Thursday, November 24, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Meeting Not To Miss

Do you bike the USDA Campus in Beltsville? If so, you need to know about
and fight the proposed CSX Baltimore-Washington Rail Intermodal Facility!

Don't let your eyes glaze over that long name--it spells bad news for your
favorite local biking route.

The rail intermodal facility will be a 70 acre industrial site where trains
and trucks exchange large cargo containers of goods being shipped all over
the country. The state of Maryland needs to build a new one somewhere south
of Baltimore's Howard Street Tunnel to be a part of a new transport system
using "double-stack" train cars (These can carry cargo stacked higher than
normal trains we are familiar with--which is more efficient, and hooray for
that, but Beltsville is NOT the place for such a facility!)

The State is considering four possible locations for this new facility, and
one of them is in Beltsville, bounded by Sunnyside Avenue on the South,
Edmonston/Kenilworth Avenue (201) on the East, Powder Mill Road on the
North, and the CSX rail line to the West. Local cyclists will recognize this
as immediately adjacent to the USDA campus, a popular local biking area.

Construction of the intermodal facility will have the following impact on
the area:
A variance would be obtained to destroy wetlands and forested flood plains
currently designated at permanent open space by law.
Six private homes on the property would be displaced, and quality of life
for another 140 or so homes within a quarter mile would be impacted by
noise, light, pollution, and vibration.
Local roads--already at or near capacity--would see about 350 truck trips a
day directly related to the facility. (Do you want to bike with THAT?)

All three of the other sites being considered are closer to the port of
Baltimore and already designated as industrial sites. CSX claims that the
facility will bring jobs to the area, but studies show that such facilities
generally bring only 35 jobs to any area where they are established. The
quality-of-life price for those 35 jobs is simply too high. Other
development projects (such as the proposed Konterra town center for the
Laurel area, which the intermodal facility may endanger) will provide much
more bang for the buck in terms of jobs.

Selecting the Beltsville site does not make sense for a myriad of reasons,
and we must make sure the people in charge understand this!

To learn more about the intermodal facility project, check here:

To learn about some of the community efforts to fight it, check here:

The Maryland Department of Transportation will be holding several
information workshops in November. The workshop for the Beltsville area will

Monday November 21, 2011
7 PM to 9 PM
Beltsville Acadamy
4300 Wicomico Avenue
Beltsville MD 20705

Show up, learn more, and connect with others in your community to fight

Constantia Rioux