Tag: B&P Tunnel

Public Meeting on B&P Tunnel Project

The B&P Tunnel Project is a federally-funded engineering and environmental study to develop an alternative to the existing B&P Tunnel. This 143-year-old, two-track railroad tunnel is located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Penn Station along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) in Baltimore, Maryland. The tunnel is owned by Amtrak and also used by Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains and Norfolk Southern Railway freight trains. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) provides an evaluation of three alternatives, including a review of the alternatives, their ability to meet the needs of the Project, and their likely impacts to the social, cultural and natural environments.

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Public Meeting on B&P Tunnel Project

The B&P Tunnel Project is a federally-funded engineering and environmental study to develop an alternative to the existing B&P Tunnel. This 143-year-old, two-track railroad tunnel is located between the West Baltimore MARC Station and Penn Station along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) in Baltimore, Maryland. The tunnel is owned by Amtrak and also used by Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) trains and Norfolk Southern Railway freight trains. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) provides an evaluation of three alternatives, including a review of the alternatives, their ability to meet the needs of the Project, and their likely impacts to the social, cultural and natural environments.

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Resident concerns are shaping revisions to the B&P Tunnel Project

After a year of input from Baltimore residents and our continued work through the Section 106 preservation review process, we are seeing real changes to the B&P Tunnel Project. Two public meetings this month are an opportunity for you to get an update on the project including new alternatives for the ventilation plant sited for Reservoir Hill.

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Preservation review of the B&P Tunnel project—an important opportunity for community input

As we shared earlier this year, the planned replacement of the B&P Tunnel is a project with major consequences for historic West Baltimore neighborhoods. The current set of proposals could require the demolition of the American Ice Company, the Ward Baking Company building or whole blocks of rowhouses in the Midtown Edmondson neighborhood. When demolition is unavoidable, the preservation review process known as Section 106 can secure an agreement that mitigates the harm the project may bring – by investing in community resources, preserving nearby buildings, or telling the stories of the history lost to demolition. If you live in West Baltimore, your comments on these alternatives are critically important to determining the future of the buildings and community around the proposed rail line.

What is Section 106? Since last fall, the B&P Tunnel project has been working through a review process required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Section 106 of the NHPA requires the Federal Railroad Administration to meet with the Maryland Historical Trust and a variety of interested parties and consider the effects of the proposed project on historic buildings and neighborhoods. A Citizen’s Guide to Section 106 Review (PDF) from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation explains:

Section 106 requires federal agencies to consider the effects of projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties… Section 106 review encourages, but does not mandate, preservation. Sometimes there is no way for a needed project to proceed without harming historic properties. Section 106 review does ensure that preservation values are factored into federal agency planning and decisions.

In meetings in July and August, the Federal Railroad Administration asked Baltimore Heritage and other consulting parties to consider the two remaining alternatives for the B&P Tunnel(with a total of five variations)  and submit comments. What of these alternatives does the least harm? How can the effect of these proposals be mitigated? We’re asking your help in answering these questions by reviewing the alternatives below and sharing your comments with us and with the B&P Tunnel project team.
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