Suggestions for writing a comment letter

The Town of Germantown Waterfront Advisory Committee is organizing a letter writing campaign in response to a recent proposal from Amtrak to install gates and fencing around sections of the Hudson River waterfront owned by CSX. The proposal does not appear to propose closing existing vehicular crossings, though it does appear to restrict access to all sections north and south of the Town’s existing crossings at Lasher Park (the Anchorage) and Cheviot Park. New gates and fencing are also proposed in Stuyvesant, Stockport,  Germantown, Tivoli, Rhinebeck, and Rhinecliff.

The actual proposal can be found here: 17 pages !  The proposal

The public notice is here:

The public comment period began March 15. Please share your opinion, and share these instructions! Comments must be received before 4:30 pm March 29th.

Our committee believes that the waterfront is a vital link to the Town’s colonial past and a gateway to its future; it defines our identity as a Hudson River community that is a desirable place to live, work, and visit. Amtrak has indicated that the purpose of the proposal is to increase safety. Our committee also believes that if it’s not broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed; based on interviews with local law enforcement and first responders, there have been zero injuries and zero fatalities in at least the last 40 years that could have been prevented by the proposed access restrictions. We offer the following suggestions for commenting on Amtrak’s proposal:

  • In everything, be specific. Clearly state which impact you are addressing.
  • State who you are and who you are writing for: “I’ve lived in Germantown all my life and I’m writing for my family of five…”
  • Explain your interest(s): “I’ve been bird watching along the right of way(ROW) south of Lasher…”
  • If you or your family has used the ROW for many years, emphasize that: “My grandfather used to speak of learning to fish just south of what we now call Lasher, which must be sometime back in the 1930s…”
  • If you have a special need: “I love to fish but have limited mobility, and on the ROW between Lasher and Cheviot I can drive right up to my usual fishing spot…”
  • If you have contributed to the parks or the Amtrak ROW in some way: “I have participated in River Sweep for the last 8 years…”
  • If you have safety concerns, state them, but if your experience in the parks and in the ROW has been safe, please express that.
  • Sum it up: “We need more accessible Hudson shoreline, not less.”