Council doesn't endorse high speed rail plan

September 7, 2010 8:13:29 PM PDT
City council members took a pass on endorsing a high-speed rail route through Raleigh Tuesday, instead deciding to ask the Department of Transportation to look at hybrid plans instead.

Picking a route through Raleigh has been highly controversial - with residents who stand to be affected lobbying against the plans.

City council members looked at two options presented by the DOT at a meeting Tuesday. The proposals are part of a $2 billion plan to link Raleigh and Richmond, Virginia with trains travelling up to 110 mph. Planners envision a southeast rail corridor that would eventually connect Charlotte all the way to Washington, D.C.

But the two proposed routes have not been popular with residents who warn of lower property values. One proposed route would run west of Capital Boulevard along Norfolk Southern tracks. The other would run east of Capital Boulevard along CSX tracks. Both routes would mean impacts to businesses and homes and also mean some street closings.

City staffers have favored the so-called NC-3 route for a number of reasons, including that it would have the least amount of impact on the Glenwood south area. But NC-3 would cost about $45 million more and affect about twice as many homes and businesses.

Many Five Points residents oppose NC-3, because they say it will destroy their neighborhood and their property values.

"The train already deters probably people from purchasing here, but if there was another, what is four tracks I think, it would just be really hard to re-sell I think," Raleigh resident Jessica Reiniger said before Tuesday's meeting.

Here are the recommendations to the DOT approved at Tuesday's meeting:

  1. Analyze NC ½ hybrids to see if one of them is a viable option. If so, the city council requests the opportunity to hold a public hearing and to comment on that option and cost.
  2. Forward Passenger Rail Task Force and city Staff recommendations to NCDOT
  3. Replace Durant Road fire Station
  4. Mitigate impacts on Windsor Forest Subdivision
  5. Include pedestrian overpasses at Jones Street
  6. Include pedestrian overpass, not a bride, at Hargett Street.
  7. Do not impact the residential properties on South Saunders near Rosegarten. If a crossing of the NCRR corridor is to occur in this area, alternative alignments should be considered. A pedestrian crossing may be sufficient.
  8. Coordinate NCDOT and Triangle Transit plans.
  9. Comments as to NC-3
    1. Relocate Norfolk Southern’s spur train yard to a location outside the City so passenger rail can use train yard property.
    2. Use retaining walls to limit removal of structures
    3. Use brick masonry for alls visible from the community and passenger trains.
    4. Consider pedestrian access to Mordecai if Fairview closed.
  10. Analyze viaduct alignment and consider comments on design.
  11. Consider acquisition of properties taken through eminent domain to happen sooner.

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