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I've been invited to a press/blogger briefing being held on Monday by Stephen Flippin, who handles federal affairs for CSX. It's to give an update on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, with a look at some renderings and other materials that CSX will have available.
What questions would you folks like to have asked? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I'll see what I can do about getting responses. (Don't worry, I'll be sure to get the basics, like a timeline.)
Also, Flippin is scheduled to update ANC 6B at their Tuesday night meeting, if you'd prefer not to get your information through the SLANTED JDLAND MEDIA FILTER!
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 More About CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

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B in DC says: (4/9/10 3:43 PM)
Thanks, JD. My pet issue is access to the northern most block of Capitol Quarter Phase One and how they intend to provide that during the project.

Also, I'd be curious to see whether they have thought about rerouting train traffic during construction to prevent train noise and whistles during the time that the tunnel is uncovered and open. During a recent train derailment in the tunnel, CSX rerouted all traffic through a different path. Why could they not do that during the construction time as well to minimize noise to residents?


Froggie says: (4/9/10 4:34 PM)
Two things. I'd like more details on the process they're going to follow to upgrade the tunnel. I say this because I've heard on one side that they'll be digging a "temporary tunnel", while I thought I read somewhere else that they'll effectively make an "open trench" while deepening the tunnel.

If it's the former, where they're digging a temporary tunnel, what will happen to it after project completion?


Mark says: (4/9/10 5:24 PM)
JD - thanks for representing our Hood at this event!

1) what benefits will this tunnel expansion bring to our neighborhood?

2) Will they be developing any park space concurrent with the tunnel expansion?

3) Will they extend the tunnel on either/ both ends so we see/ hear less of the trains? This is something (particularly on the west end) that they should do concurrent with the expansion of the tunnel - they could develop new park space above the tunnel.

4) what detriments short and long term will the expansion mean for the neighborhood? How many additional trains? What will that mean for increased noise and air pollution? How will they abate the increased pollution?

5) Why not just route these trains around the city? With the increased anti-terrorism concerns and growing city population, wouldn't that make more sense?

6) In the dream category: any chance we can lower and put theSE/SW Freeway in a tunnel at the same time? Also, what would the work mean for the SE/SW Freeway - we certainly don't want to see these cars routed onto our city streets.

Thanks again!
Mark


Section 314 says: (4/9/10 7:14 PM)
What methods do they plan to use for construction? Assuming they must use cut and cover, do they plan to put planking over top of the cut like they did during Metro construction in order to maintain access to driveways and cross streets?

What funding mechanisms do they plan to use for this segment? Where do they stand in obtaining funding?


JW says: (4/9/10 7:33 PM)
How long will the construction take?

How will the community be affected?

How will dust, debris, and noise be controlled?

Are their environmental hazards with opening the old tunnel, ie dust and particulate matter that may be released?


Thanks


F says: (4/9/10 11:11 PM)
1. How will people living in the northern most block of Capitol Quarter (VA Ave and I ST block)access their homes (garages)?

2. Will both entrances/exits to the alleyway of that block be closed at the same time during any phase of construction (fire safety concerns; garabage truck access; etc...)


Jill says: (4/10/10 8:02 AM)
According to Capitol Quarter there isn't any approval or funding for this project. What's the timeline for that?


James says: (4/10/10 11:14 AM)
How will this affect the planned 'Anacostia Boathouse' and other projects in that area? Won't these tracks further cut off the Hill community from the riverfront?


Mike McEleney says: (4/10/10 1:00 PM)
1. Why CSX won't fund this privately owned railroad tunnel with its own money.

2. Why CSX thinks it can violate the federal DC Railroad Act of 1901 which prohibits the owner of the Virginia Avenue tunnel from constructing temporary railroad tracks along the right of way

2. Whether, in the event the funding is approved, they are prepared to enter a binding agreement on working hours and a whistle ban.

3. Whether CSX will pay for trains to remove construction rubble rather than add thousands of truck loads of pollution to our streets.

4. Whether they will invite actual neighbors of the project to their press conferences and forums.


R says: (4/10/10 1:00 PM)
JD,

Please ask.

1. Ask when the environmental study will be accomplished. If they plan on community support, this is not something that can be waived.

2. Emergency vehicular access to Capitol Quarter on VA Avenue must be maintained. How do they plan for firetrucks and EMTs to respond to situations for homes directly on VA Ave between 3rd and 4th St. For example, I see a fire hydrant for at least 10 homes on VA Avenue. How is a firetruck supposed to get to that if there is going to be a hole there?

3. They are planning on using 4th street as the main access point into the water front area. This goes through a new community.

4. How wide will this the hole be?

5. Will they reroute train traffic to avoid noise pollution and potentially dangerous spills during construction?

I am not a supporter of this project given the security concerns. CSX is doing what is easy vs doing the right thing and rerouting around D.C. as they should and probably have as a backup plan if they do not get the approvals for this work.

As for the supporters of this project saying this is good for DC traffic. This will reduce a single truck off of the highways. Truckers and their companies will not see a downturn as a result of trains being able to carry more cargo. When someone says this to me, Id want to see exactly which study supports that idea. It is a sales gimmick that they cannot back up.

-R


JC says: (4/12/10 7:48 AM)
JD,

Seems like most of the comments are from people living within the near SE DC area. Ill offer a different perspective as someone who commutes to the area on a daily basis. I'm most concerned with the impact to traffic. The 6th St exit is a primary exit for traffic to the Washington Navy Yard, DDOT, the handful of office buildings (i.e. 300 M St, 1100NJ, 80 M St), Barracks row, plus Nationals games. I really want to know the impact the construction will have. What streets or exits will be closed and for how long and what are the intended work arounds? I view the S Cap street exit as already over capacity in the morning/evening rush hour and I just don't see where this traffic will go.

Thanks!!
JC


JD says: (4/12/10 9:52 AM)
Thanks to everyone for all the questions; I can't 100% guarantee I'll get to ask all of them, but I'll try. (And don't forget that there's scheduled CSX briefings at the ANC 6D/6B meetings on Monday/Tuesday that any member of the public can go to.)

JC, ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger reported from a meeting on Friday that the plan is to force all 6th Street exit traffic to turn left on 6th, then left again on Virginia Ave. westbound, then left on 4th Street southbound.


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1212 4TH ST SE   
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FC 1212 LLC / MARK E. RESNICK
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FC 1212 LLC / RICHARD V CAREY
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CONSTRUCTION OF A BRAND NEW 11 STORY BUILDING. THE BUILDING IN TOTAL IS 350 000 SQ FT. ADDING 327 RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNITS 20 000 SQ FT. IN COMMERCIAL SPACE AND 3 BELOW GRADE PARKING LEVELS.
   
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1000 5TH ST SE   
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NEW FOUNDATION TO GRADE PERMIT FOR NEW COMMUNITY CENTER INCLUDING UTILITIES. REVISION TO FD1400029 TO REVISE STRUCTURAL DETAILS OF COLUMS.
   
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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / BRUCE G. PICKETT
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1220 12TH ST SE   
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FAIRBANKS MORSE ENGINE / EVAN O'BRIEN/ D MCKEEVER SERVICES
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INTERIOR ONLY NON-STRUCTURAL ALTERATION TO EXISTING OFFICE SPACE. WORK INCLUDS MINOR PARTITION CHANGES AND THE ASSOCIATED HVAC AND ELECTRICAL ALTERATIONS.
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