Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Transit Improvements to the Red Line, Cook County, IL, 45276-45279 [E9-20963]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES 45276 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 168 / Tuesday, September 1, 2009 / Notices • Build Alternative 1; adding one general purpose lane in each direction. • Build Alternative 2; adding two general purpose lanes in each direction. • Build Alternative 3; adding one toll lane to the existing carpool lane in each direction that will be managed together (Federal Highway Administration tolling authority required); also adding one general purpose lane in each direction north of Euclid Street to I–605. • Build Alternative 4; on I–405 from Euclid Street to I–605, providing additional general purpose lane at various locations and improving various interchanges. • Transportation Systems Management (TSM)/Transportation Demand Management (TDM)/Mass Transit Alternative; making only lowcost operational improvements, rather than major capital projects, to maximize the efficiency of the present highway system and expand travelers’ transportation choices. Based on a Preliminary Environmental Analysis Report (PEAR) for the I–405 Improvement Project, it is anticipated that the project may require the following Federal permits: Section 404 Permit for filling/dredging waters of the United States and Section 401 Water Quality Certification. The environmental document will analyze factors that include, but are not limited to, the following: Aesthetics, cultural resources, biological resources, hazardous wastes and materials, public services and facilities, water quality, floodplain, noise, air quality, recreation, community impacts, and transportation/ traffic. Some of these alternatives may have impacts on the above mentioned resources, as well as on water quality, cultural resources, parks/recreation facilities, and community character and cohesion; the environmental documentation process will assess for potential impacts and suggest ways to reduce or mitigate them. This document is available at http:// www.octa.net/405improvement and http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist12/405/ index.htm. Letters describing the proposed action and soliciting comments will be sent to appropriate Federal, State, Participating Agencies, various Tribal governments, and local agencies, and to private organizations and citizens who have previously expressed or are known to have interest in this proposal. The environmental review process will begin in Fall 2009. Public scoping meetings will be held in Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Westminster, and Rossmoor, California, on September 22, 23, 30, and October 01, respectively. VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:18 Aug 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 In addition, a public hearing will be held. Public notice will be given of the time and place of the meeting and hearing. The draft EIS will be available for public and agency review and comment prior to the public hearing. To ensure that the full range of issues related to this proposed action are addressed and all significant issues identified, comments, and suggestions are invited from all interested parties. Comments or questions concerning this proposed action and the EIS should be directed to Ms. Deshpande at Caltrans at the address provided above. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Research, Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program.) Issued on: August 26, 2009. Cindy Vigue, Director, State Programs, Federal Highway Administration, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. E9–21040 Filed 8–31–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–22–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Transit Administration Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Transit Improvements to the Red Line, Cook County, IL AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Department of Transportation. ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. SUMMARY: The FTA, as the lead federal agency, and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) intend to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Red Line Extension Project in Cook County, Illinois. CTA operates the rapid transit system in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The proposed project, described more completely within, would extend the Red Line, a heavy rail transit line, to connect the 95th Street Station to 130th Street. The purpose of this Notice of Intent is to alert interested parties regarding the intent to prepare the EIS, to provide information on the nature of the proposed project and possible alternatives, to invite public participation in the EIS process. DATES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS, including the project’s purpose and need, the alternatives to be considered, the impacts to be evaluated, and the methodologies to be used in the evaluations should be sent to CTA on or before October 27, 2009. See ADDRESSES PO 00000 Frm 00118 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 below for the address to which written public comments may be sent. Two public scoping meetings to accept comments on the scope of the EIS will be held on the following dates: • Tuesday, September 22, 2009; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the Historic Pullman Visitor Center, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, IL 60628. • Thursday, September 24, 2009; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the Woodson Regional Chicago Public Library, 9525 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60628. The buildings used for the scoping meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities. Any individual who requires special assistance, such as a sign language interpreter, to participate in the scoping meeting should contact Mr. Darud Akbar, Government and Community Relations Officer, at 312– 681–2708 or dakbar@transitchicago.com, five days prior to the meeting. Scoping materials describing the project purpose and need and the alternatives proposed for analysis will be available at the meetings and on the CTA Web site http:// www.transitchicago.com/RedEIS. Paper copies of the scoping materials may also be obtained from Mr. Darud Akbar, Government and Community Relations Officer, at 312–681–2708 or dakbar@transitchicago.com. An interagency scoping meeting will be held on Thursday, September 24 at 10:30 a.m. at CTA Headquarters, in Conference Room 2C, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60661. Representatives of Native American tribal governments and of all federal, state, regional and local agencies that may have an interest in any aspect of the project will be invited to be participating or cooperating agencies, as appropriate. ADDRESSES: Comments will be accepted at the public scoping meetings or they may be sent to Mr. Jeffrey Busby, General Manager, Strategic Planning, Chicago Transit Authority, P. O. Box 7602, Chicago, IL 60680–7602, or via email at RedExtension@transitchicago.com. