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Sept. 10 deadline gives more time for comment on high-speed rail plan

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The state Department of Transportation says it will extend to Sept. 10 the deadline for public comment on a proposal to run trains as fast as 110 mph on a new track from downtown Raleigh to Richmond, Va.

Aug. 30 had been the original cutoff for responses to the draft environmental impact statement published in June as part of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor project from Charlotte to Washington, D.C.

More than 2,200 people attended eight public hearings during July in Virginia and North Carolina, and many residents and businesses have filed comments already.

“While we received significant popular support for the project, we also learned a great deal from concerned property owners, business people and community leaders on how to improve the project,” Pat Simmons, DOT Rail Division director, said in a news release. “These meetings were a great way for us to hear what citizens along the corridor think about our plans.”

One of the most controversial parts of the plan centers on the route trains will take as they head north through downtown Raleigh. The Raleigh City Council has scheduled an Aug. 31 hearing on whether to run the trains through a Norfolk Southern freight yard on the west side of Capital Boulevard, or through a CSX freight yard on the east side of Capital.

A citizen task force has endorsed the Norfolk Southern path. The council is expected to weigh in with its preference in September.

Go to www.sehsr.org online to read the environmental study and to file your comments.

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Thanks for that, Mr. Siceloff

I posted my comments on sehsr.org.

Comments

Submitted my comments a while ago:

(1) Use the NS route.This is better because West / Harrington can stay open, and since passenger trains will not have to cross live freight tracks with basically the train equivalent of a four-way stop.

(2) Keep Fairview open. A DOT engineer with the SEHSR project at the public hearing last month said there was technically no reason Fairview could not be bridged over the tracks; this was just left out of the project as a cost-saving measure.

(3) If Jones street has to be closed to cars, then at least put in a bike/ped tunnel under the tracks.

(3) Make the viaduct along West Street better than just a blank boring concrete structure. Specifically, build it so that it incorporates retail space underneath, thereby contributing greatly to the Glenwood South neighborhood rather than taking away from it.

(4) Be certain that all property and business owners impacted recieve just compensation and relocation assistance.

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About the blogger

Bruce Siceloff reports on traffic and transportation. A News & Observer reporter, editor and blogger since 1976, he took over the Road Worrier column in 2003. Lately he drives I-40 with the cruise control set at 68 mph. You can e-mail Bruce, call him at 919-829-4527, check out his Crosstown Traffic blog or follow him (@Road_Worrier) on Twitter.
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