GPT Impacts on Emergency Response, Local Freight and Traffic Back-ups

New Analysis by Gibson Traffic Consultants“Cherry Point Commodity Export Facility Rail Operations City of Bellingham

Primary Documents:

Download Gibson Traffic Memorandum
____& Cover Letter
Press Release

Key Report Findings:

  • GPT trains to create “potentially severe consequences” for emergency response and traffic accidents in Bellingham.
  • New rail siding for GPT trains will exacerbate problems with longer delays.
  • Concludes that “preliminary analysis suggests potentially severe consequences for the City’s transportation plan and planned waterfront redevelopment, with increases in risk of accidents, impacts to the City’s levels of service, ability to provide effective emergency response times, and possible interference with local freight delivery systems important to the City’s economic recovery.”

Other Report Findings:

  • “A key question may be whether this interstate traffic from the coal trains will have the impact of reducing the availability of local rail spur business necessary to serve Bellingham businesses.  These issues can be analyzed as part of the economic impact analysis.”
  • “The City may wish to analyze the degree to which a doubling of freight traffic is expected to adversely affect the reliability of existing passenger rail schedules and also whether it will diminish opportunities to expand passenger rail.”
  • The report intends to “illustrate some of the potential significant problems and areas deserving detailed study during the SEPA and NEPA review for the facility.”

About This Report:  

This report was prepared by Gibson Traffic Consultants Inc. at the request of Communitywise Bellingham.  Gibson Traffic Consultants is a local company with expertise in transportation planning and traffic engineering.

The memorandum identifies some of the possible rail impacts associated with transport of commodities to the proposed Cherry Point Facility affecting the City of Bellingham and its access roads. It identifies the potential impacts on the City’s downtown waterfront, recreational and business area.  The intent is to provide City of Bellingham staff with information that may be useful as the City prepares comments on the scope of the GPT Environmental Impact Statement by providing some baseline data to help understand possible impacts and the issues involved in assessing any proposed mitigation.

The Communitywise Bellingham Report Series:

In March 2012, CWB began publishing a series of reports examining the potential environmental and economic impacts of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. The intention is to provide a solid, independently researched resource for the community.

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