You will learn here that the downtown area of Carrboro is on the cusp of undergoing the most significant transformation in several decades. Furthermore, on the Upper West Side, residents of an apartment building that formerly catered to people with middle-class incomes are voicing their displeasure with the property’s new owners, who are renovating the tower with the intention of renting it to people with higher incomes in the future. Over and above that, few rail projects have garnered as much ink, photographic, and video attention as those aiming to create high-speed rail (HSR) in North America. This is because HSR is a relatively new form of train transportation.
Carrboro’s new library construction begins in a few weeks
Original Source: Carrboro Announces Construction on New Library Starting Within Weeks
The town administration stated on August 9 that the 203 Project will bring a new Orange County Library branch, town buildings, and a parking deck to downtown. Early development at 203 South Greensboro Street will begin towards the end of August.
Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils verified the timeframe and said the existing parking lot will remain operational.
He stated building will start this month. Some utility maintenance will close the parking lot near Open Eye Café. We’ll give the neighborhood two weeks’ notice before closing the lot.
The 50,000-square-foot construction is the product of years of planning between Carrboro and Orange County, with community residents pushing for a library for even longer. The $42 million structure will house the Orange County Southern Branch Library, the Orange County Skills Development Center, and the Carrboro Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Resources Department. The new building’s construction will eliminate 88 parking spaces, but a new deck would add 171.
Carrboro stated the South Greensboro Street facility will have energy-efficient and waste-reducing features like vegetative roofing, stormwater control measures, and more. The new parking deck will contain five electric vehicle charging points, 25 spaces with “EV-ready infrastructure for future upgrades,” and 70 bike parking slots.
Seils said construction will take 19 months, depending on the supply chain and weather.
The mayor stated that this project, as a civil building but also as a structure, will help people think about Carrboro’s future in a different way. “Our town is great.” We aim to build on its strengths.
Carrboro’s website has further information about The 203 Project. Here are alternatives to the 203 South Greensboro Street lot.
Newly managed Mitchell-Lama building has fumes, dust, and noise
Residents at Glenn Gardens, 175 W. 87th St., told the city that the facade reconstruction and noise are affecting their emotional and physical health.
Residents in the 1975 Mitchell-Lama affordable housing complex have complained about construction noise, dust, lack of circulation and ventilation, and odors.
In late 2018, A&E Real Estate Holdings bought the property for $220 million.
Jan Kraus, a lifelong Glenn Gardens resident, feels this is “renoviction at work” – making a building unpleasant through renovations so owners can demand more rent from the next renter.
“The noise has been unbearable for anyone working from home during the day,” she claimed. The building is concrete and steel, so noise reverberates 10 to 15 levels above and below the work area.
Kraus’ 26th-floor bedroom windows and metal prevent her air conditioner from working. Cold air goes down the shaft between the new and old windows, retaining heat inside.
A&E’s senior property manager termed the last charge absurd.
“That’s false.” “We respond to in-unit repair requests within 24 hours, and we know from direct interactions that these opinions don’t represent most tenants,” Cutri told THE CITY. Our company depends on keeping renters in their homes and providing affordable housing for working-class and middle-class New Yorkers.
Tuck Milligan, co-chair of the Tenants Alliance of Glenn Gardens’ Renovations Committee, claimed A&E altered their tune after THE CITY approached them about the project.
A&E has offered tenants accommodation during interior wall destruction. Milligan said tenants sent 11 requests in a letter.
Residents arranged a rally with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s district office for August 13 and circulated posters.
Soon later, A&E executives addressed a letter to residents indicating the rally was unnecessary since the facade work was done.
The message informed households that demolition and waterproofing had been finished as of August 5. While we know that development can be noisy, the next phase should be quieter.
Mulligan called A&E’s moves “classic placating.” He admitted it was a good move.
Milligan added, “We’re cautiously optimistic” after canceling the rally.
A&E “initially told us this would be a two-week process during which tenants could stay in their apartments while the crew worked.” Milligan: “They say five days.” This is a start.
