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Word is hitting the streets that the public meeting for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel's Final Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled for July 1, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. Presumably the actual document will be available before then...?
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Gamble Rogers says: (6/12/14 6:32 AM)
"The EIS is coming! The EIS is coming! Run for your liiiiiiiiiiives! AAAAAIIIIEEEEEE!"

Whenever the Final EIS gets published -- and no matter how methodically detailed the final document may be -- the vast number of questions and comments posed means this process will soon find itself in litigation. It would be impossible for a single document to successfully answer the questions posed in the EIS process. And even if the drafters make a good faith, professional, transparent attempt to answer questions, I'm sure that some folks will find those answers insufficient enough to launch litigation. In my view, this isn't the end, or even the beginning of the end -- this process is just starting.

Hine Center delays? Hooooo, pig soooiiieee -- you ain't seen nothin' yet! My work will take me and my family overseas next year -- I predict that CSX won't turn a shovel for another five years.


Gamble Rogers says: (6/12/14 6:39 AM)
And just like the Hine Center's delays mean that the Hill community gets to enjoy beautiful views of a hulking, Stalinist, abandoned Junior High School on some of the most prime real estate in the District, the CSX tunnel's delays will only slow down needed commercial development south of the freeway, especially on Lower Eighth.

I don't see NCC or anyone else making big investments until they know when CSX will build and complete the tunnel. If the project gets knotted in litigation without end -- and I'm sure that's the goal of a minority of folks in the EIS process -- I expect the neighborhood to look the same for years to come. That's too bad. But as the Coug said: "Ain't that America!"


E. Masquinongy says: (6/12/14 9:15 AM)
If CSX had its way, they would build this new tunnel with nary a thought to the neighbors inconvenienced and accosted, businesses damaged and failed. They must do this on the cheap, as required by the fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders, but their initial plans turn thriftiness into parsimony to the point of foolishness. Remember when they proposed shutting down VA avenue, and 6th Street under the freeway, for two years? Nice.

Maybe they have gotten the message that this is not a rural project, that the neighborhood must be accommodated. If so, then things will go well for them, and they will get their tunnel. If not, then it gets tied up in litigation.


JD says: (6/12/14 9:18 AM)
They never once proposed shutting down 6th Street under the freeway.


E. Masquinongy says: (6/13/14 9:51 AM)
JD: I beg to differ. The original plan was also going to close the 6th Street exit ramp from 295 and block all access on the south side of the freeway, due to the closure of Virginia Ave. When the neighbors heard this they raised holy hell; allowing traffic on the cross streets was the first concession CSX made.

But this is moot and I am digressing from what the current plan is -- I am trying to read up on the EIS you just posted. Thanks for posting that, btw. Without you I would be lost trying to keep up with things around here.


JD says: (6/13/14 9:54 AM)
I have notes taken by a (then future) CQ resident at an ANC meeting in November of 2009 where the only closures mentioned were the closures of Virginia Avenue and temporarily the cross streets. That tracks with everything I've been told from the beginning, including initial private meetings with CSX in the fall of 2009.

So if there were discussions of permanently closing the on-ramp beyond a temporary short-term closure, it was never in a public venue that I heard about until the slip of the tongue by the FHWA guy earlier this year. And it was certainly never in any of the draft plans. If I'm wrong, please point me to the documents that show permanent 6th Street on-ramp closures.



JD says: (6/13/14 10:01 AM)
And to add... The plan has always been to close the route past the 6th street ramp, funneling traffic under the freeway and up into Capitol Hill.

But articles from 2009, when this first hit, and e-mail missives from concerned groups (like the Friends of Garfield Park, who had a meeting in November of 2009) make zero mention of even the possibility of closing the 6th Street on ramp for all of the construction. So if the residents rose up, it wasn't before this in the fall of 2009, and I don't remember them suddenly deciding to add in a ramp closure well after they were initially assuring the residents that there would be none beyond Virginia Avenue itself and the temporary cross-street closure.


JD says: (6/13/14 10:45 AM)
(Sorry, I started conflating the on ramp with closing 6th under the freeway. But that DEFINITELY never on the boards, because the traffic from the ramp had to go somewhere.)


E. Masquinongy says: (6/13/14 11:28 AM)
JD: we are quibbling over the meaning of "temporary closures."

The EIS you just posted has "temporary closures" of all these streets. But his document makes it clear that this is only for a day or two, certainly less than a week. In the original CSX proposal, this was not clear -- "temporary" implied "for the duration of the construction."


JD says: (6/13/14 11:33 AM)
I was responding to your comment above: "Remember when they proposed shutting down VA avenue, and 6th Street under the freeway, for two years? Nice. "

And it was always stated very very very clearly in public meetings and other materials that temporary closures of the cross streets meant a week or two for the installation of the bridges. To say that it was "unclear" in the original proposal is truly splitting hairs. It was only unclear to people who chose to have it be unclear.






E. Masquinongy says: (6/13/14 1:53 PM)
JD: not everybody can come to the meetings; some of us are busy with things like raising children and so on, and must rely on what we read. And what I am referring to came from the original announcements, before any meetings and before those detailed alternatives were published in what, 2011? Back then, "temporary" was not clear to me, and since that same word was used to describe the "temporary," i.e., full-duration closure, of VA Avenue, it is reasonable to assume that its same meaning also applied to 6th Street.

I spent a little time looking for my comments on this blog from those early days, but I can't find where I got these impressions...In any event I stand by this -- my memory is clear on this point.

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