CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown Town Council President Virginia Lee and Vice President Julie Carroccia, along with other members of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, met Wednesday with Gov. Gina Raimondo’s chief of
What: Attend a Rally to protect and support our Parks and Hiking Trails, Narragansett Tribal land, Historic Neighborhoods, Active Farms, your home, and more
Where: Inside the Rotunda of the State House in Providence
When: 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25
How: Get on the bus with us! – Meet at Charlestown Town hall at 2:00 p.m.
RSVP: Please read the whole post, you have to reserve a seat on bus...
There will be a "Republican Breakfast" to discuss the high-speed rail issue tomorrow Saturday, January 21st at 8 a.m. at Bouchers Wood River Inn, Hope Valley, R.I. $10 tax and tip included, with breakfast. I'm sure all are welcome to attend. ... See MoreSee Less
There will be a public meeting in Pawcatuck, CT on Tuesday, January 24, to discuss NEC Future and the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass. Gregory Stroud of SECoast and Connecticut Trust will also be on hand with others to listen to your concerns, help answer questions, and make sense of the plan. Please share this notice, and please come!
Fran LuchkaI agree, this plan should not go through. It will change the landscape of so many towns in its path! Not only in R.I, and Ct., but also MA.. It will destroy wells in rural areas, wetlands, homes will be destroyed, land will be taken away, the watershed will be destroyed. I could go on forever but, all we can do as a group is to fight it.
2 days ago · 3
Sandi RibeachesThere will be a Rally at Rhode Island State House. Buses leaving from Charlestown Town Hall at 2:00 call Town Hall for details!
2 days ago · 1
Al RazzanoAny chance of this meeting being recorded on FB live for those who may not be able to attend?
16 hours ago
Jan Dowst AielloThat bi-pass must be stopped. We don't need it or want it. There already is a railroad!!!
14 hours ago · 1
Bob Dimock Jr.Hi all
This meeting, due to room size, is for Stonington residents only. We scheduled it last week as a neighborhood meeting & as it grew we scheduled the fire station but unfortunately the small room capacity makes this a local event only.
A great piece on the growing opposition to the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass through Connecticut and Rhode Island, just out from Matt O'Brien at the Associated Press. Here is a link as it appears in the Boston Herald:
Find out the latest on Federal Railroad Administration's Northeast Corridor high speed rail tracks and tunnel proposal on CT Outdoors. Suzanne's guests today are Gregory Stroud, SE Coast Stop the Bypass, and Sam Gold, executive director, Lower CT River Council of Governments, live show 12:30-1pm, replay at 6:30-7pm, WLIS 1420 AM, WMRD 1150 AM, streaming at www.wliswmrd.netsecoast.org
First... RiverCog's Sam Gold and Gregory Stroud of the Connecticut Trust and SECoast will be discussing the train issue on the radio today from 12:30 to 1:00, on Suzanne Thompson's CT Outdoors on WLIS 1420 AM & WMRD 1150 AM, streaming realtime at www.wliswmrd.net.
The show repeats tonight from 6:30-7:00 pm, Sat, Jan. 21, 1-1:30 pm, Sun, Jan. 22, 7-7:30 am.
Second... Gregory Stroud will be the guest speaker at the Community Connections Luncheon, on January 25th, hosted by the Old Lyme Country Club. This event is open to the public, with a donation of $25. We expect a lively gathering, with ample time for a serious discussion, and chance to ask your questions. Please come out and support our efforts on high-speed rail ... See MoreSee Less
This coming Sunday, January 22, there will be a chance to hike and get to know the Carter Preserve and Duval Trail near Charlestown, Rhode Island. This is a key area of concern if the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass is approved. ... See MoreSee Less
Worth a read today, is the front-page above-the-fold coverage of the high-speed rail issue in the Wall Street Journal. I think we should expect much more of this. An admitted disappointment for a serious paper to run what amounts to a veiled anonymous threat from "these people." Read on...
