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Have concerns about the changes the BNSF Intermodal will bring?

For anyone who's interested, there is a meeting scheduled for tomorrow night at the library regarding the US 56 Corridor Study. It is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.

From the Edgerton Insights blog (http://edgertonks.blogspot.com/2009/12/december-22-2009-for-immediate-release.html):

"City of Edgerton Officials to Participate in US-56 Corridor Management Study Public Officials Meeting

Representatives from the Edgerton Governing Body will be participating in an upcoming US-56 Corridor Management Study Public Officials meeting. The meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2010 and will begin around 7:00 pm. The meeting will take place at the Baldwin City Library (800 7th Street). The focus of this Public Officials Briefing is to keep elected officials and local leaders informed on the project’s progress, and to continue to involve them in the planning effort as the study moves forward with the Corridor Management Plan.

The Consultants will provide an overview of transportation elements, access management recommendations, and public involvement to date. You may visit the project website www.us56corridorplan.org for more information and updates throughout the planning process.

KDOT and the Consultants will conduct open house meetings that will be open to the general public on February 9th and 11th. More information regarding these events will be made available closer to the dates of these events.

The US-56 Corridor Management Plan is a 15-month study effort between the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and its partners, Douglas County, Johnson County, the Cities of Baldwin City, Edgerton, Gardner, the Lawrence/Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Mid-America Regional Council. The 22-mile US-56 corridor area spans from US-59 west of Baldwin City in Douglas County to I-35 on the northeast edge of the city of Gardner in Johnson County. "

January 11, 2010

BNSF Intermodal/US 56 Issues

Comments

hipgrrrrl 4 years, 7 months ago

There also was a mention in the Lawrence JW on 01/05/2010 (Road Projects Keep Moving in 2010 - Mark Fagan) that "Officials plan to conduct an open house from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the American Legion hall in Baldwin City to discuss progress on the project." Said project refers to the US 56 Corridor Study.

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Monkey 4 years, 7 months ago

I think is nice to have concerns about what the Railroad is going to do, but honestly does anyone think that they can really do anything to stop it? And why would you want to? This is Baldwin's chance at getting some industrial to help pay for some of our infistructure. The Rail Road is going to put the intermodel in regaurdless of what anyone has to say about it. The only thing that anyone is doing is spending money to prevent it that doesn't need to be spent. Everyone complains about not having enough jobs, well heres the chance to create some with warehouses, factories, and trucking companies. Everyone likes a small town, so do I. We live too close to other cities to remain small, we should take advantage of it while we can!! Heres the thing, If you think about it the traffic will have a minimal impact on our city, there will be an exit put in on I -35.

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hipgrrrrl 4 years, 7 months ago

Actually, while I can see the validity of desiring more jobs that are "local", there is a massive impact that will be felt by us in Baldwin - particularly those of us who live in close proximity to US 56. BNSF has even acknowleged a vast amount of truck traffic (based on their own projections of total traffic volume) that are expected to utilize county roads - not I-35.

Additionally, I am concerned about who is going handle the damage to our main thoroughfare road once we have semis blazing through Baldwin. Who's gonna have the money? The railroad isn't going to pay :). Who's going to compensate me for the noise pollution? The bottoming out of the value of my home? Granted, Edgerton will get the bulk of the negatives, but they will also gain the bulk of the positives - if there are any.

On top of that, I'm all for environmentally sound development. As it stands, the plans submitted by BNSF aren't, according to some well known entities. I also think it's too close to us and the fallout experienced by other communties which are in close proximity to other intermodals has not been positive. It's been hugely detrimental not only from a community health standpoint, but also in regards to property valuations.

Frankly, I want it in someone else's backyard. There are alternate sites that would still provide relatively easy commutes for those who might live in Baldwin and would like to take advantage of whatever employment opportunities there might be.