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Werner, Community Planner, Federal Transit Administration, Region V, 200 West Adams Street, Suite 320, Chicago, IL 60606, phone 312–353– 3879, e-mail david.werner@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Scoping The FTA and CTA invite all interested individuals and organizations, public agencies, and Native American Tribes to comment on E:\FR\FM\01SEN1.SGM 01SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 168 / Tuesday, September 1, 2009 / Notices mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES the scope of the EIS, including the project’s purpose and need, the alternatives to be studied, the impacts to be evaluated, and the evaluation methods to be used. Comments should address (1) alternatives that may better achieve the project’s need and purposes at less cost or with fewer adverse impacts, and (2) any significant environmental impacts relating to the alternatives. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ‘‘scoping’’ (40 CFR 1501.7) has specific and fairly limited objectives, one of which is to identify the significant issues associated with alternatives that will be examined in detail in the document, while simultaneously limiting consideration and development of issues that are not truly significant. It is in the NEPA scoping process that potentially significant environmental impacts— those that give rise to the need to prepare an environmental impact statement—should be identified; impacts that are deemed not to be significant need not be developed extensively in the context of the impact statement, thereby keeping the statement focused on impacts of consequence. Transit projects may also generate environmental benefits; these should be highlighted as well—the impact statement process should draw attention to positive impacts, not just negative impacts. Once the scope of the environmental study, including significant environmental issues to be addressed, is settled, an annotated outline of the document will be prepared and shared with interested agencies and the public. The outline serves at least three worthy purposes, including (1) Documenting the results of the scoping process; (2) contributing to the transparency of the process; and (3) providing a clear roadmap for concise development of the environmental document. Purpose and Need for the Project The purpose of the Red Line Extension project is to reduce travel times to jobs for far South Side and South Suburban residents and improve the performance of the existing Red Line 95th Street Station terminal. The project would also provide an opportunity to support economic development initiatives. The need for the project is based on the following considerations: lack of park-and-ride, passenger drop-off, and poor pedestrian facilities limit access to the existing 95th Street terminal of the Red Line; customers accessing the existing terminal facility by bus experience measureable delays resulting VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:18 Aug 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 from poor performance of surrounding arterial intersections, insufficient space for bus loading and unloading, and insufficient space for bus layovers; congested bus and passenger conditions at the existing terminal station and bus facility result in safety issues and diminish the attractiveness of transit as an alternative to other travel modes; roadway performance in the project area is adversely impacted by narrow arterial streets and frequent at-grade freight rail crossings; and, the project area population is highly transit-dependent, minority and low-income. Project Location and Environmental Setting The proposed heavy rail transit (HRT) project area lies about 11 miles south of the Chicago Central Area (commonly referred to as the ‘‘Loop’’). The limits of the project area are from 95th Street on the north to 130th Street on the south. The Calumet-Sag Channel/Little Calumet River extends along the southern edge of the project area and Lake Calumet is located to the east. The project area includes parts of eight community areas in the far South of the City of Chicago. Community areas include Washington Heights, Morgan Park, Roseland, Pullman, West Pullman, South Deering, Hegewisch and Riverdale. The project area encompasses significant residential (primarily single family), industrial (existing and vacant), transportation, and commercial developments. The locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the proposed Red Line Extension project was approved by the Chicago Transit Board for further study in the EIS on August 12, 2009. The LPA would extend the heavy rail transit line from the 95th Street Station south along the I–57 Expressway to the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) right-of-way near Eggleston Avenue. From that point, the line extends south from I–57 along the UPRR corridor to approximately 111th Street where it turns southeast along existing railroad and industrial right-of-way to terminate in the vicinity of 130th Street. The extension would add 5.3 new route miles of rapid transit to the existing Red Line, four additional stations at approximately 103rd, 111th, 115th, and 130th Streets with new parkand-ride and bus terminal facilities at each station. Alternatives The Red Line Extension Final Alternatives Analysis Report (2009) prepared by CTA identified three alternatives for further consideration in the EIS. These alternatives include: A No Build Alternative, Transportation PO 00000 Frm 00119 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 45277 System Management (TSM) Alternative, and the UPRR HRT Alternative (the LPA). Additionally, the Halsted Street HRT Alternative from the Red Line Extension Alternatives Analysis Screen 3 Report (2009) will be considered in the EIS. No Build Alternative: The No Build Alternative is defined as the existing transportation system, plus any committed transportation improvements. Committed transportation improvements include projects that are already in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) financially constrained Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The Red Line project area has five bridge reconstructions, and several road improvement projects included in the FY 2007–2012 TIP. These improvements are primarily on highway segments in the vicinity of the project area and generally do not lie adjacent to or intersect with the proposed TSM or HRT alternatives. Bridge projects in the TIP include: Illinois 1 (Halsted Street) at the Little Calumet River; I–94 (Bishop Ford Expressway) at the Stony Island ramp and at Cottage Grove Road; I–57 at 103rd Street; and I–57 at Genoa Road. Road improvement projects include a variety of landscaping, safety fencing, and resurfacing projects, and coordination of signal timing on Stony Island Avenue from 95th Street north, and on 95th Street from Western Avenue east to Ewing Avenue. There is also a bicycle and pedestrian multi-use trail proposed to extend from the existing Centennial Trail in Lemont to the Burnham Greenway in Burnham. Bus transit service under the No Build Alternative would be focused on the preservation of existing services and projects. No significant changes to bus service are anticipated in the project area. All elements of the No Build Alternative are included in each of the other alternatives. Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative: A TSM Alternative is proposed because it is required as part of the New Starts evaluative process; in this case, it does not meet the purposes of and need for the proposed project. The TSM Alternative is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that would operate between the 95th Street Station and 130th Street via East 95th Street, Michigan Avenue, East 127th Street, South Indiana Avenue, and East 130th Street. Proposed BRT service would operate in mixed traffic with traffic signal priority along 95th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street. The TSM Alternative is 5.5 miles long and would include four intermediate E:\FR\FM\01SEN1.SGM 01SEN1 mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES 45278 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 168 / Tuesday, September 1, 2009 / Notices stops at 103rd, 111th, 115th, and 130th Streets with park-and-ride facilities proposed at all of the new stops. The 95th Street terminal would be expanded to extend the existing bus bays along State and Lafayette Streets approximately 250-feet north to 94th Street to improve circulation and safety. The TSM alternative assumes that buses from the south would continue to serve the 95th Street Station. UPRR Heavy Rail Transit (HRT) Alternative/Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA): The proposed LPA would operate between the existing Red Line 95th Street Station and 130th Street. The line would be on an elevated structure from the 95th Street as it heads south along the I–57 Expressway for nearly one-half mile until reaching the UPRR corridor in the vicinity of Eggleston Avenue. It would then turn south along the UPRR corridor to approximately 111th Street where it would turn southeast. East of South Prairie Avenue the alignment would cross over the Canadian National/Metra tracks near 119th Street where it would transition to an at-grade profile and then continue southeast along the former Michigan Central/Indiana Harbor Belt (IHB) railroad right-of-way to terminate in the vicinity of 130th Street. The LPA is 5.3 miles long and would include three new intermediate stations at 103rd, 111th, and 115th Streets and a new terminal station at 130th Street with new park-and-ride and bus terminal facilities at each station. This alternative assumes that buses from the south would be re-routed to serve the new intermediate and terminal stations to speed passenger travel to downtown Chicago. The new HRT tracks would be placed immediately adjacent to the UPRR rightof-way on either the west side (West Side Option) or the east side (East Side Option). Both options would require adjacent property acquisition to accommodate the CTA right-of-way and station facilities at 103rd, 111th, and 115th Streets. Based on a preliminary analysis of the conceptual alignment plans and Cook County parcel data, the West Side Option would require up to 112 property acquisitions and/or displacements and the East Side Option would require 138. In addition, the West Side Option could impact Fernwood Parkway between 99th Street and 103rd Streets which could trigger a Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act evaluation in the EIS. The East Side Option could impact Wendell Smith Park adjacent to the I–57 Expressway which could also trigger a Section 4(f) evaluation in the EIS. Kensington VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:18 Aug 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 Playground Park near 118th Street would not be impacted by either option. There are two options for the 130th Street terminal station. The Red Line extension would continue south along the IHB right-of-way to either a south or west terminal station location along the north side of 130th Street, just west of the I–94 Bishop Ford Freeway. Halsted Street HRT Alternative: The proposed Halsted Street HRT Alternative would be operated on an elevated structure between the existing Red Line 95th Street Station and the Halsted Street/Vermont Avenue intersection in the vicinity of 127th Street. The alignment would follow the median of I–57 Expressway until reaching Halsted Street. It would then turn south onto Halsted Street and continue in the median to Vermont Avenue. The Halsted Street HRT Alternative is 5.0 miles long and would include three new intermediate stations at 103rd, 111th, 119th Streets and a new terminal station at Vermont Avenue with new park-and-ride and bus terminal facilities at the intermediate and terminal stations. This alternative assumes that buses from the south would be re-routed to serve the new intermediate and terminal stations to speed passenger travel to downtown Chicago. Near the proposed station areas, there may be additional impacts to adjacent land owners if land acquisition would be required for station facilities such as bus turnarounds or parking facilities. This would be most applicable at the proposed terminal station at 127th/ Vermont since several properties are located close to Halsted Street in this segment and there may be higher offstreet facility needs. Possible Effects The purpose of this EIS process is to study, in a public setting, the effects of the proposed project and its alternatives on the quality of the human environment. Areas of investigation for transit projects generally include, but are not limited to: Land use, development potential, land acquisition and displacements, historic resources, visual and aesthetic qualities, air quality, noise and vibration, energy use, safety and security, and ecosystems, including threatened and endangered species; investigation may reveal that the proposed project will not affect or affect substantially many of those areas. Measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any significant adverse impacts will be identified. PO 00000 Frm 00120 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FTA Procedures The regulations implementing NEPA, as well as provisions of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU), call for public involvement in the EIS process. Section 6002 of SAFETEA–LU requires that FTA and CTA do the following: (1) Extend an invitation to other Federal and nonFederal agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project to become ‘‘participating agencies;’’ (2) provide an opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public to help define the purpose and need for a proposed project, as well as the range of alternatives for consideration in the EIS; and (3) establish a plan for coordinating public and agency participation in, and comment on, the environmental review process. An invitation to become a participating or cooperating agency, with scoping materials appended, will be extended to other Federal and nonFederal agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project. It is possible that FTA and CTA will not be able to identify all Federal and non-Federal agencies and Native American tribes that may have such an interest. Any Federal or nonFederal agency or Native American tribe interested in the proposed project that does not receive an invitation to become a participating agency should notify at the earliest opportunity the Project Manager identified above under ADDRESSES. A comprehensive public involvement program and a Coordination Plan for public and interagency involvement will be developed for the project and posted on CTA’s Web site http:// www.transitchicago.com/RedEIS. The public involvement