to take over about 4 miles of roads, then 9.5 miles, and now it’s down to about 2.4 miles on Pleasant and Lake View.

Councilman Michael Quinn took over negotiations with the county, but he said at Monday night’s meeting there was nothing new to report. He said Highway Superintendent Tom Best would meet with county representatives, and Quinn would like to have the Town Board make a decision at its next board meeting.

The town has money left over from installing the quiet zones on Rogers and Cloverbank roads last year for three more zones on Pleasant, Lake View and town-owned Bayview Road.