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Council to Ask Metro’s Help on Noise Barrier and Test Track

At next week’s meeting, the city Council will be sending a letter to WMATA, about the noise barrier and test track in north College Park. Please see the draft letter below.
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May 26, 2015

Jack Requa
Interim General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Dear Mr. Requa:

On Thursday, May 14, representatives of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) attended a meeting of the North College Park Citizens Association (NCPCA) to discuss the construction of the test track between College Park and Greenbelt Metro stations. We appreciate the opportunity that WMATA provided to discuss ongoing resident concerns regarding construction and planned operation of the test track.  There are a few concerns, however, that NCPCA residents raised, and we would like to ask that you look into them further.

First, residents ask that WMATA reconsider the location of the noise barrier currently being reconstructed, between Greenbelt Metro station and MD-193. We understand from the discussion on May 14 that the original barrier was constructed to mitigate the negative environmental consequences (i.e. noise pollution) upon construction of the Green Line in the 1990’s. The CSX tracks have a similar impact on our neighborhood; however, these tracks were built decades before the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was in place and, therefore, were not subject to the same requirements.  While we understand that the federal government directed WMATA to build the wall in its current location, we believe the neighborhood would be better served if a noise barrier were to be built between the CSX tracks and the neighborhood.  We ask that you work with CSX in whatever way possible to provide for construction of an adequate sound barrier that will protect the neighborhood from noise emanating from CSX and MARC trains as well as Metro trains.

Second, we respectfully request that WMATA refrain from utilizing the test track during hours when Metro is not in operation.  During the May 14 meeting, WMATA representatives informed the community that WMATA may be utilizing the track off-hours, which will allow the noise that our residents experience when Metro is operating to continue into the nighttime. We understand that one main purpose of the test track was to allow WMATA to test trains during operating hours, and we would hope that off-hour train testing would occur in areas underground, where residential neighborhoods are not impacted.

Thank you for your consideration of these requests. We look forward to continuing our work with you to enhance the benefit that WMATA provides to the College Park community.

Sincerely,
Andrew Fellows
Mayor
City of College Park

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