“Turning the Building”
Glenn Gardens began in 1974 as a Mitchell-Lama complex, part of a 1950s effort to offer low- to middle-income housing for 20 years. Glenn Gardens’ landlord left the program in the mid-1990s after nearly three decades. Rent-regulated leases were offered to those who didn’t qualify for Section 8 subsidies.
The property has a 32-story apartment tower, a 5-story walk-up, and a parking garage. The property had never changed hands since opening.
Glenn Gardens isn’t meant for “luxury,” says tenant committee co-chair Tony Riccardi.
He claimed they used high-quality materials and appliances. “Premium.” So, it feels like they’re trying to transform the building into something it wasn’t.
A&E denied Mulligan and Riccardi’s contention that the building violated the “guarantee of habitability for residence.” The company’s spokesman says they’ve addressed dust and noise. They employed vacuums, water sprayers, sound blankets, and muffled drilling equipment to reduce dust. A&E suggested foam earplugs, available at the lobby counter for all tenants.
Management intends to finish improvements by early 2023 and promised residents the worst is done.
A&E displayed artist renderings of the renovated structure. One showed European-licensed automobiles outside the premises. They were ludicrous to Kraus, Milligan, and Riccardi. Kraus said A&E spoke Trump-speak.
A&E assured Kraus, “It’ll be amazing.” It’s awesome.
Despite high-speed rail’s hype, development remains slow
High-speed rail’s main challenges are its high construction costs, lack of political will to absorb them, and skepticism about its worth.
U.S. high-speed rail projects number three. Brightline’s construction and operations are cutting-edge. Multiple trains depart hourly between Miami and West Palm Beach. Brightline has completed its line from West Palm Beach to Orlando and is making qualifying runs. Regular service is scheduled for late this year or early 2023. Orlando-Tampa line planning is also underway.
Brightline trains approach 80 mph along portions of the Florida East Coast right-of-way they use. Most consider 200+ mph HSR. The railroad’s West Palm Beach-to-Orlando leg will operate at 125 mph, blurring the line between high-speed and higher-speed rail.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) is building a high-speed railway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Texas Central contemplates a HSR between Dallas and Houston. Due to the recent dismissal of its CEO and a court dispute over eminent domain, building has not begun.
This conversation will examine the current status of these lines’ construction and their future.
Since then, Brightline has nearly finished the Orlando extension. West Palm Beach to Orlando crews are doing qualification runs. Brightline started construction on the Orlando station in January 2022, with completion in November. In November, Orlando will get an auto maintenance facility.
Brightline is the U.S.’s most advanced high-speed rail project. One route is open.
Brightline upgrades grade crossings with modern safety and warning systems. There are 156 grade crossings from West Palm Beach to Cocoa. 122 crossings are finished.
Other 2022 building milestones include the airport corridor’s completion and the Loxahatchee River bridge’s new bascule span. Even during a pandemic, Brightline has made consistent progress despite its regular hurdles.
High-Speed Rail in California
Los Angeles-San Francisco is the U.S.’s most ambitious high-speed rail project. This project has faced political and economic hurdles, but development has progressed at a reasonable rate.
The initiative needs more funding. Kyle Simerly of CHSRA told RT&S that infrastructure projects are never completely funded. We must finish what we have today and continue this building-block method as finance becomes available. We will keep working for state and federal assistance.
CHSRA has met construction engineering obstacles so far, but more lie ahead. Simerly said, “The federal government demanded we start in the Central Valley with 2008 ARRA seed money because the Valley is historically disadvantaged, reeling from the recession, and has some of the worst air quality in the country.” We’ve openly acknowledged that, as a result, we’ve advanced our current construction contracts ahead of right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation evaluations, which has posed issues. We’re addressing the difficulties and developing measures to prevent future occurrences. Staged Project Delivery is one mitigation we’ve implemented.
Simerly told RT&S:
According to the June 2022 Central Valley Status Report, CHSRA has over 90% of the parcels for the 119 miles under construction; the final precast girder in Construction Package 4 was put in early July. The last two years have been the most productive in the program’s history. Construction Package 4 will be finished in Q2 2023.