Regardless of my opinion, however, I want KDOT and the folks down the road to know that I am VERY concerned about any level of impact the building and development of this intermodal might have on me. I want them to know that I do NOT want more truck traffic running behind my house. I may not be able to stop the railroad, but I can sure let people know where I stand and what my concerns are.

Besides, what else is there to do in Baldwin City on a wintery Tuesday night? It's too cold to hang out in the Kwik Shop parking lot :).

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loosecaboose 4 years, 7 months ago

As I have said before, the main thing we will get in Baldwin is greatly increased truck traffic hauling trailers to Lawrence, Topeka and points west. From our yard in KCK, we sent trailers as far west as Goodland. Having worked at a railroad I am very concerned, especially as I know that the retread tires the railroads buy are meant for short trips only.

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Monkey 4 years, 7 months ago

I see your concerns, and they are valid. I am not by any means trying to discredit you concerns or opinions. I just find it funny for those primarily that live in Gardner that keep thinking that they can regulate what happens, they lost that chance when they de annexed the property. As far as maintaining 56 HWY that is KDOTs responsibility. I do however think that there is too much money spent on lawyers to fight the railroad than there should be. If you are concerned about truck traffic then contact your city council, Mayor, City administrator, and Police Chief about ordinances, laws and enforcement that can be created in the city. And yes it is too figgin cold to hang out in the kwik shop parking lot

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jen 4 years, 7 months ago

The Mayor will not be able to take this on his self. He needs the backing and pressure of concerned citizens in the community. Numbers speak in volume and the goal is to speak before it is too late. If people do not speak up now ultimately Baldwin will loose. There was a survey done asking the question in which community and areas would be most affected by the intermodal. I found it interesting that there were several responses coming from the Gardner and Edgerton areas that said Baldwin City. Driving through Baldwin is not the same as driving on one specific side of town. It is directly in the middle. Encouraging a new road from 56hwy to Desoto is an idea that has been brought up several times. The Sunflower Ammo Plant is sitting waiting for something to fill it's space.

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jen 4 years, 7 months ago

I mean "lose" not "loose". No pun intended loosecaboose.

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Monkey 4 years, 7 months ago

You are right the Mayor himself can not do anything, but he can bring it up.

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hipgrrrrl 4 years, 7 months ago

Let's just be thankful that the Mayor was in attendence. Does anyone on this forum know what the official city stance on this issue is?

KDOT says they will have the figures available later regarding what the level of KDOT anticipated traffic on US 56 has precipated this study...obviously, there is an anticipation the volumne will increase. However, that isn't exactly rocket science :).

I quite liked the laid back and rosy spin put on the whole explaination of the study - that it was done mostly because that's just what KDOT does things like this to stay on top of things...and the fact that KDOT put an application in for $50 mill of TIGER funds on BNSF's behalf to the Feds. I wasn't aware that they were planning on handing over the entireity of those monies to the railroad if they are received. It was also interesting to note that the whole "corridor" study was done under the assumption that the intermodal will be put in the projected location.

Perhaps I'll start petitioning the City to change the ordinance regarding fence height. I'm thinkin' a 12 foot concrete bunker along the perimeter of my yard might (maybe, if we're lucky) cut down on some of the truck noise pollution that's comin'.

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WildHorses 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm keeping my ear to the ground on this and trying to sort through pros and cons, rather than forming a hasty opinion. Some good points have been raised, but others seem very self serving and narrow. Here's 2 cents, then I'll go back to lurking.

It seems that if you're going to move within a stone's throw of a highway, a school, a university campus, an airport, a farm (etc., if you get the drift), you're naive to think its current level of traffic, noise, exhaust fumes, pig smells, or whatever the case may be, is not going to change--and maybe change rapidly!

Instead of whining about and fighting growth that may be good for the region as a whole, how about moving to an area where the highway is not in your backyard?

