Give your input – Capital Blvd Corridor Redesign

Mark Your Calendar!  Public Design Workshop Scheduled for Capital Boulevard Corridor Redesign.

The public design workshop is scheduled for October 30, at the Carolina Trust Building, 230 Fayetteville Street, in the ‘Stockroom.’ 

As we’ve recently learned, the Capital Blvd redesign plan will need to accommodate the High Speed Rail plan and they should be integrated.    This workshop is an opportunity to give input into the overall  design. 

More information:

http://raleighnc.gov/home/content/PlanUrbanDesign/Articles/CapitalBlvdCorridorStudy.html

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September 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm Leave a comment

Now What?

Now that City Council has advanced both the NC3 proposal (through the Task Force recommendation)  and asked NCDOT to explore alternatives, we must turn our focus to the DOT and ask them to do the right thing:

1) Take NC3 off  the table! 

As Norfolk Southern’s recent letter clearly explained, there are too many inconsistencies in the EIS, the Task Force process and missing data — much less the eminent domain issues — for this to be a viable option.  

2)  Find a better route

Last week, Thomas Crowder called for a collaborative effort between NCDOT, and other city,state and federal agencies to incorporate the High Speed Rail plan with the redesign of the Capital Blvd corridor.

Therefore, I request the Council propose this partnership fund, carefully study and seriously consider extending the downtown road grid network north along the Capital Boulevard Valley to the intersection of US #1 and Wake Forest Road, aligning the SEHSR Corridor from this intersection south to West Street via an elevated viaduct shared with Triangle Transit lines over a rehabilitated and potentially realigned Pigeon House Branch watercourse integrated into a heavily landscaped urban greenway and a stormwater control system below it, creating the multi-modal transportation infrastructure needed for an urban scale mixed-use, mixed-income expansion of downtown.

While the timelines of the two programs differ, there is a huge opportunity to marry the two into a smart, integrated solution for the future of Raleigh.

Consider this:

If NCDOT does not vet an alternative that works locally and with the federal railroad standards, then NC3 is what’s been proposed by the City.   Granted, a better NC3 thanks to Russ Stephenson and Thomas Crowder’s focus on using the best technologies for mitigation and using brick and other design features to better blend in.  But still NC3 – impacting FIFTY FOUR of our local businesses and, according to Norfolk Southern, AT LEAST 18 HOMES.

What we can all do:

Contact your state and federal level  Representatives. Let them know this is important to you and you want it to be important to them.

We’ll post contact information shortly.

September 14, 2010 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Norfolk Southern rejects NC3 route

As the NCDOT’s Public Comment period drew to a close on Friday, Sept 9th, Norfolk Southern provided a damning commentary on the NC3 route and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) research. 

In summary:  “The Tier II DEIS is seriously flawed, has not been available for public comment, and would not support progressing to a Final EIS at this time”.  In other words, the NC3 route does NOT work!

Read the full and very interesting letter here   Among the many points are: 

Properties Claimed by Eminent Domain

 The DEIS severely underestimates the number of properties that will be affected. 

The DEIS indicates there are zero residential “Relocations” [eminent domain], but there area at least 4 under the NC3 route, and may be many more due to noise and vibration. 

“There are at least eighteen homes within one-hundred feet of the center of the Alternative NC-3 route, eight of which are within sixty feet of the center of this narrow NC-3 corridor. Actual or constructive taking of homes and residential relocation in these neighborhoods is highly likely due to the need for corridor width and to provide for appropriate safety barriers and buffers. In identifying zero relocations for Alternative NC-3, the Tier II SEHSR Draft EIS is incorrect.” 

Noise and Vibration Impact Not Studied

Numerous negative impacts were not studied, including 19 noise receptors later found to be “severely impacted” 

An additional 41 structures (buildings) that would be impacted by the HSR vibration were not analyzed. 

Road Closures

 The DEIS fails to indicate that Georgetown Road would be closed at Wake Forest Road. 

Road closures would fundamentally alter the flow of traffic and isolate the area from major thoroughfares such as Capital Boulevard. 

There is no analysis assessing the impact of closing these roads on the access needed by emergency services. 

Cost

While the study states that the NC3 option is approximately $50 million more than NC1/2, that amount does not include an estimated $100 million to acquire property and relocate Norfolk Southern.  (Recall that the Mayor commented last week that he envisions that Norfolk Southern would need to relocate. Hmm, why not CSX too?) 

Impact on Norfolk Southern Business

The impacts on Norfolk Southern’s business would be substantial and were not analyzed at all in the study. The NC3 tracks would cut directly through NS’s Glenwood rail yard interfering with their ability to service their customers, and would also further compound the issue of freight trains needing to yield to passenger trains. 

Day after day, fact after fact, NC3 continues to be the worst option.  Let’s take it off the table and find a better route!  

September 12, 2010 at 10:31 pm 2 comments

Meeting Minutes from 8/31 Public Hearing

Hot off the press, these are the Meeting Minutes from the August 31, 2010 Public Hearing on Southeast High Speed Rail.

September 11, 2010 at 12:12 am 1 comment

Give your input on light rail and bus routes

See Bruce Siceloff’s blog about Triangle Transit seeking input from citizens on future light rail and bus routes.  There are several workshops being held from Sept 14-23.

More info here.

And TTA Website

September 10, 2010 at 11:30 pm Leave a comment

“There is no requirement that we have a public hearing or even a public process”

Did you hear Mayor Meeker on WTPF on Wednesday? Quite an interesting few minutes.

http://billlumaye.blogspot.com/2010/09/do-we-need-high-speed-rail-in-raleigh.html

Re his comment about Norfolk Southern moving out of their current location:

1) I spoke with NS todayand they confirmed they have been there over 100 years and have no intention of moving.

2) If the Mayor feels that “freight yards don’t belong in downtown Raleigh”, then shouldn’t CSX should be asked to move too?

Re: the question of who has the responsiblity to inform the public on a serious issues such as this one.

1) The Mayor stated that City Council had “stepped up” and hosted a Public Hearing.  yes, and we appreciate that, although it shouldn’t take pressure from citizens to hold a Public Hearing on a topic that would claim 54 businesses and ??? of houses by eminant domain in historic neighborhoods! And don’t forget, City Council originally planned to vote – and vote NC3 – on August 3rd. Long before a public hearing was scheduled for August 31st.

2) The Mayor stated “there is no requirement that we have a public hearing or even a public process”.  NCDOT Director Pat Simmons made the same comment. Does anyone else find that extremely concerning?  That  a program of this size and magnitude, with  “adverse and severe” impacts to neighborhoods including property taken by eminant domain, closing of main access points, location of a high speed rail within several hundred feet of residential and business property for over a mile-long corridor DOESN’T REQUIRE PUBLIC COMMENT?

I propose that our next effort be focused on influencing change in when public discussion is warranted and how to best notify and engage the public. Are you with us on that, folks?

September 10, 2010 at 11:21 pm 1 comment

A great overview of the SEHSR …

In case you haven’t picked up The Independent yet, Bob Geary has written a very good article about the HSR.

Thoughts? Comments?  Post your comment on here or at Bob’s article.

September 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

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