State Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redecker will be in Fairfield tonight to answer questions from Metro North commuters on why rail service has deteriorated and what the proposed fixes are. The event is being held by the Connecticut Citizens Transportation Lobby and moderated by the League of Women Voters. Officials expect questions about failing gate crossings, increased commuting times, power problems and other safety issues.
The event tonight is at Pequot Library in the Southport section of Fairfield. The forum is from 7:30 to 9pm.
A Bethel resident has started a petition calling for warning signs on both sides of the train tracks on Greenwood Avenue. The petition on Change.org says the signs would warn oncoming cars that the crossing gates are not working and to proceed with caution. It also calls on Metro North to fix the signal system. The petition as of midday Monday had 186 signatures. The problem with the gates has been happening along the Danbury branch since upgrades have been made to electrify the line.
A Wilton state Representative has started a petition calling on Metro North to change the first train from Danbury to Grand Central back to a through train. The 5:36am weekday train now has commuters transferring at South Norwalk for continued service to New York. Representative Gail Lavielle says commuters have been telling her that the train is making their commutes up to three hours long causing them to be late for work. She is asking the state Department of Transportation Commissioner to intervene because only one door opens for passengers to exit the train to walk a long distance to connecting service, sometimes missing the connection.
Meanwhile, the new leader of Metro North has met with Governor Dannel Malloy, who called the talks a frank discussion. Malloy says the lack of communication from the railroad with commuters has created a level of mistrust. Metro North President Joseph Giulietti says they are working on a 100 day plan to turn things around.
Connecticut and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have agreed to establish an independent review before work is done on power or electrical lines to avoid outages similar to what disrupted Metro-North Railroad last September.