It’s getting to the point where I’m ashamed to admit I live in the Brunswick West neighborhood that borders on — I hope — the site of the Amtrak layover and maintenance facility.

My “Not In My Backyard” neighbors, judging from their “demands” as presented in a recent report in The Times Record (“Depot debate deepens,” Jan. 27), are sticking fast to their tactics of delaying the construction and raising the cost. Some of them are probably still insisting that Brunswick East is a superior site.

It just so happened that I was passing through Saco, musing upon these things, when the Downeaster pulled into the station. The gates went down, everyone stopped, and eventually the gates went up and we drove on our way.

I got to thinking that when the train comes to Brunswick, this experience will become commonplace.

I’m not keen on waiting at crossings, so I looked up the consultant’s siting report for the layover facility to see whether or not Brunswick West was the best choice on this account, as it is in so many others.

Numbers don’t lie: It’s Brunswick West by a long shot. The information is found on pages 12-15 of the report.

There are two crossings associated with Brunswick West. Together their annual average daily traffic (AADT) volume comes to 12,324 vehicles.

There are five crossings, including Maine Street and Cook’s Corner, but not counting Merrymeeting Plaza, associated with Brunswick East. Their AADT comes to 48,682 vehicles (more if you add the shopping center’s numbers).

All those vehicles stopped at crossings translate into a loss of time and money — four times as much if Amtrak goes to Brunswick East instead of Brunswick West.

Let’s imagine a hot August day when the summer people are in town and the farmers market is on the mall. Picture Maine Street blocked at least 10 times a day. Picture the Cook’s Corner intersection blocked at least 10 times a day.

Traffic will back up onto the freeway. Motorists will have to wait through “extra” lights.

I do not want to be stuck in a car at either place but if the layover facility is built at Brunswick East, I won’t have any choice.

It gets worse. Consider what the difference in sites means for the speedy and safe movement of emergency vehicles such as police cars, fire engines and ambulances.

Here is a choice for our police and fire departments, and for our local hospitals and health care providers: Would you rather have the gates come down and traffic stopped many times a day at Stanwood Street and Union Street? Or would you rather have the gates come down and traffic stopped many times a day at Maine Street and Park Row and Jordan Avenue and Merrymeeting Plaza and Cook’s Corner and Old Bath Road?

I’m sorry to use strong language, but it’s crazy dangerous to even consider putting the layover facility at Brunswick East. It’s an awful choice!

Anyone who cares about traffic and public safety has got to endorse Brunswick West. Finally, those of us in Brunswick, Freeport and Mid- coast Maine who are eagerly awaiting Amtrak’s arrival want the Downeaster now, with a full schedule of round trips.

Enough with the delays and NIMBY “demands.”

JEFF REYNOLDS lives in Brunswick.

[email protected]



Comments are not available on this story.