Significant and Adverse Impact

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday approved Bolton’s petition to be designated a “surrounding community” in relation to the Cordish Company proposed slots casino to be located just off Route 117 in Leominster. It is an acknowledgement that the casino, if built, will likely have a significant impact on traffic in town, and it gives Bolton a strengthened hand in negotiating an impact agreement with the casino developer.Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 1.12.44 PM

The Commission’s traffic consultant noted “that it is conceivable that Route 117 in Bolton could provide access for 20% or more of the casino related trips.” That math works out to well over 500,000 additional vehicle trips passing through town annually. And the town’s petition argued that the real number could be even higher.

The consultant concluded: “As a result of the level of casino related traffic estimated to pass through the Town of Bolton while traveling to the casino site, based on the information that has been reviewed and evaluated, and based on the above factors considered in this surrounding community evaluation, it is our opinion that there would be a significant and adverse traffic impact.

Next steps: the town and the developer now have 30 days to negotiate an impact agreement or come to a deal through arbitration.

Below is the full 75 page report from the Mass Gaming Commission, if you’d like to see all the detail.


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3 Responses to Significant and Adverse Impact

  1. Steven Erat says:

    When the big number 500,000 is bandied about, it does sound like it would be a big impact. I would find it more useful to know additional, specific metrics such as the projected number of cars per hour expressed as an absolute and as a relative increase to current traffic levels.

    For example, working with some back of the envelope numbers, if you divide 500,000/year into the number of weeks, then make an estimate that half of all that traffic in the week will occur on a weekend, and then estimate that the majority of that traffic will occur in a 12 hour period, you end up with a rate of about 200 cars per hour during those peak hours on the weekend. Roughly 2-5 more cars per minute traveling down 117 on a typical Saturday afternoon. Based on my very subjective experience, I’d guess that there’s already 20-50 cars a minute on 117 on any given Saturday. The projected increase would then be in the ballpark of a 10% increase, again as a rough guesstimate of the peak load. Just like the Drake Equation, slide the numbers around a bit and you get a sense of the plus/minus range.

    As a Bolton citizen that wants to know the real world, practical impact this will have on how I experience driving on Main St., specific numbers like my guesstimate would allow me to better judge how I feel about that impact.

    • boltoncenter says:

      I think most of what you’re looking for is in the report that accompanies the post. They’ve tried to model peak hours versus non-peak, weekends, etc. True, the casino would be open 24/7, 365 days a year so the volume is spread out and diluted –however peak travel to the casino (for dinner, shows, evening gaming) would overlap with portions of the evening westbound crawl. Even the non-peak (say overnight) additional traffic however will trigger additional public safety workload. Check out the report. For me, when an independent expert evaluation concludes with “significant and adverse” impact, it’s worth paying attention to. -Roland

  2. CiaO says:

    The most alarming paragraph in this report is on p 21, 4th Para… where the developer says “This figure is derived from a market study that forecasts casino visits by municipality. The study assumes that a Category 1 casino will be constructed in eastern Mass reducing traffic to the project (Leominster site) from areas closer to the Category 1 casino. Consequently communities east of I-495 will not contribute as heavily to the Leominster market as their populations indicate.”

    TO me, this means, their traffic numbers are just wild guesses, since we don’t know where the category 1 casino is going (Milford just voted no). It is bizarre that they would minimize the count coming from the most populated towns/cities east of us.
    I am very concerned that the fixation with the math misrepresents the real problem to Bolton residents– basically we live with bad traffic at predictable times, morning and evening commute times for two thirds of the work days (summer and school vacations are OK). But with this entertainment complex (calling it a slots parlor makes it sound small and cozy), we will be having longer and more frequent traffic congestion, all year round, and all weekend long. The bigger the show, the worse the traffic. Foxboro and Lee and other towns live with similar traffic issues with their occasional events, but nothing like the frequency that this proposal would be.

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