Carolyn Lecque, a property owner in North Charleston's Liberty Hill neighborhood, has some questions about CARTA's plans for a new bus, train and taxi terminal at the nearby Amtrak station on Gaynor Avenue.
She wants to know how the $14 million project will affect the historic neighborhood whose name reflects its legacy as a home to freed slaves.
"What is going to be the benefit for Liberty Hill in terms of impact and quality of life?" she said.
For residents, the view across Gaynor is a water-filled ditch and railroad tracks running to the decrepit 1950s-era passenger terminal.
"Trains rumble through the area and shake the foundations of houses," Lecque said.
She hopes traffic from the new transportation hub will be routed away from Gaynor, which she thinks should be closed off into a cul-de-sac. The ditch could be beautified and maybe a noise barrier erected, she said.
To find out more, she will attend a Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority public meeting about the project from 6-8 p.m. Monday at the Danny Jones Recreation Complex at 1455 Monitor St. The event will include a presentation at 6:30 p.m. with a question-and-answer session to follow.
Liberty Hill is a quiet neighborhood surrounded by the hustle and bustle of North Charleston. Rivers, East Montague and Gaynor avenues bound the enclave of black history. The Amtrak station at the industrial end of Gaynor is where CARTA plans a two-story, 33,000-square-foot building to serve passenger trains, local and regional buses, taxis and limousines. In addition, CARTA plans to lease office, retail and restaurant space in the facility.
Mass transit activist William Hamilton said the project represents a huge opportunity for Liberty Hill.
"There's more going on here than a bus and train station," Hamilton said.
If the project is done right, real estate values will increase, and new business and employment opportunities will come to the community, he said.
CARTA board Chairman Elliott Summey agreed.
"Breathe some life back into that corridor," he said.
The project could include a museum explaining the history of Liberty Hill as well as community meeting space for residents, he said.
"It needs to be their building, too," he said.
The changes will happen quickly. CARTA will build the new passenger center within 30 months, a timetable that is a condition for receiving $11.6 million in federal funding.
CARTA officials said they will provide primary access for the new transportation hub from Rivers Avenue.
A traffic study of the project and its potential effect on Liberty Hill is planned. Numerous traffic management solutions will be considered.
CARTA is moving the bus and train station project from its West Montague Avenue location because of rail line issues.
No decision has been made on whether to tear down the Amtrak station or incorporate it in some way within the design of the new center.
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