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(I am, as they say, out of pocket, so I hope you will have patience with me for being in cut and pasting mode today.)
Here is the release sent out on Wednesday from the DCSafeRail folks about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Final Environmental Impact Statement released last week:

DC APPARENTLY PRE-APPROVES CSX TUNNEL BEFORE ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY CONCLUDES

(June 19, 2014) Washington, DC--According to documents in the Environmental Impact Statement for the CSX Tunnel at Virginia Avenue, SE, released last Friday, it appears that the District Department of Transportation has predetermined the EIS and apparently rubber-stamped CSX’s proposal for a partially open-trench construction project that will carry hazardous cargo less than a mile from the U.S. Capitol and through the heart of a growing residential/business community. It also appears to contradict Mayor Gray’s promise, made to over 400 people in January, that “…there is no way that we are going to allow people’s safety and security concerns to be compromised” by the CSX Tunnel.

In Appendix A (pg. 47) of the Final EIS appears to show that DDOT entered into a previously unknown agreement with CSX to grant occupancy permits to expand the tunnel’s right of way beyond its existing footprint. Additional agreements apparently indicate that upon conclusion of the project, CSX would be entitled to a permanent right-of-way to cover the expanded tunnel.

“We hope that the District Government has not thrown us under the freight train,” said Helen Douglas, a member of DCSafeRail, the coalition committed to the health, safety and security of the people in and around the CSX proposed expansion site. “We ask Mayor Gray to honor his commitment to us and withdraw any pre-EIS approval for these permits and conduct a true EIS with real alternatives to the CSX Tunnel fully analyzed.”

DCSafeRail will also ask the City Council, through Chairman Phil Mendelson, Councilmember Mary Cheh, chair of the Council’s transportation oversight committee, and our own Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells to hold hearings on the whole CSX Tunnel EIS.

The CSX Tunnel project will route freight trains with hazardous cargo, including occasional Bakken crude oil, through a partially open construction trench for almost four years. DDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) prepared the EIS.

“At best, this indicates that the District government is failing to uphold basic principles of good government, including transparency and accountability,” said Douglas.” At worst, it suggests that the environmental study is a farce because it rubber-stamps the CSX open-trench proposal.”

The Washington Post had a short piece on this response, with DDOT's response to the response: "DDOT spokesman Reggie Sanders said in an e-mail that the permit relative to Virginia Avenue SE and adjacent streets 'will have no force or effect until a build alternative is approved via Record of Decision.' Other requests for comment regarding the city’s commitment to the project have not been answered."
Comments (9)
   
 
 More About CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel

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E. Masquinongy says: (6/20/14 9:19 AM)
JD: from the Washington Post Article:

"The city also has asked CSX to extend the tunnel to 12th Street SE."

Is this to tie in to the proposed SE boulevard?


JD says: (6/20/14 9:45 AM)
More that so the proposed extension of 12th one block northward can happen - which ties into SE Blvd.


E. Masquinongy says: (6/20/14 10:51 AM)
JD: Interesting.

I recall, somewhere, that there was a proposal to extend 12th St, but I can not understand how this was going to segue into the public housing on K St. I presume there are no plans to connect to 12th St north of K, true?


NSkidmore says: (6/20/14 3:57 PM)
DCSafeRail RESPONDS TO DDOT

DCSafeRail issued the following statement regarding DDOT's justification yesterday for the issuances of permits for the CSX Tunnel before the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is complete [Washington Post, 6/19/14: DDOT's Early Commitment to CSX Tunnel Project in S.E. DC Irks Residents]:

We appreciate the assurance from DDOT spokesperson Reggie Sanders that the DDOT permits "will have no force or effect until a build alternative is approved via Record of Decision," but this hardly corrects the weight of the documents in the EIS that are overwhelmingly in favor of the project, specifically including issuing the street occupancy two years ago and the promise by DDOT and the City Administrator (who oversees all executive agencies for the mayor) to expedite other permits and approvals.