"Other states along the northeast corridor that would like to move forward with the plan, however, are becoming frustrated by Connecticut’s pushback to the proposal, according to people familiar with process. These people say the FRA is considering prioritizing investments over the next decade along the southern end of the corridor, from Washington, D.C. to New York, because negotiations with Connecticut have been unproductive."
Suddenly, it appears that we are no longer opposing a distant "vision" which will never happen, by a priority for unnamed surrounding states and interests. Are these the people you want to trust at Tier 2? I don't think so. Fight on. ... See MoreSee Less
The U.S. government’s $120 billion plan to slash Amtrak’s Acela Express travel time between New York and Boston to two hours and 45 minutes is facing opposition in towns in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Russ ToddAlso write the FRA directly before January 31, 2017 at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by mail to:
U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration
One Bowling Green Suite 429
New York, NY 10004
6 days ago · 1
Shirley RobbinsInteresting keep informed how it ends , as always stated "local In how you vote of importance. Not just as some do only for Pres.
5 days ago
Tim HanserI was surprised at how poorly informed the author was. There was clearly little background work done in preparation of this article.
As we decide how to spend limited dollars on needed infrastructure upgrades, a news piece worth considering. In general, we support an accumulation of small-bore solutions, with a minimum of new-tracking, as much as possible.
In a recent conversation with a transportation reporter at the Providence Journal, he encouraged me to move beyond process to solutions, but in the case of NEC Future, and in California, I think bad process typically yields bad solutions. ... See MoreSee Less
California’s bullet train could cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Joseph LesterHow about they re-allocate the money in the FRA to rebuilding our bridges in Connecticut… Which is something everybody says needs to be done. Fix what we have before you add more things that are going to need to be fixed
The Charlestown Citizens Alliance has put together an excellent video explaining the impacts of the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass for their town at the far end of the bypass. One more reason that a 'near miss' or a tunnel under Old Lyme is not an acceptable solution for any town in the region. ... See MoreSee Less
This video follows the path of a proposed new pair of train tracks through Charlestown. The existing tracks will remain for freight and slower trains. The new tracks are for a higher speed train with Providence as the only RI stop.
We estimate the new route through Charlestown will save less than one minute of travel time.
On January 10th, just before heading over to the meeting in Charlestown, Rhode Island, we stopped by for an hour to discuss the plan with Tim Hanser, a member of the Green Party, and a thoughtful voice on transportation and other issues in the New London region. On his television program, we try to work through the current situation, the pluses and minuses, and what can be done. Take a look! ... See MoreSee Less
Molly FlueckigerI don't agree with Mr. Stroud's claim that the CT Coast is a "sacrificial lamb," and improved high-speed rail will not benefit our local communities. The conversation about the FRA's plan should also include the projections of population decline and decreased economic activity for the region in the same time period. Faster connections to Boston and New York might mitigate CT's brain-drain problem. I don't know what to make about Mr. Stroud's contradictory and confusing comments at the end about the plan not being an accident.
The Federal Railroad Administration just announced that they will hold one last public meeting on NEC Future before the plan is finalized. As an open house -- a format which SECoast specifically requested for Old Lyme -- there should be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and have them answered. As you recall, we were never afforded that opportunity. We would strongly encourage you to attend.
Springfield, MA Open House on January 25, 2017, 4:00-7:00 p.m. Pioneer Valley Planning Commission 60 Congress Street Springfield, MA ... See MoreSee Less
Thomas Michael John MulcairYeah Springfield will have no idea what this train route will be doing, I think that's why it been moved there cause they got tired of hearing the shoreline community complain about it, it is right we really don't need this. And can spend the same on much more needed repairs and safeties like Blumenthal is suggesting
John OgrenAre you sure about the site for the meeting? Pioneer Valley is a railroad company located near Springfield. This really sounds like something dealing with them.
(It doesn't make sense for Springfield people to be excited -it will have zero effect for them.)
James F Murphy SrWhy not have it in Alaska for all the good it does. ANYONE GIVING RIDES?
