Kalamazoo and railroad officials working to alleviate traffic delays caused by trains

Kalamazoo and railroad officials working to alleviate traffic delays caused by trains. (WWMT / SkyEye3)

Kalamazoo leaders are working to prevent future train derailments downtown after 15 train cars tipped over Tuesday morning.

While the downtown streets back open and free-flowing, city leaders are hoping continued talks with the Grand Elk Railroad will keep it that way, because traffic delays involving trains are not a new issue.

State Representative Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, said, "As Kalamazoo continues to grow, the traffic patterns that worked in the past need to change. So, we're going to have to find a real solution."

A picture from the Kalamazoo Public Library shows the city has been dealing with the headache of traffic delays involving trains since the 1970's and have been searching for solutions for decades.

A transportation study from 1980 shows the city once considered bridges, but the idea didn't get very far.

Hoadley said city leaders and rail officials are working to find solutions.

He said, "We are talking to folks at the railroad. They are aware of the inconvenience and they're doing their best to minimize it."

Kevin Lee with Maru Sushi hopes a solution is found before the train delays cut into downtown business.

Lee said, "There is times where we have people that are waiting at least 35-40 minutes in a line which backs up traffic into the downtown area and sometimes it can affect our business because then guests are like, alright let's go home because we were waiting for a train to go through.

Hoadley said rail officials are trying their best.

He said, "We started down a conversation about how to figure out delays and unfortunately, these are not quick projects so we are continuing that work moving forward."

The Grand Elk Railroad could not be reached because of the holiday, but they have apologized for the mess.

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