Railroad crossing near Sloss Furnaces causing issues for cyclists

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A railroad crossing near Sloss Furnaces has cyclists spinning their wheels. They’re hoping for a solution, after many say their bikes are getting stuck on the tracks. 

The Jones Valley Trail runs along Sloss Furnaces and ends just before you head into Avondale at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and 32nd Street South. 

The Freshwater Land Trust oversees the Red Rock Trail System which includes Jones Valley Trail. 

Right now, the Freshwater Land Trust is seeking feedback from riders and runners who use this route.

The non-profit is preparing to apply for a grant to design the expansion of the trail. 

“Crossing the railroad tracks is a safety issue, as you get closer to 41st Street in Avondale, just visibility gets darker, the road itself is fairly narrow, so we want to see an actual dedicated bike lane,” said Mary Beth Brown with the Freshwater Land Trust.

Some cyclists are hoping the fix will come sooner than later. 

Cyclist David Hogan tells CBS 42 the stretch of road is a safety hazard for both cyclists and drivers.

Hogan says in order for cyclists to get over the tracks without getting stuck, they have to cross over into the other lane.

“Even seasoned cyclists I’m a seasoned cyclists, many of us have DNA on those tracks,” said Hogan.

Hogan himself has fallen on the tracks, he’s hoping an extension of the Jones Valley Trail would make the road safer. 

“If we could come up with a way to get this extended and to be a pathway to a start of connecting all Birmingham neighborhoods, then you’d have a healthy way for people to get around,” said Hogan.

Cyclist Winston Young agrees that something needs to be done to make the road safer for everyone who uses the road.

“If I could have everything, I’d just have this trail that’s right here continue on to to the right of the tracks but otherwise I’d love some at least some signage to let cars know that we have to cross pretty much perpendicular have to go in the other lane,” said Young. 

The Freshwater Land Trust is working to receive grant funding to design a trail that would run roughly parallel to 1st Avenue South from 32nd Street eastward to 41st Street South. 

Brown tells CBS 42 as funding comes through the group is looking at two or two-and-a-half years to get the trail on the ground. She emphasized that this expansion project is a top priority for the group. 

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