Chesapeake neighbors feel ‘railroaded’ by CSX and the city


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Neighbors in Chesapeake’s Cedar Grove Acres neighborhood took to the streets in protest Friday morning.

Next Tuesday, the only access point in or out of the neighborhood will be completely blocked for railroad work.

“Blacks are being railroaded again” one woman’s sign read.

“This is unacceptable — it’s really unacceptable,” Josephine Anderson said.

Anderson told most people who live in the neighborhood are over age 70.

That includes Carol Smith-Giles’ mother.

“[She] is 90 years old she’s been in the hospital like 45 days last year. I can’t have an incident happen on Tuesday,” Smith-Giles said.

The city assures 10 On Your Side emergency response vehicles will be staged inside the neighborhood during the closure from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but residents want more.

RELATED: CSX will close some railroad crossings in Hampton Roads for routine maintenance

“I guess what really sparked it all — the lack of communication,” Smith-Giles said.

Police handed out informational flyers door-to-door Friday morning, three days after residents noticed a flashing roadside sign. That started a wave of phone calls at city hall.

CSX Media Relations Representative Sheriee Bowman told that replacing railroad ties and asphalt in the area can take several days.

The work at this specific crossing should last for just 12 hours.

“We appreciate the public’s patience as we complete this work, which is critical to ensuring the safety of motorists using these crossings and a safe, reliable freight rail network,” Bowman added.

Smith-Giles said she is not satisfied with that response.

“No, ma’am. I’m not. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg but for right now we need a better solution for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday — whatever is going to be,” she said.

Long time residents say the city promised another access to the neighborhood — and it’s long-overdue.

“Let’s be for real, how you gonna pin people into a neighborhood? We pay taxes just like everybody else,” Anderson said.

WAVY reached out to the City of Chesapeake and a spokesperson said public works has looked into another access point, but with the railroad to the north, highway to the south and wetlands to the west, it’s just not feasible.

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