Simerly predicts considerable engineering hurdles given the project’s remaining work. The line will require tunnels via Pacheco Pass, the Tehachapi Mountains, and the San Gabriel Mountains.
Our engineers use state, national, and international experience to design and build our tunnels, he noted. We’re getting guidance from seismic, geotechnical, tunnel, and seismic design experts. The Authority’s Seismic Advisory Board develops seismic tunnel design requirements. We have an international Technical Advisory Panel that reviews our design standards.
Once project parts acquire environmental clearance and finance, the Authority will begin advanced design, geotechnical research, and tunneling.
Tunnels and structures will follow the Authority’s design requirements and all state and federal laws and standards for an operational basis earthquake and a maximum considered earthquake. Our seismic performance parameters require a tunnel to withstand an earthquake and allow for safe evacuation.
High-speed rail prioritizes safety. The Authority will also use Automatic Train Control and an Early Earthquake Warning System to create a seismically safe, reliable system not at risk from the San Andreas and other major fault lines.
While supply chain challenges have affected numerous firms, projects, and consumers in the past year, CHSRA said they haven’t affected its construction.
A pandemic changes construction plans. Simerly added, “The Authority has nimbly adapted to the dynamic and unpredictable effects by increasing telework and virtual meetings and cooperating with our contractors and labor groups to set safety measures to protect key workers.” Pandemic problems required schedule changes. Our 2020 Business Plan was delayed a year. We extended some environmental comment periods.
CHSRA funds additional high-speed rail-related activities. As Simerly told RT&S, “Outside the 119 miles, we are also substantial funders of coordinated initial investments in ‘bookend projects’ like Caltrain electrification and the Los Angeles Union Station renovation LinkUS project, as well as working with Los Angeles Metro to break ground last month on the Rosecrans and Marquardt grade separation, a heavily trafficked crossing used by the Pacific Surfliner and other services.” The Authority promotes state-wide train service. High-speed rail is about how it fits with California’s present and future transit and rail infrastructure.
Simerly noted, “We’re also expanding from 119 to 171 miles between Merced and Bakersfield.” At the August board meeting, advance design contracts for Madera-Merced and Poplar-Bakersfield will be considered. 400 km of CHSRA have environmental clearance.
Different line sections will be in different approval and construction phases for such a huge project. While the majority of the Central Valley line is complete, 100 miles still need environmental certification. Funding will be difficult, and the project will be a struggle until it’s completed. The project’s success depends on taxpayers and Congress providing financing and believing high-speed rail is an excellent alternative to cars and jet aircraft, which continue to dump greenhouse gasses into the world.
The Texas Central Railroad project has financial and legal hurdles, and no building has commenced. Texas Central wants to build a 200+ mph bullet train between Dallas and Houston.
Texas Central plans to work with Central Japan Rail Company for knowledge transfer, technical support, and process development. Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains have been successful for decades.
Texas Central won a court dispute where a landowner contested the railroad’s eminent domain to build a line. The corporation hasn’t had much good news recently. The corporation owed $600,000 in unpaid taxes, and the CEO left, leaving the railroad without a leader.
Potential ridership assessments imply a high-speed rail market between Houston and Texas.
Summary of today’s construction news
On August 9, the town administration announced that the 203 Project will bring a new branch of the Orange County Library as well as town facilities and a parking deck to the downtown area. Beginning towards the end of August, preliminary construction work will get underway at 203 South Greensboro Street. The Mayor of Carrboro, Damon Seils, confirmed the schedule and stated that the present parking lot will continue to be available for use.
Over and above that, the facade reconstruction and noise at 175 West 87th Street’s Glenn Gardens have been reported to be having negative effects on the residents’ mental and physical health, according to a city report. Construction noise, dust, lack of circulation and ventilation, and odors have been cited as complaints from residents of the 1975 Mitchell-Lama low-income housing complex. The management has assured the citizens that the worst is over and that the renovations will be completed by the beginning of 2023.
Moreover, the main problems with high-speed rail are its high price tag, the lack of political will to pay for it, and the uncertainty regarding its worth. We are now in the midst of the third major high-speed rail initiative in the United States.