To the Editor:
Thank you for your coverage of our unfortunate situation here on Ferry Road in Nutten Hook. We fought for years against DOT attempts to close our road and take our houses through eminent domain. DOT said our grade crossing was unsafe (even though there had never been an accident at the crossing since the railroad was built,) and after years of study and hearings, they decided to make a huge investment in a crossing upgrade, installing state of the art equipment, including a safety traffic signal system that coordinates with Amtrak and CSX. The crossing which was safe before, is now safer than ever.
So how surprising it was to get a visit from Kinderhook Postmaster Kevin McDonnell last week, who informed me that effective immediately, and without public hearing or discussion, our mail delivery would be stopped immediately and permanently. I asked why, and his answer was that his carrier had “only” 37 seconds to cross the tracks after the traffic light turned green, until the light turned yellow. I could walk back and forth across the tracks a number of times in 37 seconds. It takes 3-5 seconds to drive across. I asked Mr. McDonnell if he had contacted DOT about extending the amount of time before the light changed. His answer was: “No that would take too long, I just decided to stop delivery.”
The Postal Service statement you mention has one particularly false and absurd comment: “The Postal Service also cited unsafe turnaround as a reason to stop mail service to Ferry Road ...There are many trucks and cranes in the area. This blocks the road at times and leaves no access to turn around.”
There was one crane on Ferry Road for exactly one day — May 21. It was doing flood mitigation work. (We were badly affected by Hurricane Sandy flooding.) The Stuyvesant Highway Department posted notices, and closed the road for that day only. I personally informed Postmaster McDonnell of this, one week in advance of the closing. There would have been no issue of unsafe turnaround- the road was totally closed, and we had no mail delivery that day.
Martin John Hutchinson
Nutten Hook, Stuyvesant