Sunday, September 30, 2012

GPT: Scoping Comment No. 7

Safety & Levels of Service at Rail Crossings 

I am concerned that the many unspoken potential off-site impacts appear to grossly out-weigh those strictly on-site impacts identified in GPT's Application.For example, the 48 railway crossings in or near Whatcom County listed below and on the Communitywise website:

While some of these crossings are tunnels and over-passes that do limit at-grade interferences, most are at-grade and seem to entail significant and expensive mitigation that GPT apparently intends to externalize onto citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions. 
• The tunnels listed do represent choke points at which blockages could disrupt all train service.
• The over-passes listed have a similar potential as choke points should a derailment or structural damage be encountered for any reason, including natural causes.
• The at-grade crossings present the clear potential for vehicle & pedestrian accidents, as well as Level of Service degradation at varying degrees of impact to other vehicular traffic as well as to people, businesses and public marinas and ferry services that provide essential water transportation to remote locations where people live, work and recreate. Many municipalities, including Bellingham, have long since  adopted Level of Service 'E' for major streets, leaving little room for additional traffic delays, which could degrade the LOS to "F", a failing grade.   
A comprehensive study is required to clearly define likely problems caused by the anticipated greatly increased unit coal train rail traffic at each of these 48 railway crossings, as well as the much greater number outside of Whatcom County, as well as to assess reasonable mitigation and all its associated costs and potential funding.
The Applicant would appear to need the expectation of bearing very substantial costs in this regard, with the necessary amounts to be determined in consultation with the applicable jurisdictions.

1. Bow Siding North  [Skagit County]

2. Bow Siding South  [Skagit County]

3. At Grade
Colony Road - MilePost 80.94  [Skagit County]

4. At Grade
S. Blanchard - MP 81.21  [Skagit County]

5. At Grade
S Legg Road - MP 81.41  [Skagit County]

6. At Grade
N Legg Road - 81.81  [Skagit County]

7. Under-crossing
Chuckanut Drive - MP 82.4  [Skagit County]

8. Tunnel
Chuckanut Point Road

9. Tunnel
Chuckanut Shore Road

10. At Grade
Yacht Club Road - MP 89.37 [Main access to Larrabee State Park Boat Launch Area & expensive homes]

11. Tunnel
Clark's Point

12. South Bellingham Siding
South end
13. South Bellingham Siding
North End

14. At Grade
Harris Avenue - MP 93.34 [Major conflict with Alaska State Ferry Terminal, AMTRAK, Businesses near water, City of Bellingham Wastewater Treatment Plant, Port of Bellingham's Marine Park/water access] 

15. At Grade
6th Street Ferry Access - MP 93.46 [Popular Public Boat Launch site]

16. At Grade
Bayview Drive Boulevard Park - MP 94.24 [Only vehicular access to very popular City of Bellingham Park on waterfront, Woods Coffee, Taylor Street Dock Overwater Walkway]

17. At Grade
Bay Trail Boulevard Park - MP ?? [Very popular pedestrian/cycling trail]

18. Siding
Cornwall Landfill - South
19. Siding
Cornwall Landfill - North

20. At Grade
Wharf Street - MP ?? [Access to Port of Bellingham Waterfront Area, Cornwall Avenue entrances to former G-P property Redevelopment Site]

21. At Grade
Cornwall Avenue - MP 96.33

22. At Grade
Beal Memorial - MP 96.33

23. At Grade
Laurel Street - MP 96.65

24. Over-crossing
Chestnut & Bay Streets - MP 96.81

25. At Grade
Central Avenue - MP 97.02 [Major access point to former G-P property to be redeveloped, Whatcom Waterway]

26. Siding
Roeder South - MP 97.13 [Access to Waterfront]
27. At Grade
C Street - MP 97.16 [Access to Waterfront]

28. At Grade
F Street - MP ?? [Major Access to Waterfront, Commercial business complex, Hotels, Restaurants, POB Marina], USCG hdqtrs]

29. Siding
Roeder N - MP ??

30. Over-crossing
Squalicum Parkway - MP 96.3 [Major Truck Access to Waterfront Businesses, Marina, Port of Bellingham, and Redevelopment Site]

31. Over-crossing
Seaview - MP 98.43

32. Under-crossing
Locust Avenue - MP 99.66

33. At Grade
Cliffside Drive - MP 100.3 [Access to Waterfront]

34. Over-crossing
Marine Drive - P 100.9

35. At Grade
Wynn Road - MP 101.1

36. At Grade

Country Lane - MP 101.62
37. At Grade
Rural Avenue - MP 103.12

38. At Grade
Slater Road - MP 103.6
39. At Grade
Hovander Road - MP 105.06

40. Under-crossing @ Ferndale Main Street - MP 105

41. At Grade @ Ferndale 2nd Avenue - MP ?? 
42. Siding @ Ferndale - South
43. At Grade @ Ferndale Washington Street - MP 106.2
44. At Grade @ Ferndale Thornton Street - MP ??
45. At Grade Ferndale Brown Road - MP 108.6
46. At Grade @ Ferndale Grandview Road - MP 109.4
47. Siding  @ Ferndale N - MP ??

48. At Grade @ Cove Road - MP ??