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Residents rally against NC3 rail option

August 31, 2010 9:08:10 PM PDT
Residents and business owners in Raleigh's historic Five Points neighborhood are taking a stand, because they don't want a proposed high-speed rail route coming through their neighborhood.

The group 'Don't Railroad Historic Five Points' held a rally Tuesday evening to voice its opposition. The group met from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in downtown's Nash Square. The group says it wants to inform the public and raise awareness about the negative impacts of the Southeast High Speed Rail's NC3 option.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has two other options for routes -- NC1 and NC2. Both of those would run trains through a CSX freight yard on the east side of Capital Boulevard.

The third option, NC3, would route trains along Capital's west side and through Five Points.

Earlier this month, a task force charged with studying the issue made its final recommendation to Raleigh City Council members, backing NC3.

According to the task force, NC3 would have the least amount of impact on the Glenwood South area and would not require an enormous four-block-long bridge spanning Jones Street.

The negatives are it would cost about $45 million more and Jones Street would be closed at the tracks. About twice as many homes and businesses, more than 50 in all, would be affected -- some having to be torn down.

"Property values obviously are going to drastically be altered, I know so many people will be displaced from their home," homeowner Jen Teague said.

Don't Railroad Historic Five Points founder Carole Meyre says the group is not opposed to the city getting a high-speed rail system -- it just doesn't want NC3.

"We are not opposed to High Speed Rail; we are opposed to the NC3 route," Meyre said. "The NCDOT's Draft Environmental Impact Statement clearly shows that NC3 is not only the most expensive, but also the most damaging option. The lack of 'sunshine' in this process has been appalling. Officials are treating this like a neighborhood pothole issue, rather than a major decision that could affect not only our historic neighborhoods, but the City of Raleigh for the next 100 years."

Following the rally, Raleigh City Council held a public hearing on the proposed high-speed rail service at 7 p.m., in the council chamber of the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex.

In a matter of hours a rally that began with a handful of people outside turned into a packed public hearing inside. The meeting was so packed that there were people standing along the walls.

They said they came with the hope that city leaders would hear their pleas.

"Officials are really treating this as more a neighborhood pothole issue, rather than a major decision that could affect not only our historic neighborhoods but the city of Raleigh for the next 100 years," Five Points resident Carole Meyre said.

"I ask that you protect my neighbors, our investments and vote no on NC3," Five Points resident Keri Brang said.

The City of Raleigh is expected to make its recommendation to the state by September 7.

For more information about the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, click here.

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