1 week ago
Linda A. StirlingI think it unfair to the elderly, people with children, inability to drive far etc to make the meeting so far away from the towns affected. This is something that should not be allowed and I'm sure it is intentional. I hope our senators and representatives have some ability to change the meeting place. I would like the governor to force the issue since it affects many areas of our state.
Blumenthal on NEC Future, Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass Senator Richard Blumenthal raises the Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass at confirmation hearings for Elaine Chao as transportation secretary. We've all grown almost accustomed to this kind of support from the senior Senator (and from the rest of the delegation!), but it's important to understand that this level of engagement is remarkable. It just doesn't happen. And behind the scenes, the responsiveness looks even better. ... See MoreSee Less
Jan LukensSo comforting to view a politician supporting the community, exactly what all of them are supposed to do at all times.
1 week ago · 1
Terry GranatekTake a plane. Seriously. The cost of adding the infrastructure alone, out weighs any benefit.
1 week ago · 1
Philip ParcakSen. Blumenthal has always been out ft for his constituents as Attorney General and as a Senator. I have no doubt he will use every opportunity to keep this issue on the ft.burner.
1 week ago · 2
When they do it
They have a emergency fund sitting n waitng for any n all accidents
1 week ago
Lynn WynnHope he and his colleagues are successful in resolving this issue so the potentially affected areas of Connecticut are protected
1 week ago · 1
Sandra-Lee BuckleyThat man is the best. Connecticut is so lucky to have this man. I've been a registered republican since 1968 and have always voted for this man for any office he's ever run for. Just love him
So, you're probably wondering, after squinting over the blurry low-resolution maps announced with NEC Future, just how good are the real maps, and who has access to them?
Well they've blurred these a bit, but this is from today's webinar with FRA. Apparently state and federal agencies have access to these maps -- the Federal Railroad Administration, Parsons Brinckerhoff, CT DOT -- but we've asked, and the FRA refuses to share them with the general public.
"Unfortunately I can’t give you access to the Data Viewer; we’ve only made the Data Viewer available to federal and state agencies, in compliance with data sharing agreements." ... See MoreSee Less
Kathryn Lee CannonIn regard to the FOIA request and the refusal of the FRA to provide copies of their so-called "great maps": I am reminded of this bit of age-old wisdom: "Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing". Something is indeed rotten in the state of Connecticut. Scary stuff.
Dini MalloryGreat turnout, and several familiar faces. Charlestown has mobilized in record time. Great leadership!
2 weeks ago · 4
SECoastSeveral dozen speakers came up and told their stories, and voiced their opposition to the plan. They really hit home for me the cruelty of releasing the plan just before Christmas. A lot of farmers, who felt betrayed by a government which expects them to protect the wetlands, and the earth, and then in turn seems oblivious to running a train through it. Also others who donated land or easements or money for conservation in what was supposed to be 'perpetuity.' What exactly is the point of preservation law and conservation law, if the FRA feels absolutely free to destroy it?
2 weeks ago · 7
SECoastin other news, Senator Reed has apparently joined our request for a 60-day extension, and an aide at the meeting promised to press the request.
2 weeks ago · 1
Daniel MackayTelling that FRA has denied the extension for the NEC Future project when they allowed the extension for high speed rail project planning in Florida. And telling that they have only communicated this denial through the press, not a call or email. The request for extension is still fair game, even as we ourselves continue to prepare for the current deadline.
Meet Charlestown, Rhode Island -- likely the second-hardest hit town along the entire Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston, at the other end of the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass. They woke up to the plan on December 16. Daniel Mackay and I met with a standing-room-only crowd at the local elementary school. An assortment of local and state government representatives were there, as well as 2 officials from Amtrak, senate and house aides, and quite a few members of the press. It was a pretty fiery crowd. They were being sold Tier 2, and to their credit, the public wasn't buying it. Big thanks to the local town council, and to the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, for organizing a very successful meeting, and to everyone there, for their kindness and warm welcome. ... See MoreSee Less
Want the latest on the train? Read Ana Radelat's piece in CT Mirror. Radelat has been breaking news for months on this issue, with excellent reporting based out of Washington, D.C..
