Granville Hogg submitted this letter regarding issued with Eastern Shore Rail and Trail Study, which is reviewing the proposed use of the railroad for a bike trail.
In these times when public meetings and input are somewhat of a challenge, getting comments from the public is limited. I hope the article in the Eastern Shore Post will prompt the public to provide you with additional insight and guidance.
I have perused the meeting notes. Based on the data provided it appears the existing tracks in many locations are not within the center of the Right of Way. Once the Rails and ties are removed there will likely be the need for some regrading of the ballast therefore a shifting/relocation of the ballast location would not be a major expense. Would it be in the public interest to have the trail centered within the right of way? In addition, as I pointed out in my letter, there have been several traffic accidents involving agricultural equipment that is relocating from one field to another. The results of such accidents usually involves a fatality of the agricultural worker.
From the viewpoint of Traffic Records these types of accidents are not that frequent along U.S. 13, however I believe Virginia Farm Bureau or a National Farm Bureau Organization might help with statistics. Since the application is heavily weighted (35%) for SAFETY would it not be a valid reason to provide a MOTOR VEHICLE FREE area for agricultural equipment to relocate rather than on U.S. 13 or SR 316. Having agricultural use included in this application may improve ratings.
I have no idea what the response would be from the County Farm Bureau Organizations. There has not been a motor vehicle/ agricultural equipment death in the recent past. In my opinion, the Farm Bureau should be invited to the stakeholder’s table.
With the changes involving the use of the Canonie Atlantic property from a railroad to other use it may be a good time to review the bicycle/pedestrian crossing at the Cape Charles Stoplight. Commonwealth of Virginia currently owns several acres of land on the Northside of the Existing Right of Way. In addition, the eastern Right of Way of existing U.S. 13 south of the Railroad follows the 1955 Right of way which is 50 to 150′ to the east of the current U.S. 13. In my opinion, a roadway following the former U.S. 13 to the shopping area would substantially improve Motor Vehicle/pedestrian/bike traffic far better than the proposed stoplight at the shopping area southern entrance. VDOT convinced themselves a monumental stoplight was needed at the southern entrance to the shopping area, however with the change in the use of the Cannonie Atlantic property whether that plan will be re-evaluated remains to be seen.
Cheriton, Virginia 23316