Friday, May 16, 2008

Is There a Better Plan to Relocate the Train Yard, Expand F&M's Campus, Connect City Streets to Northwest Lancaster, Yet Safeguard School Lane Hills?

A citizen's group comprised largely of School Lane Hills residents agrees with Franklin & Marshall College that the current Norfolk Southern freight car staging area needs to be relocated to improve and revitalize the northwest section of the city and allow for continuity in campus expansion.

However, The Rail Road Action & Advisory Committee (TRRAAC) maintains that the project and all of its proposed benefits can also be achieved with a modified plan, one that would not negatively impact the long existing School Lane Hills neighborhood.

TRRAAC offers twelve reasons why there is a "Better Location."

1. The alternative location will accomplish all of Franklin & Marshall's Goals and Objectives.

2. It will keep 12 additional acres of taxable property on the City, School District and County tax roles.

3. Millions of tax dollars will be saved and diesel emissions avoided by not trucking millions of cubic yards of debris to the Frey Landfill and by decreasing the amount of land to be remediated in the expansion of the F&M/LGH campus.

4. It will allow for more time and thoughtful consideration to be given to the potential need for remediation of the old Municipal Dump.

5. It will save taxpayers the unnecessary expense of having to build a private access bridge over the Harrisburg Pike in order to access the disconnected piece of the rail yard, and the public will not be inconvenienced during construction.

6. The alternative location will give Norfolk Southern the ability to stage one long train of empty cars for the return to Enola, saving fuel and decreasing diesel emissions.

7. It will not move yard engine activities to the stretch of track that runs immediately behind and within 50 feet of homes bordering the tracks in the Barrcrest and Gentry Heights neighborhoods.

8. It will not add to the current blockages of Farmingdale Road, Good Drive and Rohrerstown Road while one-mile-long and/or "empty" trains are being assembled.

9. It will remain in a more suitable, long-standing industrial area, instead of near Long's Park or the proposed Crossings at Conestoga Creek.

10. It will continue to be serviced by a full-time, professional fire department, with prior experience dealing with hazardous material (HazMat) events on the current rail yard, rather than volunteer fire companies that are already stretched thin.

11. It will not put the Rt. 30/Harrisburg Pike interchange within a 1/2-mile impact radius and a much larger stretch of Rt. 30 within a 1-mile impact radius, eliminating evacuation routes for many in case of a HazMat event.

12. The alternative location, while achieving all of the objectives of the college and others, will not place long-standing, pleasant, tax-generating, residential neighborhoods in danger of decay. To endanger these neighborhoods does not enhance the project in any way.

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