National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of proposed actions (projects) prior to making decisions. In general, the NEPA process entails public scoping.
Public input is an important of the process of analyzing and selecting alternatives. There are multiple opportunities for public input throughout the NEPA phase:
Subarea Plan / Corridor Enhancement Plan
In 2017, following completion of the Planning and Environmental Linkages Study, the Lincoln/Lancaster County Railroad Transportation Safety District and City of Lincoln decided that prior to any major transportation investments, the subarea should be analyzed more comprehensively so that any transportation changes would align with the future vision of the subarea. To determine this vision, a community-consensus built subarea planning process was undertaken. The subarea planning process analyzed the following:
Public Scoping (NEPA)
The 33rd and Cornhusker Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study addressed the dangerous at-grade railway crossings at North 33rd Street and Adams Street. The BNSF railway currently carries nearly 65 trains daily on the double-track mainline railroad through the subarea, resulting in at least 3.5 hours per day that each of the at-grade railroad crossings is blocked to vehicular traffic. Combined, these two crossings have one of the highest exposure ratings across Nebraska.
Through a systematic approach to address this major issue, the PEL Study generated preferred street configuration concepts that close the North 33rd Street and the Adams Street at-grade railway crossings. The study used impacts to the environment, traffic data and analysis, safety, mobility, connectivity, and public participation to analyze and evaluate alternatives.
The PEL Study followed federal guidelines and provides the framework to move forward with a more detailed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study and Preliminary Engineering (PE). More information about the PEL process can be found on the FHWA website.
Two public meetings were held as part of the PEL Study process in November 2015 and March 2016 to share information about the PEL Study, the findings and gather public input. Ultimately, the PEL Study report was finalized and approved and the RTSD board in June 2016.
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Lincoln Transportation and Utilities
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