Radelat covers all sorts of ground -- most importantly, that the FRA has denied our request for a 60-day extension -- so January 31, it is. A tight window, but we'll get it done.
On a more personal note, Radelat breaks the news publicly, that Gregory Stroud, SECoast's executive director, will be taking on the role of Director of Special Projects at the Connecticut Trust, with a specific focus on statewide transportation issues. Basically, we are settling in for a longer, bigger fight, with higher stakes, and statewide implications.
SECoast remains an independent on-going project of the Connecticut Trust. Not to worry... this marks a deeper engagement at the Trust with issues affecting Old Lyme and Southeastern Connecticut, we're not jumping ship, just the opposite. Fundraising for SECoast remains independent and focused on the Kenyon to Saybrook Bypass. A more formal announcement willing be coming shortly.
Please give Radelat's piece a close read!. This morning, we'll continue to focus our work on preparing public comment, but are taking time out at 2 pm to meet for an interview with Tim Hanser. Hanser has been an important ally in the the background for some months, and has helped make sure that we are working in concert with New London. Later this evening, Stroud and CT Trust executive director Daniel Mackay will be meeting with town officials in Charlestown, RI. We'll be presenting the issue at a town meeting there at 7 pm. Charlestown is emerging quickly as a key ally in the fight against the bypass. Like Old Lyme, Charlestown is really fighting for its future... huge stakes here and there. ... See MoreSee Less
WASHINGTON — Connecticut officials have been more critical than those in any other state of the Federal Railroad Administration’s plan to overhaul train service in the Northeast Corridor, yet some of its strongest critics admit they like parts of the plan.
How do they pay for the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass? They lease the right of way to the utility companies...
"The Amtrak passenger railroad is looking for businesses that are interested in running energy or telecommunications lines near hundreds of miles of track that it controls in the Northeast.... This week, Amtrak announced it is seeking offers from companies interested in the potential use of up to 363 miles of right-of-way along the Northeast corridor, which stretches between Washington and Boston, and elsewhere in the region."
William StammActually this is a good thing for all of us. I don't believe that this particular project is good for us but overall putting utilities along the railroad is a good thing. Just like putting them underground under streets is a good thing. I worked for Conrail a long time ago and we were digging right along the railroad tracks all over the place putting in the Sprint fiber optic cable. Or better yet it's gone out of sight it works and it doesn't have to hang on poles all over the city.
Stephen BessetteThey currently lease the right of way to the successor of MCI There is a fiber optics line that runs from Ny to Boston already.
2 weeks ago
John OgrenOf course any above ground tracks will have the overhead electrical feed structures currently in use. Some of the lease right of way utilities may be underground.
2 weeks ago · 1
Carole PowellNice and ugly to put right up next to the railroad that runs along the sound.
2 weeks ago · 1
Cynthia FinleyAnd you will destroy historic towns like Old Lyme in the process. Disgusting.
2 weeks ago · 1
Robert William LovellYeah, keep pushing this narrative and you don't have to explain that taking money from the Feds for various projects is what opened up the door to thus "Progress". Politicians sold certain projects based on Federal subsidies, but the matching funds ALWAYS come with strings attached, to benefit the Feds, not the citizens. Read the fine print, Idiots!
2 weeks ago
Edie TwiningThanks for the new info Greg. As long as cable is buried, which I image allows for less maintenance issues this should be acceptable. It is certainly common enough and makes sense if underground. But good to be aware of and clear about!
Robert William LovellCommunities involved in the last electrical upgrade" of high tension lines asked fro the same thing, underground burial. Land wasn't a problem as land already secured because of current overhead lines. Deemed too expensive, but the utility couldn't tell them how much savings would result from running underground or how much maintenance would be saved regarding the towers. Utilities think short term to satisfy their shareholders. Easier to explain when the amount of the dividend is higher. Remember, this isn't the same group that deferred tree trimming and it bit them butt. The utility banked on saving more money than the fine they paid when power interruptions were litigated. Their fine, far less than they pocketed. We enabled that behavior.