program includes a full range of activities including maintaining the project Web page on the CTA Web site and outreach to local officials, community and civic groups, and the public. Specific activities or events for involvement will be detailed in the project’s public participation plan. The Paperwork Reduction Act seeks, in part, to minimize the cost to the taxpayer of the creation, collection, maintenance, use, dissemination, and disposition of information. Consistent with this goal and with principles of economy and efficiency in government, it is FTA policy to limit insofar as possible distribution of complete printed sets of environmental documents. Accordingly, unless a specific request for a complete printed set of environmental documents is E:\FR\FM\01SEN1.SGM 01SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 168 / Tuesday, September 1, 2009 / Notices received (preferably in advance of printing), FTA and its grantees will distribute only the executive summary of the environmental document together with a Compact Disc of the complete environmental document. A complete printed set of the environmental document is available for review at the grantee’s offices and elsewhere; an electronic copy of the complete environmental document is also available on the grantee’s Web page. CTA may seek New Starts funding for the proposed project under 49 United States Code 5309 and will, therefore, be subject to New Starts regulations (49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 611). The New Starts regulations also require the submission of certain project-justification information to support a request to initiate preliminary engineering. This information is normally developed in conjunction with the NEPA process. Pertinent New Starts evaluation criteria will be included in the EIS. The EIS will be prepared in accordance with NEPA and its implementing regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR Parts 1500–1508) and with the FTA/Federal Highway Administration regulations ‘‘Environmental Impact and Related Procedures’’ (23 CFR Part 771). For FMCSA’s FY 2010 Grants notice published on August 12, 2009 (74 FR 40638), the following corrections are made: On page 40638, in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section, the contact for the Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks Grants (CVISN) is corrected from ‘‘CVISN Grants—Julie Lane, julie.lane@dot.gov, 202–385–2391’’ to ‘‘CVISN Grants—Quon Kwon, quon.kwan@dot.gov, 202–385–2389’’. On page 40638, in the FY 2010 Safety Grants Program section, the schedule for the New Entrant Safety Audit Grants and the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) High Priority Grants is corrected from ‘‘New Entrant Safety Audit Grants—September 1, 2009, MCSAP High Priority Grants—October 15, 2009’’ to ‘‘New Entrant Safety Audit Grants—October 15, 2009, MCSAP High Priority Grants—September 15, 2009.’’ Issued on: August 24, 2009. Marisol R. Simon, Regional Administrator, FTA Region V. [FR Doc. E9–20963 Filed 8–28–09; 8:45 am] Federal Aviation Administration BILLING CODE 4910–57–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Fiscal Year 2010 Safety Grants FMCSA is correcting a notice that appeared in the Federal Register on August 12, 2009 (74 FR 40638), which informed the public of FMCSA’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 safety grant opportunities and FMCSA’s changes to its application and award processes for grant programs. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information regarding this notice please contact, Ms. Theresa Rowlett at 202.366.6406. Staff may be reached at FMCSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., EST, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES VerDate Nov<24>2008 17:18 Aug 31, 2009 Jkt 217001 Issued on August 24, 2009. William A. Quade, Associate Administrator for Enforcement and Program Delivery. [FR Doc. E9–21019 Filed 8–31–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 4th Meeting: RTCA Special Committee 221: Aircraft Secondary Barriers and Alternative Flight Deck Security Procedures AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of RTCA Special Committee 221 meeting: Aircraft Secondary Barriers and Alternative Flight Deck Security Procedures. The FAA is issuing this notice to advise the public of a meeting of RTCA Special Committee 221: Aircraft Secondary Barriers and Alternative Flight Deck Security Procedures. DATES: The meeting will be held September 15–16, 2009. September 15th from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m., September 16th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at RTCA, Inc., MacIntosh—NBAA and Hilton—ATA Rooms, 1828 L Street, NW., Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: RTCA Secretariat, 1828 L Street, NW., Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036; telephone (202) 833–9339; fax (202) 833–9434; Web site http://www.rtca.org. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92– 463, 5 U.S.C., Appendix 2), notice is hereby given for a Special Committee 221: Aircraft Secondary Barriers and Alternative Flight Deck Security Procedures meeting. The agenda will include: • Welcome/Introductions/ Administrative Remarks; • Approval of Summary of the Second Meeting held June 23–24, 2009, RTCA Paper No. 174–09/SC221–013; • Leadership Comments; • Review of Threat Work Group— Status Report; • Review of Alternative Methods Work Group—Status Report; • Review of Installed Physical Secondary Barrier (IPSB) Work Group— Status Report; • Presentation/Discussion of SC–221 Schedule and Milestones; • Discussion of Working Group reports: re-allocation of groups, capture learning points, discuss additional or follow-on goals; • Approval and Tasking of Existing/ Proposed Working Groups; • Other Business—Including Proposed Agenda, Date and Place for Next Meeting. Attendance is open to the interested public but limited to space availability. With the approval of the chairmen, members of the public may present oral statements at the meeting. Persons wishing to present statements or obtain information should contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Members of the public may present a written statement to the committee at any time. Issued in Washington, DC, on August 24, 2009. Francisco Estrada C., RTCA Advisory Committee. [FR Doc. E9–21063 Filed 8–31–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P SUMMARY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice; correction. AGENCY: SUMMARY: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 45279 PO 00000 Frm 00121 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration Eightieth Meeting: RTCA Special Committee 159: Global Positioning System (GPS) AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of RTCA Special Committee 159 meeting: Global Positioning System (GPS). SUMMARY: The FAA is issuing this notice to advise the public of a meeting of RTCA Special Committee 159: Global Positioning System (GPS). DATES: The meeting will be held September 29–October 2, 2009, from 9 E:\FR\FM\01SEN1.SGM 01SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 168 (Tuesday, September 1, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45276-45279]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-20963]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration


Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed 
Transit Improvements to the Red Line, Cook County, IL

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Department of 
Transportation.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FTA, as the lead federal agency, and the Chicago Transit 
Authority (CTA) intend to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) for the Red Line Extension Project in Cook County, Illinois. CTA 
operates the rapid transit system in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. 
The proposed project, described more completely within, would extend 
the Red Line, a heavy rail transit line, to connect the 95th Street 
Station to 130th Street. The purpose of this Notice of Intent is to 
alert interested parties regarding the intent to prepare the EIS, to 
provide information on the nature of the proposed project and possible 
alternatives, to invite public participation in the EIS process.

DATES: Written comments on the scope of the EIS, including the 
project's purpose and need, the alternatives to be considered, the 
impacts to be evaluated, and the methodologies to be used in the 
evaluations should be sent to CTA on or before October 27, 2009. See 
ADDRESSES below for the address to which written public comments may be 
sent. Two public scoping meetings to accept comments on the scope of 
the EIS will be held on the following dates:
     Tuesday, September 22, 2009; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the 
Historic Pullman Visitor Center, 11141 S. Cottage Grove Avenue, 
Chicago, IL 60628.
     Thursday, September 24, 2009; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; at the 
Woodson Regional Chicago Public Library, 9525 S. Halsted Street, 
Chicago, IL 60628.
    The buildings used for the scoping meetings are accessible to 
persons with disabilities. Any individual who requires special 
assistance, such as a sign language interpreter, to participate in the 
scoping meeting should contact Mr. Darud Akbar, Government and 
Community Relations Officer, at 312-681-2708 or 
dakbar@transitchicago.com, five days prior to the meeting.
    Scoping materials describing the project purpose and need and the 
alternatives proposed for analysis will be available at the meetings 
and on the CTA Web site http://www.transitchicago.com/RedEIS. Paper 
copies of the scoping materials may also be obtained from Mr. Darud 
Akbar, Government and Community Relations Officer, at 312-681-2708 or 
dakbar@transitchicago.com. An interagency scoping meeting will be held 
on Thursday, September 24 at 10:30 a.m. at CTA Headquarters, in 
Conference Room 2C, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60661. 
Representatives of Native American tribal governments and of all 
federal, state, regional and local agencies that may have an interest 
in any aspect of the project will be invited to be participating or 
cooperating agencies, as appropriate.

