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It's not exactly the biggest news I've written about, but tonight ANC 6B voted unanimously to write a letter in support of CSX's request to the Department of Parks and Recreation to do some minor digging in Virginia Avenue Park as part of its NEPA requirements for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project. They'll be taking core samples, 1.5 inches in diameter, five feet in depth, about every 200 feet, looking for any archaelogically significant findings. (And, no, these samples won't be taken in the community garden.) If anything is found in the samples, CSX would then need to get new permits to do more extensive digging. There are also two other locations relatively close to the park where they'll take core samples, over by 11th Street.
Steven Flippin of CSX also told the commissioners that the first public meeting required by the NEPA process is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 20, at a time and place to be determined. This will be a "scoping" meeting, laying out the overall parameters of the project and the NEPA process. It will be followed, after a 30-day comment period, by an "alternatives" meeting. After another comment period, the final "overall" meeting about the tunnel project will be held, most likely in February of 2011.
I should also mention that commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg thanked CSX for paying for the new fence at Virginia Avenue Park that has now created the separate-enclosed-space-that-in-no-way-should-be-construed-as-being-an-official-dog-park.
Comments (10)
   
 
 More About CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

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Mark says: (9/23/10 8:19 AM)
Go away CSX.


Mark says: (9/23/10 8:20 AM)
Go away CSX.


Rob Lee says: (9/25/10 5:52 PM)
Does anyone know exactly what law was passed to give CSX this "right of way" on Virginia Ave. and what it exactly says in what they have for the dimensions of their "right of way?"

Seems we are simply "trusting" CSX to say that they actually have a "right of way" on VA Avenue. Where is the proof? What is the law that was passed? What exactly does it say and give them access to?

How would we find this out since I have asked CSX this question and they seem to not want to share their legal "right of way" information. They just are telling us that it exists.

Where is the legal documentation detailing their "right" to our neighborhood?

Rob Lee


JD says: (9/25/10 6:10 PM)
Rob, I'm pretty sure the city government would be quick to step in if CSX didn't have the legal right to dig up a city street for two-plus years. I think it goes back to the federal railroad act passed somewhere in the 1900-1905 timeframe. (And now I hear MJM's footsteps, RACING to answer this question as quickly as he can. ;-) ) It's not just a local law, it's the law that govern rail lines across the country.

If you're really serious that you want 100% confirmation that CSX has the legal right to do what they say, then you need to start hiring lawyers to get all of this researched, so that you know precisely what CSX is legally allowed to do.






Rob Lee says: (9/26/10 2:25 AM)
I know that eventually it might need to come to that (re: hiring lawyers)

What gives them exactly "100" feet width to cut? Why not "200"? Why not "50"? Where does this number come from?

Im sure they have a right to dig. No doubt there.

You were there during our "tour". When I asked exactly how they keep throwing this "100 feet" right-of-way wide figure out. Stephen Fillipin clearly dodged the question when pressed. Not once, but in 2 separate instances. He just said that they had the legal right but withheld how they knew this number.

Why so secretive? Why not clearly show the documents for all to see? This just does not generate a feeling of trust with CSX if they cannot even detail something so simple.



JD says: (9/26/10 12:58 PM)
I'd spend some time reading these documents for research, using tidbits in them to find out more:

Acts of Congress of 1901 and 1903 Providing for Elimination of Grade-Crossings of Railroads in the District of Columbia, and Authorizing Construction of Union Station and Terminals, from the Journal of Proceedings:
link


Federal and local legislation relating to canals and steam railroads
(searching for Virginia Avenue)
link

I'd also remember that there was the Navy Yard Tunnel before the Virginia Avenue tunnel, and that when the Virginia Avenue Tunnel was built in 1904-1905 as part of the plan that then created Union Station, it was hooked up to the existing Navy Yard Tunnel, which I believe was built in the 1870s.

(and I found these through about an hour of Googling)


Mike McEleney says: (9/26/10 8:13 PM)
JD,

The same law that authorizes the VA Avenue Tunnel forbids the operator (now CSX) from using temporary tracks along the right of way without authority from the District or Congress. CSX's own plan for the tunnel involves placing temporary tracks along the alignment while the tunnel is expanding, a clear violation of the law.


JD says: (9/26/10 8:32 PM)
Mike--I haven't read all 108 years of intervening legislation and case law pertaining to federal railway statutes to know one way or the other whether the 1901 and 1903 acts have ever been superseded. It sounds like you have?


Mike McEleney says: (9/26/10 11:00 PM)
JD,

My own research and those of a railroad counsel I know show that the law is still in effect. All that is needed is a plaintiff.


Rob Lee says: (9/29/10 5:17 PM)
Mark: If CSX tunnel project is of interest to you and you are a resident of Capitol Quarter. There is a Capitol Quarter HOA committee working together for the interests of the community. Contact the board to find out more information and to help. The email is: cqboard "at" gmail "dot" com. There is a meeting tonight: Wed, Sept 29 at 7.

Anyone else affected by CSX: If you are working in another community group and want to share notes about your CSX tunnel concerns, also please contact the cqboard "at" gmail "dot" com to connect with the committee.

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