Albany’s Queen Avenue railroad crossing has long annoyed motorists because of the condition of the pavement and frequent delays. Now comes a new complaint: The length and volume of the air horn blasts of switch engine No. 1501.
If memory serves, these woodchip hopper rail cars got their new paint schemes — honoring the Oregon Ducks and the anti-drug DARE program — in about 2000 or before. And look at the colorful messes created by taggers in all the years since.
From time to time I’ve wondered about the speed that the Portland & Western’s freight trains maintain on the line down the middle of Albany’s Water Avenue. Now, based on some fortuitous data gathering, I have a pretty good idea.
For weeks there’s been heavy construction on the Portland & Western’s long trestle bridge across the Calapooia River and its floodplain outside Albany. The work is upgrading and strengthening the structure and will probably make it last many decades more.
Things have been quiet on my waterfront beat, but there’s stuff going on, mainly including the installation of a new and improved railroad crossing at Water Avenue and Hill Street, a main entrance to the Edgewater Village development.
The Oregon Transportation Commission is poised to approve a project to make Albany’s Queen Avenue railroad crossing safer and, for cars, smoother. But it won’t deal with traffic delays when the gates are down.
A day after the Albany City Council narrowly confirmed its longstanding commitment to an off-highway bikeway from Spring Hill to Scenic Drive, I got on my bike and took another look at how things are now.
There were never any good excuses for trucks hitting the trestle on Albany’s First Avenue, and as the video shows (after some wobbles inherent in one-handed videography while steering a bike) that’s even more true now that bright new flashing lights have been installed as an additional warning.