ADDRESSES: Comments will be accepted at the public scoping meetings or 
they may be sent to Mr. Jeffrey Busby, General Manager, Strategic 
Planning, Chicago Transit Authority, P. O. Box 7602, Chicago, IL 60680-
7602, or via e-mail at RedExtension@transitchicago.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Werner, Community Planner, 
Federal Transit Administration, Region V, 200 West Adams Street, Suite 
320, Chicago, IL 60606, phone 312-353-3879, e-mail 
david.werner@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Scoping

    The FTA and CTA invite all interested individuals and 
organizations, public agencies, and Native American Tribes to comment 
on

[[Page 45277]]

the scope of the EIS, including the project's purpose and need, the 
alternatives to be studied, the impacts to be evaluated, and the 
evaluation methods to be used. Comments should address (1) alternatives 
that may better achieve the project's need and purposes at less cost or 
with fewer adverse impacts, and (2) any significant environmental 
impacts relating to the alternatives.
    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) ``scoping'' (40 CFR 
1501.7) has specific and fairly limited objectives, one of which is to 
identify the significant issues associated with alternatives that will 
be examined in detail in the document, while simultaneously limiting 
consideration and development of issues that are not truly significant. 
It is in the NEPA scoping process that potentially significant 
environmental impacts--those that give rise to the need to prepare an 
environmental impact statement--should be identified; impacts that are 
deemed not to be significant need not be developed extensively in the 
context of the impact statement, thereby keeping the statement focused 
on impacts of consequence. Transit projects may also generate 
environmental benefits; these should be highlighted as well--the impact 
statement process should draw attention to positive impacts, not just 
negative impacts.
    Once the scope of the environmental study, including significant 
environmental issues to be addressed, is settled, an annotated outline 
of the document will be prepared and shared with interested agencies 
and the public. The outline serves at least three worthy purposes, 
including (1) Documenting the results of the scoping process; (2) 
contributing to the transparency of the process; and (3) providing a 
clear roadmap for concise development of the environmental document.

Purpose and Need for the Project

    The purpose of the Red Line Extension project is to reduce travel 
times to jobs for far South Side and South Suburban residents and 
improve the performance of the existing Red Line 95th Street Station 
terminal. The project would also provide an opportunity to support 
economic development initiatives.
    The need for the project is based on the following considerations: 
lack of park-and-ride, passenger drop-off, and poor pedestrian 
facilities limit access to the existing 95th Street terminal of the Red 
Line; customers accessing the existing terminal facility by bus 
experience measureable delays resulting from poor performance of 
surrounding arterial intersections, insufficient space for bus loading 
and unloading, and insufficient space for bus layovers; congested bus 
and passenger conditions at the existing terminal station and bus 
facility result in safety issues and diminish the attractiveness of 
transit as an alternative to other travel modes; roadway performance in 
the project area is adversely impacted by narrow arterial streets and 
frequent at-grade freight rail crossings; and, the project area 
population is highly transit-dependent, minority and low-income.

Project Location and Environmental Setting

    The proposed heavy rail transit (HRT) project area lies about 11 
miles south of the Chicago Central Area (commonly referred to as the 
``Loop''). The limits of the project area are from 95th Street on the 
north to 130th Street on the south. The Calumet-Sag Channel/Little 
Calumet River extends along the southern edge of the project area and 
Lake Calumet is located to the east.
    The project area includes parts of eight community areas in the far 
South of the City of Chicago. Community areas include Washington 
Heights, Morgan Park, Roseland, Pullman, West Pullman, South Deering, 
Hegewisch and Riverdale. The project area encompasses significant 
residential (primarily single family), industrial (existing and 
vacant), transportation, and commercial developments.
    The locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the proposed Red Line 
Extension project was approved by the Chicago Transit Board for further 
study in the EIS on August 12, 2009. The LPA would extend the heavy 
rail transit line from the 95th Street Station south along the I-57 
Expressway to the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) right-of-way near 
Eggleston Avenue. From that point, the line extends south from I-57 
along the UPRR corridor to approximately 111th Street where it turns 
southeast along existing railroad and industrial right-of-way to 
terminate in the vicinity of 130th Street. The extension would add 5.3 
new route miles of rapid transit to the existing Red Line, four 
additional stations at approximately 103rd, 111th, 115th, and 130th 
Streets with new park-and-ride and bus terminal facilities at each 
station.