The EIS documents, prepared by CSX’s paid consultants, call into question DDOT’s objectivity and transparency, and raise the question why this agreement was not disclosed to the public until now, despite years of countless questions from the public and elected officials about DDOT’s permitting process and criteria. We want Mayor Gray to back-up his January commitment to not "allow people’s safety and security concerns to be compromised” by the CSX Tunnel with its track in a partially open trench carrying trains with hazardous materials. We therefore ask Mayor Gray to countermand all efforts to "expedite" this project and assure everyone concerned that all approvals and permits will be given full review and consideration and that the EIS has not already been rubber-stamped.


JD says: (6/21/14 7:29 AM)
E, the extension of 12th would only be for one block, to allow drivers coming off 695 to M to go one more block and turn to go left to 11th or right onto SE Blvd. It wouldn't go up to K.


E. Masquinongy says: (6/25/14 9:00 AM)
EHN has weighed in.
link


JD says: (6/25/14 9:22 AM)
My vacation to Detroit last week has ended, but somehow I haven't quite returned to blogging. (Object, rest, stays, etc.)


323 says: (6/25/14 11:40 AM)
Sooo... pardon my ignorance, but i have a few questions. May sound flippant, but I do not intend them to. Trying to unpack the objection to the tunnel.

1. Access. Get that, if it is more difficult to get to and from your home, that presents a problem.
2. Noise, construction, etc. Understand the nuisance, but its not like this is the first or last construction project of major significance in this neighborhood recently. I could see if you all of the sudden started this work in georgetown (not the best example, but you get it) or something where it was so contrary to what the neighborhood is used to.
3. Length of time. 3 years doesnt seem too bad. Its not like there wont be adjacent construction going on for much longer.
4. Open Trench. By my count there are a few potentially hazardous unfinished or abandoned lots in the area that would be more dangerous than a site that is at least constantly monitored from a safety perspective bc it is an active construction site. What exactly is the worry here? Someone will fall in? Serious question.
5. Air Quality. Understand the worry.
6. Hazardous Materials. I understand the suspicion, but I would think proximity to the capitol would mitigate peoples fear. No?

Maybe I am being naive, or dont fully comprehend the scope of the work being done and it will truly be more disruptive than I understand. But this seems like something that is going to happen, and pushing/asking for more time is simply not worth the return in whatever we'll get from CSX. And in effect all we are doing is pushing the date this all gets completed further away. Maybe opponents goal is simply to get the best deal possible. If thats the case, I'd say take a good deal and lets get this thing over with.


E. Masquinongy says: (6/25/14 2:19 PM)
323: the more important consideration is what will be built. The purposed to enable double-stacked trains, and the train traffic will surely increase; presently a train passes over these tracks about twice an hour. And lately there have been accidents. While train wrecks are rare, they are far worse than a typical truck accident (which is bad enough).

Basically, I think some people want the entire line re-routed outside of the DC. Short of that, that the line is to be completely buried within DC, with tunnels under the rivers. Both options were considered and dismissed, due to cost.

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Recent Crime Incidents Archive  
1100 B/O NEW JERSEY AVE SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 06/16/19
50 B/O M ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 06/16/19
100 B/O H ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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 06/14/19
400 B/O M ST SE   ASSAULT WITH A DANGEROUS WEAPON  06/12/19
1100 B/O 8TH ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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 06/09/19
700 B/O L ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
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 06/09/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/06/19
1300 B/O 4TH ST SE   THEFT
Theft First Degree (all Other Larceny)
 06/06/19
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400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 06/03/19
1385 CANAL ST SE   THEFT FROM AUTO
Theft (theft From Motor Vehicle)
 05/31/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 05/30/19
1300 B/O 4TH ST SE   MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT
Theft First Degree (Stolen Auto)
 05/28/19
1400 B/O SOUTH CAPITOL ST   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (all Other Larceny)
 05/25/19
300 B/O TINGEY ST SE   SEX ABUSE
2nd Degree Sex Abuse-threats
 05/25/19
1000 B/O 1ST ST SE   BURGLARY
Burglary Two
 05/25/19
400 B/O M ST SE   THEFT
Theft 2nd Degree (theft From Building)
 05/23/19
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Recent Issued Building Permits Archive  
1100 1ST ST SE   
06/14/19 
ONYX ACQUISITION LLC / SEJDI SINANI
B1911055 / CONSTRUCTION
REPLACING DAMAGED CAULKING ON THE BRICK JOINTS
1100 2ND PL SE 100   
06/07/19 
CBRE / null
P1906844 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 2ND PL SE   
05/22/19 
HELEN M. MAPPLEBECK / HEE YEOL HWANG
E1907663 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
05/22/19 
CBRE / DOMINIC E TOTARO
M1902700 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/06/19 
CBRE / null
E1908130 / SUPPLEMENTAL
   
