Scott Gordon, NBC 5 News
The City of Fort Worth says it is working on a solution to trains blocking entry into neighborhoods for several hours. While residents are concerned about parked trains blocking access to their Fort Worth neighborhood, first responders say it's not an issue and they have plan to get around the problem.
The City of Fort Worth announced on Monday a project that would permanently open a neighborhood near downtown that routinely gets cut off by parked trains that block public streets.
The plan would extend Live Oak Street from 3rd Street to 4th Street, avoiding any rail lines.
The announcement came one day after NBC 5 reported that the small neighborhood of about 20 homes is frequently blocked by trains — sometimes for hours at a time.
Pregnant women and children crawl under the train to leave the neighborhood. Residents also worry about police, firefighters or paramedics getting into the area in an emergency.
"There's no reason why anyone should have to crawl over train tracks or crawl across trains to get in or out of their neighborhood,” said city spokesman Jason Lamers. "The real solution is getting an exit and entry into that neighborhood without a railroad crossing and that's what the city is working on."
He said the project already had been funded and city leaders are in the process of buying land needed to expand the street.
Resident Ruben Flores welcomed the announcement but said residents are worried the project will never be completed.
"That would be great if it happens. But that's a big 'if' -- if it does happen," he said. "If it does, great, everybody can get home and get to school and work safely."
Union Pacific owns and manages the tracks.
The railroad supports the city’s project, said UP spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza.
The neighborhood is near one of the biggest train interchanges in the country. A $100 million project known as Tower 55 is aimed at improving the congestion and should be completed by the end of September, Espinoza said.