A battle is brewing in Crewville. After exacting revenge on Real Salt Lake for last year's playoff ouster with a slippery 1-0 win last Saturday at home, the Crew is preparing for a road showdown with the Seattle Sounders and former Columbus coach Sigi Schmid.
A battle is brewing in Crewville.
After exacting revenge on Real Salt Lake for last year's playoff ouster with a slippery 1-0 win last Saturday at home, the Crew is preparing for a road showdown with the Seattle Sounders and former Columbus coach Sigi Schmid.
That's not the clash I'm referring to, though.
CSX railroad police set up shop by the train tracks west of Crew Stadium to issue warnings to fans attempting to cross the tracks en route to Saturday's match. Crossing the tracks, which are the private property of CSX, is considered trespassing and is punishable by written citation and a fine of up to $250.
A likely cause for the heightened security measures: A man was severely injured after being hit by a train just north of the stadium on Tuesday, April 20. CSX representatives were unavailable at press time, so it's unclear whether they will continue vigilant enforcement and begin doling out tickets in upcoming weeks.
Numerous fans from the North Campus neighborhood have been crossing the tracks to get to Crew Stadium for years. The Hudson Street Hooligans supporters club usually marches from the Summit Street bar Ruby Tuesday up to East Oakland Avenue and across the tracks, as documented in the Alive 2008 video on Crew fan culture seen below.
The Hooligans are preparing to open a private club at the corner of Oakland and Summit - less than a five-minute walk to the stadium when crossing the tracks.
Blake Compton, part of the Hooligans leadership, said the prospect of a longer walk down to East 17th Avenue or up to East Hudson Street would deter fans from partying pre-game at the bars.
"The easiest way is across the railroad tracks," Compton said. "Obviously we completely understand the safety concerns. It is dangerous."
Hooligans leadership said they will discourage their members from crossing the tracks, though they can't account for the large number of unaffiliated fans that use that route to the stadium.
Compton said he would consider arranging a busing system to facilitate travel from the bars to the stadium. He dismissed the suggestion of building a footbridge over the tracks.
"We would have to spend quite a bit of money just to see if it's viable," Compton said. "I don't think the railroad company would be willing to do that without public pressure."