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Tuesday, April 24 News

Letters to the Editor: FRA high speed regional train station planned for Greens Farms

Editor’s note: This letter was sent to Rebecca Reyes-Alicea Northeast Corridor Joint Program Advisor at USDOT and reprinted here at the author’s request.

Dear Ms. Reyes-Alicea:

I am writing to express my objection to the siting of a future Mega, Regional Train Station Hub in Greens Farms CT to service the planned High-Speed Rail Initiative of the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) as cited and “approved” in the FRA’s Northeast Corridor Reason of Decision on July 12th. While I am not opposed to the concept of High Speed Rail on the Eastern Corridor, I do believe funds could be better spent immediately in improving our existing rail system in Fairfield County which has depreciated immensely and quickly over the last few years. Improved local rail speeds would have a positive impact on millions of daily users with an immediate, positive economic benefit to the region. The planned, expensive ($150 Billion +) high speed rail system will mostly service people passing through our region. It will improve overall Metro North service only marginally by moving Amtrak trains to the envisioned elevated or alternative high speed new track. The concept of improving local service as a rationale for the NEC’s project is a very inefficient approach on a cost-benefit basis.

The cost-benefit argument aside, there are many other issues to be concerned with in this overall plan which potentially envisions: eminent domain seizures of property and houses, destruction of historic neighborhoods, cut and cover tunnels and other major disruptions and dislocations. The historic Saugatuck neighborhood of Westport, which this new rail system is planned to run through, was already torn apart in the 1950’s with the construction of I-95 and is just now beginning to recover.

However, my most specific concern and objection is to the plan’s concept of building a Mega, High Speed Train Station in Greens Farms (Westport) to serve as a Regional transit hub. Greens Farms already has one small train station to service local Metro North riders (not an Amtrak Stop) and our parking is already maxed out. Greens Farms is a bucolic, historic, residential area which the residents have worked hard over many years to prevent over development of exactly the type this station represents. Greens Farms is absolutely the wrong location for such a station and will inundate the area with overdevelopment, intense traffic and new parking problems. I suggest you rethink (re-plan) the station’s location. There are potentially other locations (Bridgeport, Fairfield Metro, South Norwalk, and Stamford) that would make more sense. Some already have Amtrak stops and they may conceivably welcome such a hub as a positive economic development asset. Greens Farms, however is just wrong on every dimension possible.

I urge you to revise this plan now, rather than waste time in the future, as I know that the residents of Greens Farms and most likely all of Westport in general, will be vigorously opposed to this plan and it will face stiff opposition and legal challenges.

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I will be asking our First Selectman, our Representative Town Meeting (RTM) our State Representatives, our Congressional delegation and Community Groups to all oppose this planned station as vigorously as possible and to initiate legal action to appeal the FRA’s Reason of Decision Tier 1 Plan as soon as possible.

Dewey J. Loselle

Westport

To the Editor:

November is National Hospice Month and I want to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the professional staff and volunteers at Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County for the compassionate hospice and palliative care they provide to our community.

This non-profit agency has served the residents of Fairfield County for more than 100 years. The staff and volunteers continue to provide exceptional skilled and compassionate end-of-life care on a daily basis that affords both comfort and dignity to our patients and their families.

The number of patients served by hospice nationwide has steadily increased over the past several years and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization reports that nearly two million Americans received hospice care last year alone. Hospice has become a source of constancy in end-of-life care in the United States due in great part to the quality of care that patients and families receive.

Thank you to the wonderful nurses, aides, therapists, social workers, volunteers and others at Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County who provide such an invaluable service to our community.

Ken Edgar

Chairman, Board of Directors

Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County

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