How Long Can Trains Block Roads In Louisiana?
A few years ago, I had multiple run-ins with trains on Bossier City roads. I was getting stopped on Bossier roads over and over. The stoppages weren't short either, the shortest might have been 10 minutes. There were some that got to the 30 minute range, and unfortunately there aren't a lot of ways to get out of these situations, unless all the other driver's around are on the same page.
But the most infuriating thing about these Bossier City stoppages is that the trains aren't just rolling by, they're literally stopping in the middle of the road.
So at that point, I figured there had to be a law to prevent this. I mean, what if an ambulance needs to get through to save a life, or a house is on fire and the fire trucks are stuck? In those scenarios, every single second matters. So even if a first responder has to take an alternative route to avoid the train stopped in the road, someone could die. These trains may be killing people.
But when I researched the information, I found some issues.
Local laws say that a train cannot stop traffic for more than 20 consecutive minutes. But that doesn't matter at all. Trains can block Bossier roads as long as they please. Because federal law prevents any of the local laws from being enforced...at least according to multiple sources.
We've known about this issue for years, but it's apparently getting worse. KTBS reports that recently trains have been sitting idle on Bossier roads for up to 8 hours without moving. The interviewed multiple people who have been personally impacted by these issues, including a local business manager.
KTBS heard from Ali Ali, the Manager at Sam's Wireless on Barksdale Boulevard, who told them:
"They've got to find a way to fix this. Because it stays not for 15 minutes, 20 minutes. It's here 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 hours, 8 hours. I remember one time it was hear from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. when we closed. You want us to make a living? How?"
When KTBS looked into the same laws I had previously researched, they came to the same conclusion, literally nothing can be done. They contacted Bossier City Police about it, and Lieutenant Bart Cavanaugh verified that Federal Law prevents any local laws from being enforced.
This whole thing is unfortunate for multiple reasons. The train stoppages are harming local businesses, hurting the daily commutes of local residents, putting a bad image of our area into the minds of visitors, and potentially killing people (due to first responder response times).
Bossier City has apparently been trying to find a solution since before the last time we reported on this situation, which was years ago. There's still not a solution, and the ideas on the table now would still be years away. Much like all of the traffic issues in Bossier, leadership likes to talk about it, pay for studies, and pretend to care...but ultimately do nothing.
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