SEHSR Trail

The Southeast High-Speed Rail (SEHSR) project seeks to build a 110mph Acela-like passenger train system connecting DC to Charlotte (and beyond), via Richmond, Wake Forest, Raleigh, Durham and Hillsborough, using a straightened version of the current Amtrak route.  The environmental impact studies currently being developed for the Petersburg VA - Raleigh section includes a bike-ped inter-urban greenway.  Charlotte is independently working with consultants to develop a bike-ped urban corridor parallel to their portion of this rail line.  Carrboro's very successful Libba Cotton greenway closely parallels an active freight line that runs north through town past WSM and Horace Williams to join the current Amtrak (future SEHSR) line just southeast of Hillsborough.

NC-DOT, through this project, is seeking public feedback through August 30 via a short web survey, and at upcoming public hearings, including one at the Raleigh Convention Center on the 26th (Open house at 5pm, followed at 7pm by a formal hearing).

From the SEHSR FAQ:

The SEHSR project now includes the evaluation of a parallel multipurpose trail concept, a unique opportunity to provide additional economic and quality-of-life value for most all the towns and communities along the corridor. The trail concept would be a separate project, parallel to and outside the rail right of way, but within the SEHSR study corridor. As such, all environmental work being collected and analyzed for the rail project would be available for evaluation of the trail concept. The environmental clearance of the trail would allow trail proponents in each state to apply for state and federal funds for the eventual completion of the trail.

Incorporation of the trail concept into the SEHSR project was requested and funded by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation with VDOT and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The trail concept would run from just south of Petersburg to the Neuse River, north of Raleigh. It likely would become part of the East Coast Greenway, a proposed trail traversing the east coast states from Maine to Florida

I cannot overemphasize the importance of the parallel multi-purpose trail component of the Southeast High-Speed Rail plan.

The trail creates tourism opportunities, and serves as a local transportation and recreation facility, in all communities along the route, even those unserved by the train.

In addition to providing a facility for walkers and cyclists, the trail will create numerous benefits for the rail project. It will lower the carbon footprint of the project by providing opportunities for travelers to combine zero-emission transportation with rail trips. The trail will also immeasurably benefit wheelchair-bound and other disabled persons by providing independent access to the rail depots. The presence of trail users will effectively create a 'neighborhood watch' within the corridor, dramatically reducing incidence of crimes such as abandoned vehicles, dumping, arson, and vandalism, that are all too common within other, low-visibility, rail corridors. Having a non-motorized facility parallel to the right of way will increase the efficiency and safety of rail maintenance and inspection operations.  The pedestrian facility will also greatly increase the safety of train evacuation and other emergency procedures.  Rail passengers arriving by trail reduce demand & contention for parking spaces and taxicabs.

Paralleling the rail corridor makes a lot of sense for trail users as it provides a route with minimal cross-traffic and connecting to highly desirable destinations.

I hope all will complete the very short survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SEHSR and support the trail and bikes-onboard in the free-form comments box at the end.

Also, please consider signing the Virginia Bicycle Federation's related petition:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rwt/

Total votes: 172

Comments

I don't know what SEHSR is, but if this is about putting bike and pedestrian paths next to rail lines, I'm for it.  That's exactly what I hope for to connect the west end of Carolina North with downtown Carrboro.If you could add a paragraph to this post that introduces the topic to the typical uninformed reader (like me) and also note what this could mean for Orange County, then I'd love to promote this to the front page.Either way, thanks for posting this! 

Intro added.  Please do as you please!

Thank you!

hi speed rail from Richmond to Charlotte. Traverses Orange County along existing rail corridor. Does not include Carrboro line

Thanks!From what I've read, between Raleigh & Charlotte (including Orange Co.), the SEHSR and any associated greenway will closely follow the current Amtrak NCRR route, with slight realignments to widen curves.  The DEIS states, "the greenway will typically follow the old, unused rail right of way when the rail alignment is on new location."  Between Raleigh & Richmond, the plan takes a more direct route, following US-1 through Wake Forest, Youngsville, Franklinton, Henderson, and Norlina (instead of Rocky Mount).

I know very little about the different plans being proposed to make this "parallel trail" deal happen.  Generally it sounds like a good idea, but I'd want to be assured that nobody is going to lose his or her land or home for the sake of this project.  We've seen egregious abuses in places like New London, CT and Brooklyn.Again, I have no idea whether this is even a concern here, but it's what occurred to me while reading this.

 

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