2 weeks ago
Edward JonesWe already have the Rail where it is.., they are not going to give it up so it makes sense to concentrate the services there. By the way the bad news William Stamm the wires are coming out of the ground when they fail it can take days to fix a simple broken cable with a proper splice. Creating a new weak point in the system. Overhead lines are cheap and easy to repair
Olwen Logan over at Lymeline, the local online newspaper, has the latest on the high-speed rail issue, running down the top issues and questions... [Here at SECoast it's been a bit quiet, as we prepare the legal effort, but there is much more to come...] ... See MoreSee Less
It’s a New Year, which brings an opportunity to review and reflect on the previous year, and to make plans for the new one. We have covered so many topics throughout 2016 that we decided to enlist the help of Google Analytics to determine which have generated the most interest among our readers.
Robert William LovellI believe your elected ones accepted certain monies from Uncle Sugar for projects without realizing there are always strings attached, good thing they are sooooo competent. Betcha some are lawyers. I find it odd that these same leaders demonstrate outrage at the possible outcome while misdirecting where the people anger should be focused.
2 weeks ago
Chuck HinckleyIt is important to understand that the FEIS is Approved. That the 30 day period is not a comment period. The FRA is under no obligation to read further public input, and will not respond. The 30 day period is a “waiting period”. During this period, forms will be filled out, errata sheets issued if required, and items left unclear in the FEIS will be clarified. But THAT’s IT.
The fact is a federal agency has published a public document that has a representative route for a train coming right gown Halls Rd. in Old Lyme, crossing the Southern part of the USCG Academy property in New London, and going right over the access to the Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic Seaport area.
What to do about these facts? The answer is SOMETHING, but realize where we are starting from. Better local organization will be imperative to protect local interests. Not our rights, the government has every right to do what they propose even in the silly extreme. I sometimes hear, “the government can not do that, it will harm the environment, the local economy, etc.” YES THEY CAN, and through no fault of good people, these issues did not get clarified from the Draft EIS to the Final EIS, so clearly a different approach is required. Chuck Hinckley
Daniel MackayI am so pleased that SECoast and the CT Trust have been able to be a resource for other communities. An effort that started in one town became multi-town regional in SE CT and now is multi-state, bypass long.
It’s the holiday season, but there is a January 31 deadline fast approaching to oppose the Kenyon to Old Saybrook bypass, and you want to know what you can do?
First, even if you submitted public comment earlier in the process, you should write again. You don’t have to live near the bypass, comment is available to all adults, so please share this post with your friends everywhere.
Now, just follow these simple steps:
1. Send an email to the Federal Railroad Administration. Here is the address: email@example.com
2. In the Subject line include something like this: “Extend the Deadline & Drop the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass” (you can cut and paste, but it never hurts to personalize these things)
3. Yes, a brilliant argument helps, but so does the sheer volume of comments. If you want a brilliant comment, that will come in January, but for now, don’t worry, keep it simple. Just cut and paste in this message:
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to oppose the inclusion of the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass in NEC Future planning. I am also writing to object to the limited notice, and opportunity to comment on the plan. I first learned about plans for a Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass on ADD DATE OF WHEN YOU LEARNED OF BYPASS HERE.
It is clear, that the Federal Railroad Administration has failed to demonstrate to the public a compelling need for a Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass. There is also mounting evidence that the Federal Railroad Administration failed to comply with either the spirit or the letter of the law, by selecting the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass as part of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (F-EIS) prior to public comment, on or before, November 15, 2015.
To be clear, the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass poses intolerable and unsustainable impacts to the dense historic and environmental resources which define both Southeastern Connecticut and Southwestern Rhode Island.
Given the importance of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (P-EIS) for the future of the Northeast Corridor, a 60-day extension of the deadline for public comment from January 31, 2017 to April 1, 2017, is not only in the public interest, but has clear precedent. Indeed, a similar extension was granted to review much less extensive plans for the “All Aboard Florida” high speed rail planning initiative in Florida. The Federal Railroad Administration has enjoyed flexible deadlines throughout the planning process, surely, the public deserves an equivalent opportunity to provide informed and meaningful comment before this critical document is finalized.
