Tuesday, February 09, 2016

K & I: It's like a litmus test for prejudice ... and it's got hazmat, too.

It remains difficult to for me to fathom the disgruntlement in some quarters expressed at renewed calls for the K & I to be converted into a shared use path.

Broken Sidewalk properly reiterates: "It’s time to open the K&I Bridge to pedestrians and cyclists."

A future K & I shared-use path? It's "not a priority for One Southern Indiana" unless Norfolk Southern can move the bridge to River Ridge.

Or this one from 2013.

A report on the history of the K & I Bridge.

... (Steven R.) Greseth's extensive legal research (he readily concedes it is neither legal advice nor legal opinion) succeeds in asking a whole different set of questions, which might be boiled down to this: How many, if any, of a century's worth of legal obligations is the present-day owner of the K & I now obliged to uphold?

Huckabee-voting Louisville East End suburbanites bash the notion of potential expenditures to assist mobility and interconnected neighborhoods, preferring to reserve transportation subsidies for their own auto-centric sprawl.

New Albanians are terrified that ISIS-colored refugees are in Portland, just waiting for a footpath to launch attacks on Dewey Heights.

Portlanders exactly say the same, only in reverse.

All of it remains purely theoretical, and yet already social media experts are debating policing levels, surveillance against chicanery, and all the other details barely mentioned when the Big Four's conversion was lauded as a victory for modernity.

Then there's the entity that should be on the nationalization chopping block, Norfolk Southern. Frequent blog reader A was struck by this passage in Marcus Green's WDRB article.

"Norfolk Southern's K & I Bridge exists today for a single purpose -- to provide safe transport for freight trains over the Ohio River,” (spokesman Dave) Pidgeon said in a statement. “NS generally does not support recreational trails next to active rail lines because of serious safety concerns, and we remain focused on providing safe, efficient and reliable freight transportation to our customers in Louisville and southern Indiana."

The railroad acknowledges that some want the span open to the public, but “ultimately the K&I Bridge is privately owned and operated for the single purpose of safely moving freight trains which carry ... both hazmat and non-hazmat cargo,” Pidgeon said. “We not only have safety concerns about public access along active right-of-way but also serious, prohibitive concerns about security and liability.”

Our reader brings the hammer down:

Perhaps someone could remind Norfolk Southern spokesperson Dave Pidgeon that the “both hazmat and non-hazmat cargo” already passes through both New Albany and Portland and Crescent Hill and St. Matthews and Anchorage ... That's a piss-poor reason to suggest folks can't walk the bridge. The railroad"s "hazmat and non-hazmat cargo” already passes within a very few feet of homes and children's bedrooms along the rail right-of-way.

It would be almost as interesting to know the contents of Norfolk Southern's hazmat cargo as it would the lead content of Indiana American's water supplies.

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