Alternatives

    The Red Line Extension Final Alternatives Analysis Report (2009) 
prepared by CTA identified three alternatives for further consideration 
in the EIS. These alternatives include: A No Build Alternative, 
Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative, and the UPRR HRT 
Alternative (the LPA). Additionally, the Halsted Street HRT Alternative 
from the Red Line Extension Alternatives Analysis Screen 3 Report 
(2009) will be considered in the EIS.
    No Build Alternative: The No Build Alternative is defined as the 
existing transportation system, plus any committed transportation 
improvements. Committed transportation improvements include projects 
that are already in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) 
financially constrained Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The 
Red Line project area has five bridge reconstructions, and several road 
improvement projects included in the FY 2007-2012 TIP. These 
improvements are primarily on highway segments in the vicinity of the 
project area and generally do not lie adjacent to or intersect with the 
proposed TSM or HRT alternatives.
    Bridge projects in the TIP include: Illinois 1 (Halsted Street) at 
the Little Calumet River; I-94 (Bishop Ford Expressway) at the Stony 
Island ramp and at Cottage Grove Road; I-57 at 103rd Street; and I-57 
at Genoa Road. Road improvement projects include a variety of 
landscaping, safety fencing, and resurfacing projects, and coordination 
of signal timing on Stony Island Avenue from 95th Street north, and on 
95th Street from Western Avenue east to Ewing Avenue. There is also a 
bicycle and pedestrian multi-use trail proposed to extend from the 
existing Centennial Trail in Lemont to the Burnham Greenway in Burnham.
    Bus transit service under the No Build Alternative would be focused 
on the preservation of existing services and projects. No significant 
changes to bus service are anticipated in the project area. All 
elements of the No Build Alternative are included in each of the other 
alternatives.
    Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative: A TSM 
Alternative is proposed because it is required as part of the New 
Starts evaluative process; in this case, it does not meet the purposes 
of and need for the proposed project. The TSM Alternative is Bus Rapid 
Transit (BRT) that would operate between the 95th Street Station and 
130th Street via East 95th Street, Michigan Avenue, East 127th Street, 
South Indiana Avenue, and East 130th Street. Proposed BRT service would 
operate in mixed traffic with traffic signal priority along 95th 
Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street.
    The TSM Alternative is 5.5 miles long and would include four 
intermediate

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stops at 103rd, 111th, 115th, and 130th Streets with park-and-ride 
facilities proposed at all of the new stops. The 95th Street terminal 
would be expanded to extend the existing bus bays along State and 
Lafayette Streets approximately 250-feet north to 94th Street to 
improve circulation and safety. The TSM alternative assumes that buses 
from the south would continue to serve the 95th Street Station.
    UPRR Heavy Rail Transit (HRT) Alternative/Locally Preferred 
Alternative (LPA): The proposed LPA would operate between the existing 
Red Line 95th Street Station and 130th Street. The line would be on an 
elevated structure from the 95th Street as it heads south along the I-
57 Expressway for nearly one-half mile until reaching the UPRR corridor 
in the vicinity of Eggleston Avenue. It would then turn south along the 
UPRR corridor to approximately 111th Street where it would turn 
southeast. East of South Prairie Avenue the alignment would cross over 
the Canadian National/Metra tracks near 119th Street where it would 
transition to an at-grade profile and then continue southeast along the 
former Michigan Central/Indiana Harbor Belt (IHB) railroad right-of-way 
to terminate in the vicinity of 130th Street.
    The LPA is 5.3 miles long and would include three new intermediate 
stations at 103rd, 111th, and 115th Streets and a new terminal station 
at 130th Street with new park-and-ride and bus terminal facilities at 
each station. This alternative assumes that buses from the south would 
be re-routed to serve the new intermediate and terminal stations to 
speed passenger travel to downtown Chicago.
    The new HRT tracks would be placed immediately adjacent to the UPRR 
right-of-way on either the west side (West Side Option) or the east 
side (East Side Option). Both options would require adjacent property 
acquisition to accommodate the CTA right-of-way and station facilities 
at 103rd, 111th, and 115th Streets. Based on a preliminary analysis of 
the conceptual alignment plans and Cook County parcel data, the West 
Side Option would require up to 112 property acquisitions and/or 
displacements and the East Side Option would require 138. In addition, 
the West Side Option could impact Fernwood Parkway between 99th Street 
and 103rd Streets which could trigger a Section 4(f) of the Department 
of Transportation Act evaluation in the EIS. The East Side Option could 
impact Wendell Smith Park adjacent to the I-57 Expressway which could 
also trigger a Section 4(f) evaluation in the EIS. Kensington 
Playground Park near 118th Street would not be impacted by either 
option.
    There are two options for the 130th Street terminal station. The 
Red Line extension would continue south along the IHB right-of-way to 
either a south or west terminal station location along the north side 
of 130th Street, just west of the I-94 Bishop Ford Freeway.
    Halsted Street HRT Alternative: The proposed Halsted Street HRT 
Alternative would be operated on an elevated structure between the 
existing Red Line 95th Street Station and the Halsted Street/Vermont 
Avenue intersection in the vicinity of 127th Street. The alignment 
would follow the median of I-57 Expressway until reaching Halsted 
Street. It would then turn south onto Halsted Street and continue in 
the median to Vermont Avenue.
    The Halsted Street HRT Alternative is 5.0 miles long and would 
include three new intermediate stations at 103rd, 111th, 119th Streets 
and a new terminal station at Vermont Avenue with new park-and-ride and 
bus terminal facilities at the intermediate and terminal stations. This 
alternative assumes that buses from the south would be re-routed to 
serve the new intermediate and terminal stations to speed passenger 
travel to downtown Chicago.
    Near the proposed station areas, there may be additional impacts to 
adjacent land owners if land acquisition would be required for station 
facilities such as bus turnarounds or parking facilities. This would be 
most applicable at the proposed terminal station at 127th/Vermont since 
several properties are located close to Halsted Street in this segment 
and there may be higher off-street facility needs.

