The avoidance of right of way acquisition often assumed by planners and designers of elevated rail systems tends to be unrealized, due the massive footprints of elevated rail structures and their construction processes. Virtually all property below elevated rail structures is rendered unusable, as are most adjacent land uses and street networks. Ironically, the land and property required to be purchased and/or condemned for construction of elevated rail systems may greatly exceed that which would have been required if the rails were placed in the middle of a busy street or highway.
Whenever elevated rail structures are planned and mapped out, the property directly below the planned structures will not conform to the boundries or edges of the finished structures: But instead, must conform to the legal boundries of the land parcels which the structures are built over. Whether the structure’s right of way occupies the entire land parcel, or a small portion of it, the rail construction authority will be legally bound to purchase the entire parcel of land, unless a complicated access easement or division of the parcrl may be accomplished. Generally, however, construction of elevated rail structures on a parcel of land would tend to render it unusable or undevelopable.
Right of way must be acquired for all road bed and structures providing transitional access to elevated rails from at grade rail sections of systems, as well as, at station and access facilities providing transition to street level elevations. An inability to adequately mitigate the negative impacts of elevated rail systems on adjacent development, settings and environments may preclude acquisition of certain rights of way, thus curtailing or precluding location of elevated rail facilities in planned locations.