It's a Raleigh story, but it's one Durhamites need to be paying attention to: the opposition swelling up in urban City of Oaks neighborhoods over the state and federal government's high-speed rail proposal linking Raleigh and Richmond.
The corridor will use largely-deserted tracks between the two state capitals, but will tie in to the existing downtown Raleigh rail yard and surrounding access lines. And the alternatives that have been on the tables for years are drumming up neighborhood opposition over noise and permanent street closings to minimize car/rail and pedestrian/rail accidents.
Of course, the progressive communities near downtown Raleigh understand high-speed rail is a good thing and want to see it come to town. And that's where the intriguing idea comes in: an alternative being pushed by ad hoc neighbor groups that would create an elevated rail line flyover above Capital Boulevard, avoiding the toughest takings and keeping the largest number of street crossings open.
The idea comes from residents -- not the state, which so far is cool to the idea. But the quickly arising and now white-hot battle, which is being best covered by the Indy's Bob Geary (#1, #2), has great relevance to us in the Bull City.
The SEHSR project doesn't end in Raleigh; that high-speed rail line on existing tracks will run through to Durham, Greensboro and Charlotte, and perhaps someday Atlanta. And when SEHSR comes to the Bull City, we're likely going to be faced with requests to permanently close Blackwell St. and Mangum St. downtown -- effectively cutting off the city center and American Tobacco districts.
If Raleigh is able to get things rolling on an elevated viaduct for rail, it makes the odds of Durham and other large communities getting similar treatment much better.
More news beyond the jump.
DHA Sells Complex: The Woodridge Commons apartments on Sedgefield St. near Northgate Mall is set for sale from the Durham Housing Authority to Bob Schmitz, a notable local landlord. The sale price (under $900k) represents a 25% discount off tax value, but the early-80s complex is in rotten shape and the DHA's consultant says they're luck to get this much. (See this earlier story for more on Schmitz.) (Herald-Sun)
More on Potti: Ongoing investigations into a Duke cancer researcher are underway; the first, a scan of the researcher's education, awards and background, turned up what a university report calls "issues of substantial concern" and resulting consequences. Two additional reviews are underway on the researcher. The matter started after outside researchers raised concerns over the research data and analysis performed by Anil Potti; more than a hundred cancer patients are enrolled in trials based on those questioned findings. (Herald-Sun -- and check out the Duke Chronicle for the most complete ongoing coverage)
DCVB Morphs Film Regionally: The DCVB -- long a local pioneer for having a film office and support for broadcast and movie productions in-house -- is working with a local production company involved with last year's "Main Street" film shoot to bootstrap a Triangle-wide film commission helping to bring productions to the broader 13-county region. The DCVB will transfer a position to the new organization and provide seed funding. (N&O)
Football Preview: The H-S' Steve Wiseman has a quite-compelling feature on Tevin Hood, a walk-on defensive lineman arriving at Duke this fall. A finalist for a National Merit Scholarship, Hood passed up athletic scholarship offers at lesser lights for a non-scholarship shot at Duke, placing academics first at the campus where his mother graduated in 1991. The story also details Hood's distant relationship with his father, former NFL player Eric Swann. (Herald-Sun)