Possible Effects

    The purpose of this EIS process is to study, in a public setting, 
the effects of the proposed project and its alternatives on the quality 
of the human environment. Areas of investigation for transit projects 
generally include, but are not limited to: Land use, development 
potential, land acquisition and displacements, historic resources, 
visual and aesthetic qualities, air quality, noise and vibration, 
energy use, safety and security, and ecosystems, including threatened 
and endangered species; investigation may reveal that the proposed 
project will not affect or affect substantially many of those areas. 
Measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any significant adverse 
impacts will be identified.

FTA Procedures

    The regulations implementing NEPA, as well as provisions of the 
Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A 
Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), call for public involvement in the EIS 
process. Section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU requires that FTA and CTA do the 
following: (1) Extend an invitation to other Federal and non-Federal 
agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the 
proposed project to become ``participating agencies;'' (2) provide an 
opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public to 
help define the purpose and need for a proposed project, as well as the 
range of alternatives for consideration in the EIS; and (3) establish a 
plan for coordinating public and agency participation in, and comment 
on, the environmental review process. An invitation to become a 
participating or cooperating agency, with scoping materials appended, 
will be extended to other Federal and non-Federal agencies and Native 
American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project. It 
is possible that FTA and CTA will not be able to identify all Federal 
and non-Federal agencies and Native American tribes that may have such 
an interest. Any Federal or non-Federal agency or Native American tribe 
interested in the proposed project that does not receive an invitation 
to become a participating agency should notify at the earliest 
opportunity the Project Manager identified above under ADDRESSES.
    A comprehensive public involvement program and a Coordination Plan 
for public and interagency involvement will be developed for the 
project and posted on CTA's Web site http://www.transitchicago.com/RedEIS. The public involvement program includes a full range of 
activities including maintaining the project Web page on the CTA Web 
site and outreach to local officials, community and civic groups, and 
the public. Specific activities or events for involvement will be 
detailed in the project's public participation plan.
    The Paperwork Reduction Act seeks, in part, to minimize the cost to 
the taxpayer of the creation, collection, maintenance, use, 
dissemination, and disposition of information. Consistent with this 
goal and with principles of economy and efficiency in government, it is 
FTA policy to limit insofar as possible distribution of complete 
printed sets of environmental documents. Accordingly, unless a specific 
request for a complete printed set of environmental documents is

[[Page 45279]]

received (preferably in advance of printing), FTA and its grantees will 
distribute only the executive summary of the environmental document 
together with a Compact Disc of the complete environmental document. A 
complete printed set of the environmental document is available for 
review at the grantee's offices and elsewhere; an electronic copy of 
the complete environmental document is also available on the grantee's 
Web page.
    CTA may seek New Starts funding for the proposed project under 49 
United States Code 5309 and will, therefore, be subject to New Starts 
regulations (49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 611). The New 
Starts regulations also require the submission of certain project-
justification information to support a request to initiate preliminary 
engineering. This information is normally developed in conjunction with 
the NEPA process. Pertinent New Starts evaluation criteria will be 
included in the EIS.
    The EIS will be prepared in accordance with NEPA and its 
implementing regulations issued by the Council on Environmental Quality 
(40 CFR Parts 1500-1508) and with the FTA/Federal Highway 
Administration regulations ``Environmental Impact and Related 
Procedures'' (23 CFR Part 771).

    Issued on: August 24, 2009.
Marisol R. Simon,
Regional Administrator, FTA Region V.
[FR Doc. E9-20963 Filed 8-28-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P