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Some Raleigh residents oppose proposed rail route

Posted August 31, 2010
Updated September 7, 2010

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— More than 100 people showed up for a public hearing Tuesday night to give their input on three proposed routes for the high-speed passengers trains through Raleigh.

Raleigh city planners recently endorsed a special task force's proposal for the Southeast High-Speed Rail route to follow the Norfolk Southern tracks, north from Jones Street along the western side of Capital Boulevard.

The plan would keep northbound and southbound lanes of West and Harrington streets in downtown open to vehicle traffic and avoid the need for a bridge near Glenwood South.

But many from Raleigh's Five Points district at Tuesday's meeting opposed the plan, saying the route would go through their neighborhood and adversely affect businesses and homes.

As many as 12 freight trains and eight passenger trains could go through the area, they said.

Keri Brang said the plan would bring the rail through her backyard, and the uncertainty is keeping her from selling her house.

"Unfortunately, all the feedback that I get is, 'We love your house, but tell me about the train,'" Brang said. "No one wants to purchase a home that will be the subject of eminent domain."

Not everyone was against the proposal.

Daryl Grout, a resident at West at North condominiums in downtown, said the two other plans presented to the City Council on Aug. 3 would shut down historic downtown streets and affect public safety.

"The closing of Harrington and West streets will block access to downtown, and – this is a key point – block emergency routes for fire and emergency vehicles," he said.

Many support a compromise, a so-called "hybrid alternative" that would avoid street closures and minimize the effects on businesses and homes.

The steepness of the rail under the alternative plan, said Eric Lamb, manager of the city's Transportation Services Division, wouldn't allow for certain types of trains to travel through.

The state Department of Transportation, which will ultimately decide the high-speed rail, will further evaluate the option.

The Raleigh City Council has until Sept. 10 to make a final decision, and members said they expect to discuss the issue again at their meeting on Tuesday.

The rail, still years away from completion, would provide high-speed train service from Raleigh to Washington, D.C.

The DOT has held several public meetings in communities that will be affected by the project and says public input will be taken into consideration as it designs the train corridors.

The state was awarded $545 million in federal stimulus funds to support the high-speed rail system.

Plans are to complete the track from Charlotte to Raleigh within three years. The time frame for completion of the rail from Charlotte to Richmond is projected to be 2017 or later.


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  • OSX Sep 7, 2010

    As you get up toward Durant Rd, I wonder if they are going to blast the horn at every crossing? I would think the reduction in property values along this whole route would make them say no to this idea. Amtrack is nothing but a dead expense and they can't even come close to competing with the airlines.

  • edgar709 Sep 7, 2010

    One more thing- she paid $387k's two years ago and she's now asking $412k's. She actually believes that the house has appreciated 25k's in two years? During a recession?

  • edgar709 Sep 2, 2010

    HAhahaha Monkeyboy-- You're right. I also made a search of her property and she just bought it 2 years ago. She made a decission then to buy right next to the tracks. She will continue to have a problem selling the house no matter what.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Sep 1, 2010

    This will flop like a flounder. It will never happen.

  • outback1967 Sep 1, 2010

    WoW!!the next step to further segregation!! Count me in!!!

  • babedan Sep 1, 2010

    MillerB - once again I ask who is going to pay for it? People are screaming now about the deficite and we are going to throw Billions down the toilet once again. It makes no difference to congress they are used to throwing monoey away. It's time we the people say no to this type of PORK. What good is a rail system that has 10 passengers on it, on a good day? The widening of I 40 may not cure all, but more people will use it than they would any type of rail system.

  • Lickad Sep 1, 2010

    Reroute the rail system through the ghettos of Raleigh, multiple problems solved.

  • MillerB Sep 1, 2010

    Gotta love the "Not in my backyard" syndrome, and babedan, how much money is going into widening I40, extending 540 and working on 440 that EVRYone knows isn't going to make a whit of difference to rush hour traffic?

  • babedan Sep 1, 2010

    Once again, we spend taxpayer money on a lost cause. How many daily riders will it take to break even? A lot more than will ride this thing that's for sure. When are we going to wake up and realize this isn't Europe, we are not packed like sardens in an area where this is no more land to move. Faster to fly, more convient to fly and rent a car or take the rail when you get to DC than to ride a train that will be stopping how many times? And for what? If you say a clean enviroment, what is making the electricity? and if the grid goes down? in a section? This is nothing but a waste of money that is making somebody rich with my tax dollars and I say kill it so you don't have to raise my taxes to pay for it.

  • monkeyboy Sep 1, 2010

    "Keri Brang said the plan would bring the rail through her backyard, and the uncertainty is keeping her from selling her house."

    hmm. it's a good thing the economy isn't keeping her from selling her house. lord knows the real estate market is booming right now.

    what might be more accurate would be to say that she's not getting offers as large as she'd like on the house she just bought 2 years ago that's a good 130 feet from the existing rail line...