The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, August 26, 2011

Do you want the berms or don't you?

Work has begun on the Norfolk Southern Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility near McCalla. One local resident (who was admittedly against the facility) is sounding alarm bells because "large equipment" is mesmerizing the kids on the playground. Pat Breeden is the PTA president for McAdory Elementary School, and she says the "dust, noise, traffic and distractions" are "harming the children."

On a radio talk show the other day she said children (more than one) are coming home with "nosebleeds" and respiratory problems.

If you remember, in the plans we saw a berm that would be landscaped and have fencing to hide the facility and cut down on noise.

However, current plans include barriers or earthen berms, which will provide a variety of mitigation benefits including aesthetic improvements, security, and noise suppression, along much of the access road and around part of the Automatic Gate System (AGS) area. These barriers or landscaped berms, combined with existing vegetation and the distance between the road and residents in the area are expected to reduce sounds from the trucks to near ambient levels for those residents.

Norolk Southern is not Disney. They cannot wave a magic wand and create the berms. Earth must be moved. This is August. It's 100 degrees. The ground is dry. Dust is going to fly.

Breeden is quoted in the Birmingham News, "reports from children being so curious that during P. E. when walking or running the track they stop and stare at the large equipment. Again, we were very concerned about the distractions and proximity in the playground and how it could and does affect the students."

The kids need to get out more. They apparently have never seen large equipment.

What a teaching opportunity this could be. Kids, especially the boys, love big yellow construction equipment and this could put their pretend play with Tonka toys into reality!

The classes could study methods of transportation and how our nations goods are moved. Some history could be included regarding trains and how they have progressed from steam engines to modern diesels. This is a cool video of a steam engine barking up a hill.

The importance of the environmental study that was completed could be taught in science class. Here is an example of elementary kids studying the environment. It would be so easy to incorporate the environmental work leading up to the railroad hub into an elementary school project.

That is how it could be.

Instead, the kids are hearing (and they do hear and know what goes on) that Norfolk Southern is evil and causing sickness and dirtyness. How sad.

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