Some years back, when KCI moved to expand, a lot of people who had moved into cookie-cutter developments that were constructed long after the airport screamed and hollered about the increased noise, exhaust from jet fuel, and so on. As any fool might have realized, their houses had been built way too close to the existing airport--that's why they got a bargain on the places. When they moved in, no one guaranteed that the airport wouldn't grow over the years, and that's just what happened.

The airport did what it needed to do as a regional hub and people either moved or sucked it up. I expect the same will be true of BNSF. It is good for people to keep an eye on EPA compliance, but using your poor residential choice as an excuse to expect stasis doesn't have much merit. Build your 12-foot wall, landscape with dense bushes, or move away from highways that might become main arteries.

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hipgrrrrl 4 years, 7 months ago

Well, there are some valid points made by Wildhorses.

Yes, I moved into a home close to 56. Yes, soon after we relocated to bucolic Baldwin, I began to see signs up everywhere making statements about the Intermodal. Yes, I should have done research about it instead of just wondering what the heck an intermodal was. In our defense, it should be pointed out that there was NO indication based on the location of BC, the roads leading to and from it, and the total dearth of current or expected industrial development in the vicinity that would lead anyone to worry about an estimated 7,000 (fear-mongering estimate, I know) semi-trucks possibly blazing up and down the road behind my house.

So, bad choice on our part? Obviously so. There is no way I can sell my house for what we owe (again, likely a bad choice). Plus, nothing is moving in Baldwin. A sale is unlikely an option. A foreclosure doesn't sit well with me and is something I would like to avoid.

In the process of freaking out about the property value of my home, I began reading about Intermodals. It ain't pretty. While I can see that they could be necessary evils when it comes to economic development, all research shows that most sensible people would want them as far away from their homes as possible. There will be some good from the intermodal that will come to Baldwin but I also think there will be bad - regardless of the location of my home. I am a firm advocate of NIMBY regarding this potential development for a number of reasons, but won't claim that all of my reasons are altruistic.

Unlike Wildhorses, even if I have been foolish, I do not advocate sacrificing the greater good of my family for the good of the community. I will bend over backward to help my neighbor, I will donate what I can to help those in need, I will be as green as possible to help the environment left to my children, etc., etc. I do my best to adhere to Christian principals but I see absolutely nothing wrong with trying to make sure my family's health and financial safety isn't jeopardized. Perhaps I should apologize for not being remotely apologetic about that :).

So, as I've stated before, there are many potential problems with the development of this intermodal. Obviously some are related to the location of my current home. Some are not and these are the issues that are not just mine. Before any of us start thinking that we're gonna get all these fabulous benefits from BNSF, I would suggest that it's rare to get something for nothing that's worth having. There's a lot of info out there online written by people that live close to intermodals and it's educational - but not particularly uplifting.

Unfortunately, city code prohibits me from building a 12 foot wall...and my budget probably does as well :).

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WildHorses 4 years, 7 months ago

Well spoken, hipgrrrrl.. Sorry if I took you to task. As you know, there are many angles to this issue and many viewpoints.

I am not going on record to say the advantages of the intermodal are overwhelmingly convincing--I'm just cautioning that we should all continue learning what we can and try to keep an open mind--and not to let ourselves be overly influenced by our own personal situations (whether that means living in "the line of fire" as you do or having a fabulous job offer from BNSF, which would bias someone the other way). We should be as objective as possible.

As for city code, look into getting a variance. Many cities are very reasonable about allowing them as long as the neighbors don't object. Don't know about Baldwin, but it might be worth a look. If you built the fence in sections (as money allowed), it would maybe be in place by the time you actually needed it.

Or go to Kansas Forest Service's website: https://www.kansasforests.org/public_saps/Welcome.aspx

They sell bundles of shelter belt trees and shrubbery for practically nothing. A thick line of trees with a hedge under it might do the trick. Plant this year & get a head start on filtering highway noise and pollution. Get your neighbors on board & you could go in on the tree bundles. You're probably not the only one with those concerns.

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