By DAVID LOPEZ
According to residents of Railroad Avenue, the potholes have become craters.
Railroad Avenue in San Benito has gained media attention over the immense potholes that have disturbed the daily lives of its residents, presenting various challenges, including preventing garbage trucks from entering and presenting a potential danger in emergency situations.
Railroad Avenue residents were present at Tuesday’s regular city meeting to hear what city officials had to say regarding an update on the conditions of the street.
Parks and Recreation director Art Garza presented the update, saying that the city opened discussions with Union Pacific, who own Railroad Avenue, since January 15, 2019 to deliberate on potential agreements to fix the troublesome potholes. The city did not receive communication from Union Pacific until April.
“[They] informed me that Union Pacific is not interested in selling the property, however they may consider a long term lease of their 25 foot right of way. [Their point of contact] was going to prepare a lease agreement with terms and conditions and send it our way. As of date, I have yet to receive it but will continue to follow up on it,” said Art Garza.
24-year-old Jesse Robles, whom one neighbor has referred to as “the voice of the road,” has been spearheading the effort to bring awareness and solutions to the community’s issue since the fall of 2018, using social media and community organizing techniques. Although he was not present at Tuesday’s meeting, he expressed satisfaction with the city’s statement.
“I feel like the city is really trying to do something. I honestly feel like they are doing as much as they can at this point,” said Robles. “In my opinion, I am really appreciative that we have their support.”
However, the residents present, who did not wish to comment on record, were dissatisfied with the city’s update, some saying they were back to square one.
Robles said, “They disagree because they have been thrown in the dark before, and for them it’s hard to gain that trust back in the city, but I feel that with the approach I am taking we do have the city on our side.”
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