4. Now that you have cut-and-pasted, feel free to personalize it, just make sure you have added the date as instructed above. That date is important for the public record. Now sign and send. You can also mail your comment by post to:
NEC FUTURE U.S. DOT Federal Railroad Administration One Bowling Green, Suite 429 New York, NY 10004
5. If you would like to sign up for news on the project, or if you have questions, write us at info@SECOAST.ORG
Breaking News: The Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island expresses "grave concern about the direct impacts to conservation land between the Kingston and Westerly stations" by proposed Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass.
You can read their entire statement at the link below. Thank you Rhode Island, and The Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island!
Following the announcement on Friday, December 16, of the finalized routes for the Northeast Corridor, southwestern Rhode Island, and Charlestown in particular, although largely taken by surprise, are making up for lost time.
And local residents have been digging into the planning documents, raising questions about the rather shocking lack of notice by the Rhode Island DOT and FRA for a town sitting astride the juncture of planned bypass and the existing Northeast Corridor. charlestowncitizens.org/2016/12/19/did-the-fra-follow-eis-process/
Web traffic an the otherwise sleepy little website reportedly 10000 broke hits when they began breaking the news in the area. Town official have reportedly been busy contacting and soliciting the support of their delegation and regional nonprofits in the fight against a project which promises to alter the quiet character of the area, and significantly impact protected lands and open space.
And not just Charlestown. After voting earlier this fall to oppose the bypass, the town of Westerly has now joined the fight for an extension of the comment period. Both the town of Westerly and the Westerly Land Trust have reportedly sent letters to the Federal Railroad Administration.
Good things are happening, and it's great to welcome Rhode Island to the fight! ... See MoreSee Less
Mike RzewuskiConnecticut has true leaders and are champions of the people. Me thinks RI federal leaders and Gov would rather stick a fork in their citizens instead of supporting them. So far their silence are saying a lot.
A very good piece on the meeting yesterday from Don Stacom for the Hartford Courant. Stacom handles transportation issues and knows his stuff. It's a hopeful sign that Stacom connects the dots from Fairfield to New London County, quoting Stamford Mayor David Martin -- the first in Fairfield to speak out against the plan.
Yesterday, Senator Blumenthal met with about a hundred residents from as far away as Charlestown, R.I., at a town hall meeting in Old Lyme. Earlier in the day, Blumenthal met with leaders in Stamford.
Blumenthal, who has really lead the fight on the Federal level since late June, reiterated his opposition to the plan. He promised to work to remove the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass sooner, rather than later. Blumenthal also promised to raise concerns at the soon-to-be scheduled hearings for Transportation Secretary nominee Elaine Chao.
In the near-term, he embraced a request by SECoast and Connecticut Trust's Daniel Mackay for a 60-day extension of the slated January 31 deadline for public comment. Blumenthal encouraged the public not to wait, but to write the FRA in opposition to the plan, and to request a 60-day extension of the public comment deadline. You can send that email right here: firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to concerns raised by residents of Rhode Island, Blumenthal promised also to discuss the issue with neighboring senator, and ranking Democrat on the Transportation committee, Jack Reed.
SECoast will have more advice on how the public can register their opposition to the plan, and write the FRA, very soon.
In the meantime, I strongly encourage you to read Stacom's piece in the Hartford Courant
Mark McKeeThe concerns of the residence of Old Lyme is quite understandable,it is great that some are expressing what they don't want for their enclave, however, this resident of the greater New London area must with all candor inquire as to what is being done to improve and normalize commuter rail service for New London between NYC and Boston? Better, more consistent and more trains, especially MetroNorth and Shoreline East service, and extended MBTA Service to NL is sorely needed and would be a boost for the economy, help residents' commute. It is a shame that a City the Size of New London is denied such services. While a new highspeed service may be an issue, this writer suggests that the dearth of commuter service to NL is an even more crucially relevant matter.