06/12/19 
SQUARE 768N OWNER LLC / FRANK CAVANAGH; FRANK CAVANAGH; SEE BELOW
SG1900341 / CONSTRUCTION
Install one LED illuminated sign 1' x 15.91' = 15.91 sq
915 4TH ST SE   
05/28/19 
ALAN VATON / KYLE YOST; KYLE YOST
SOL1901152 / CONSTRUCTION
rooftop solar pv system, less than 4' above roof
   
06/03/19 
ALAN VATON / RICHARD J SHELER
E1908023 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1331 4TH ST SE APT 629   
05/28/19 
null / RILEY NA ROBERTS
EHOP19956402 / HOME OCCUPATION
1017 4TH ST SE   
06/03/19 
MICHAEL D MORAWSKI / null
E1908024 / SUPPLEMENTAL
70 I ST SE APT 103   
05/29/19 
null / NA NA NA
EHOP19992424 / HOME OCCUPATION
150 I ST SE   
05/21/19 
WILLIAM C SMITH CO / null
E1907650 / SUPPLEMENTAL
200 I ST SE   
06/05/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA / ROGER L PEACE; NA
B1909927 / CONSTRUCTION
Building a wall to separate the room
250 M ST SE   
06/12/19 
null / WILLIAM E BREIDENBACH
E1908365 / SUPPLEMENTAL
410 M ST SE   
06/03/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING / STEVE MIROY; NA
B1908576 / CONSTRUCTION
Boiler room upgrade
   
06/14/19 
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY / MARC R. COLLIER
FB1900083 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1200 NEW JERSEY AVE SE 7TH FL 20590   
06/04/19 
JBG/FEDERAL CENTER LLC / MICHAEL P. LYONS
E1908050 / SUPPLEMENTAL
1100 NEW JERSEY AVE SE   
05/31/19 
SQUARE 742 LLC / PETER MILLER
D1900736 / CONSTRUCTION
Demo of interior space to white box condition for future retail tenant. Includes fixtures, furnishings, and partitions.
79 POTOMAC AVE SE   
06/14/19 
RIVERFRONT HOLDINGS I LLC / ; JOE SPINELLI
B1909001 / CONSTRUCTION
Alteration to an existing restaurant’s Summer Garden Patio, CO1702427, to increase layout and occupancy to 154 seats, 62 standing, 4,025sqft. No change to existing interior f 100 seats and 143 occ load. Combined interior and exterior maximum occupancy load of 359.
201 TINGEY ST SE   
06/11/19 
JBG/SEFC 170 LLC / SOPHIA FLORENDO-STEVENS
B1910809 / CONSTRUCTION
Public food market Saturdays June 2019 to October 2019, 11am to 6pm. Tents and picnic tables for a public market. No changes to the space.
227 TINGEY ST SE   
06/13/19 
null / MYRA TELEZ
SP1900024 / CONSTRUCTION
Construct Hot / Cold spa on 2nd floor. Indoor facility.
AH = After Hours; B = Alteration & Repair; D = Demolition; E = Electrical; FB = Boiler; M = Mechanical; P = Plumbing and Gas; PC = Post Card; R = Raze; SG = Sign; TL = Tenant Layout; TN = Tent; RW = Retaining Wall;

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