22 Nov 2013

Saturday: Meeting with Rep. Norton on Proposed Virginia Ave Tunnel Expansion

From the Navy Yard Neighborhood Association:

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has agreed to Navy Yard and Capitol Hill area residents’ requests to meet near the proposed Virginia Ave Tunnel (VAT) expansion construction site, this Saturday, November 23rd from 2 – 4 PM at the Arthur Capper Senior Apartments, at 900 5th Street SE.  It’s expected to be a packed house.

CSX and the leading agencies, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and District Department of Transportation (DDOT), have not yet adequately addressed many residents’ concerns. Constituents have specifically requested this meeting with Norton to give her the opportunity to hear from them directly and unfiltered. Others on record with criticism include the EPA, Committee of 100 on the Federal City, the Sierra Club, Capitol Hill Restoration Society, and DC Water and Sewer Authority.

The CSX train fire along the tunnel this past Sunday, November 17, has heightened community awareness.  The Washington Post reported that creosote-soaked wood caught fire, and smoke “engulfed” the adjacent playground at Garfield Park (see: http://wapo.st/1cDzz7F).

Resident worries include:

  • Project duration of up to 5 1/2 years.
  • Risks and disturbance from trains, with hazmats, running through an active construction site.
  • Noise, vibration, and pollution impacts, including remediation of existing asbestos.
  • Disruption of traffic and pedestrian/bike/stroller/skater access across the construction site.
  • Impairment of emergency vehicle access.
  • Disruption of gas / electric / water / sewer / communications utilities.
  • Environmental justice and the special concerns of HOPE VI and DCHA housing residents.
  • Need for transparency and public input prior to any government transfer of additional permanent right of way to CSX.
  • Potential economic impacts to residents and businesses.
  • Negative health impacts to area children and the elderly.

This is a critical time in the planning and approvals process. The community now awaits final analysis and decision, which may occur in the coming days or weeks.  For more information, contact Chris French, NYNA President, at NavyYardNA@gmail.com.

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