For all of the discussion of how the new arena in SoDo would hurt traffic, you’d think this would be a bigger deal.
Coal trains can easily be 8,000 feet long, which means that it takes more than 6 minutes to clear a street crossing when traveling at 15 mph, a pretty typical speed in an urban area. Then factor in 30 seconds of street closure time for warning signals to sound or crossing arms to stop traffic, plus 30 seconds to re-start traffic after the train has cleared the intersection. Add it all up and you get this: Bellingham’s new loaded coal trains would completely cut off street intersections by somewhere between 105 minutes and 125 minutes of every day.
I don’t want to be disingenuous here. I support more rail infrastructure at the port and oppose the coal trains for non-traffic reasons much more than this. Still, if the trains come, hopefully they come with more infrastructure to mitigate this.