Council member set to meet with CSX over Ortega train blockages

A city council member is pushing for action.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Just over 10 days ago, a CSX train blocked traffic in and out of the Ortega Hills neighborhood during rush hour. Now, a city council member says he's trying to take action to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Vandis Kent was one of the several hundred residents in his Ortega Hills neighborhood who was stuck for hours heading into Ortega Hills on June 22nd.

"It was extreme heat, sitting on the side of the road in a car sweating like crazy and here I am with a heart condition. I had to get out of the heat," Kent said.

"If somebody would have an emergency, whether it be pregnant and having to go to the hospital or maybe they had a heart attack and have to go to the hospital, they couldn't get out of their neighborhood," said Jacksonville city council member Jim Love.

A train blocking a neighborhood of 400 homes for two hours is unacceptable, Love said. That's why he says he's meeting with CSX to get one, hopefully two things done:

No. 1: Get a third exit in and out of the neighborhood.

No. 2: Reconfigure the train schedule, so trains don't get stuck during the time many people need to get in and out.

"I'd like to have them schedule it so we don't have this problem, but if we do I'd like to have that third exit because I believe that would he a good thing," Love said.

Kent's health issues got him thinking: What would happen to him or another resident if a train stopped an ambulance from entering?

"It is becoming a really big deal, especially for people needing to come in and out in an emergency," Kent said.

Council member Love says he'll be meeting with CSX Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

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