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Parker Road (SH 83) Planning/ Environmental Linkages Study

Slide 1

Parker Road (SH 83) Planning/ Environmental Linkages Study

Peer Review

December 2, 2009

Slide 2

Why PEL?

  • Planning process in Colorado would identify corridor vision/ project priorities but...
  • Typically had to be backtrack and revisit vision/ priorities when we got to NEPA

Slide 3

Why PEL?

  • Now, has become more typical to follow PEL guidance in corridor planning studies, and document it, so that future NEPA can use studies as a starting point.
  • Involve resource agencies upfront (intense involvement with first "pilot" efforts — define expectations for future PEL efforts)

Slide 4

Parker Road Location

This slide is a map showing where Parker Road is located.

Slide 5

SH 83 — Issues for Defining Improvements

  • Major Regional Arterial
  • Need to balance
    • Regional Mobility
    • Local Access — businesses and residents
  • Parks, Wetlands, Historic Properties, and Listed Species
  • Long Corridor/ Limited Funding

Slide 6

Parker Road Corridor Study

This slide shows two photographs of Parker Road

Slide 7

SH 83 — Our PEL Process

  • As one of the first PELs in Colorado — was a pilot; we wanted to document resource agency buy-in.
  • Strong partnership with FHWA and local project sponsor.
  • Early and broad agency involvement — face to face interviews — Identified key resources; "worst case scenario" impacts; and discussed PEL process.
  • Significant public involvement — and documented it

Slide 8

SH 83 PEL Matrix

  • Thorough documentation of expectations for each agency — what they like/ fear about PEL
  • Under what conditions findings could flow directly into NEPA
  • Each agency is different — one size doesn't fit all
  • Defined how/ when agency wants to be involved in future PELs

Slide 9

Colorado's PEL Partnering Agreement

  • Outcome of this open dialogue about expectations/ desires for PEL led to Partnering Agreement — Management Level support
  • 15 signatories
    • EPA, Forest Service, SHPO, DNR, USACE, CDPHE, USFWS
    • Regional Transit — RTD

Slide 10

The Partnering Agreement

  • "Signatories are committed to performing meaningful and efficient environmental analyses that are pertinent to the decision-making process. This is a two-way conversation intended to not only address the needs of the transportation agencies but to be supportive of [other] agencies' charters, goals, and initiatives."
  • "This Agreement does not affect the responsibilities that each agency has by law."

Slide 11

CO FHWA PEL Questionnaire — Documenting the Results

  • Innovation of FHWA in Colorado
  • Grew out of strong partnering between CDOT/ FHWA/ Resource Agencies
  • Documents PEL process, findings, agreements, etc.
  • Bound into final study report, so can serve as starting point for staff entering future NEPA studies

Slide 12

Benefits of PEL

  • Sets context for large corridors — broader understanding for better decisions/ better projects
  • Smaller projects cleared later in NEPA with minimal backtracking
  • Early agency involvement — when they can have an impact on alternatives (to avoid/ minimize)

Slide 13

Benefits of PEL

  • Allows study of logical sequence for efficient project improvements
  • Cross-training of planners and environmental practitioners
  • Less expensive

Slide 14

Lessons Learned from SH 83 PEL

  • In order for PEL to function as a tiering document for future NEPA, cumulative impacts should be done.
  • Not all agencies want to be involved in the same way, or at the same time.
  • Some resource agencies are also landowners and have a dual interest.

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