Tuesday night at the Irvington Council Meeting it was mentioned for the umpteenth time that nothing is happening with the Pennsy Trail on the east side because CSX won’t officially “abandon” their rail line between Post Road and Cumberland.
That huge chunk of unused, over-grown, and currently unusable rail line would put the Pennsy Trail on par with the Monon in distance and connectivity. I think we can all agree the Monon Trail has been nothing but a force for good on the north side. Property values and market forces reflect that, it’s usage reflects that, and the kind of urban development that is unique and special built near reflects that. The east side deserves that, too, and CSX won’t play ball. This is what gives capitalism a bad name. But luckily, this can also be the saving grace if pressure is applied in the right places.
So how bad is it? CSX is refusing meetings with the City, the Mayor’s office, Congressman Carson’s office, and now they’re ignoring Senators Young and Braun.
To make matters worse, Indianapolis has the money to develop the trail. As infrastructure goes, bike and pedestrian paths are cheap, durable, and easy. It’s a lot of ROI for an area even if you scoff at the idea as being downright pedestrian.
But Indianapolis is going to lose the money to develop it this year. It has to get spent and if not, we’ve lost our window. CSX is not only annoying people all over the city and state with their 20+ minute crossing delays, but now they’re costing the City hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention any potential property value increases from the Trail.
To move forward, CSX has to sign papers to officially declare the line “abandoned”, then the City can scoop it up and put down a little pavement. But they aren’t willing to do so.
So what’s the City to do? Local leaders haven’t been shy about saying why the trail is floundering. They just haven’t been very loud about it. And they’ve not been keen to point out this fact:
CSX has a handy ethics complaint line. You can find details here: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/26907/index.html
And you can call here: 1-800-737-1663.
If you’re under the age of 40 you may find the phone terrifying, so I’ve written a handy script you can cite on the phone with them:
“Hey, CSX should stop being a onerous jerk. So make like your trains on the east side on Michigan and New York streets and freaking stop.
Sign the papers to declare your rail line south of Washington Street between Post Road and Cumberland abandoned.”