[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 175 (Friday, September 10, 1999)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49271-49273]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-23615]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Transit Administration
Federal Highway Administration


Environmental Impact Statement on Transportation Improvements 
Within the Roosevelt Boulevard Corridor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

AGENCY: Federal Transit Administration and Federal Highway 
Administration, USDOT.

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

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SUMMARY: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal 
Highway Administration (FHWA) as federal co-lead agencies, in 
cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the 
City of Philadelphia and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation 
Authority (SEPTA) as local lead agencies, are issuing this notice to 
advise interested agencies and the public that an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) may be prepared for transportation improvements in the 
Roosevelt Boulevard Corridor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 
Philadelphia City Planning Commission, the Mayor's Office of 
Transportation, and SEPTA are undertaking a Transportation Investment 
Study (TIS) to consider solutions to the problems of capacity and 
quality of transportation in the Roosevelt Boulevard Corridor which is 
marked by congestion and long travel times, especially for public 
transit riders. The TIS will include the NEPA scoping process, the 
identification and evaluation of design concept and scope alternatives, 
and the selection of a preferred alternative or alternatives. 
Subsequently, if an EIS is prepared, alternative alignments and designs 
that are consistent with the selected design concept and scope will be 
addressed in that document. Sponsorship of the EIS will depend on the 
outcome of the TIS and the alternatives remaining under evaluation. It 
is important to note that a final decision to prepare an EIS has not 
been made at this time. This decision will be made at the end of the 
TIS and will depend upon the nature of the selected concept and its 
expected impacts.

DATES: Comment Due Date: Written comments on the scope of the 
alternatives and impacts to be considered should be sent to Andrew 
Lenton, Project Manager, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, by 
October 15, 1999. See ADDRESSES below. Scoping Meetings: Public scoping 
meetings will be held on Wednesday, September 22, 1999 and Thursday, 
September 23, 1999, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. See ADDRESSES below.

ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope should be sent to Andrew 
Lenton, Project Manager, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 1 
Parkway Building, 13th floor, 1515 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. 
Scoping meetings will be held at the following locations:

Public Scoping Meeting #1

Wednesday, September 22, 1999, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Frankford 
Group Ministries, Main Meeting Room, Orthodox & Griscom Streets, 
Philadelphia, PA 19124

Public Scoping Meeting #2

Thursday, September 23, 1999, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Nazareth 
Hospital, Physician's Office Building (P.O.B.), 2601 Holme Avenue, 
Philadelphia, PA 19152.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
John T. Garrity, Federal Transit Administration, or Carmine M. Fiscina, 
Federal Highway Administration, at (215) 656-7070.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Scoping

    Public scoping meetings will be hosted by the Philadelphia City 
Planning Commission (PCPC), the Mayor's Office of Transportation (MOT) 
and the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) on Wednesday, 
September 22, 1999, and Thursday, September 23, 1999, between 7:00 p.m. 
and 9:00 p.m. See ADDRESSES above. FTA, FHWA, PCPC, MOT and SEPTA 
invite interested individuals, organizations and public agencies to 
attend the scoping meetings and participate in establishing the 
purpose, alternatives, time framework and analysis approach, as well as 
an active public involvement program. The public is invited to comment 
on the alternatives currently proposed and to suggest additional 
alternatives which are more cost effective or which have less 
environmental impact while achieving similar transportation objectives. 
Comments should address the modes and technologies to be evaluated, the 
alignments and termination points to be considered, the environmental, 
social and economic impacts to be analyzed, and the evaluation approach 
to be used to select a locally preferred alternative.
    To ensure that a full range of issues is addressed and all 
significant issues identified, comments and suggestions are invited 
from all interested parties.

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Comments may be provided at the public scoping meetings, verbally and/
or in writing. Comments or questions can also be directed to the PCPC 
(See ADDRESSES above.), or via e-mail to netis@libertynet.org or via 
telephone to (215) 790-3140. People with special needs should call 
Andrew Lenton at (215) 683-6429. The Nazareth Hospital site is 
accessible to people with disabilities.
    An information packet is available which describes the purpose of 
the project, the possible alternatives, the impact areas to be 
evaluated, the citizen involvement program, and the schedule. The 
packet will be available at the public scoping meetings. It is also 
being mailed to affected federal, state and local agencies and to 
interested parties on record. Others may request the scoping materials 
by contacting Andrew Lenton, Project Manager, Philadelphia City 
Planning Commission. See ADDRESSES above.

II. Description of Study Area and its Transportation Needs

    The Roosevelt Boulevard Corridor is located in the Northeast 
portion of Philadelphia, extending approximately 14 miles from Broad 
Street to the Philadelphia City Line. The Corridor is approximately one 
mile wide (width varies according to impact under consideration). It 
serves an area that includes some 400,000 residents of Northeast 
Philadelphia, including areas adjacent to Bucks and Montgomery 
Counties, and communities toward Center City, such as Olney, 
Feltonville, Hunting Park and Logan. Major attractors in the corridor 
include One & Olney Square, the Friends Hospital, Metropolitan 
Hospital, Northeast Tower Center, Rising Sun Plaza, Frankford Stadium, 
the future Frankford Transportation Center, Oxford Circle, the 
Northeast Regional Library, Roosevelt Mall, Nazareth Hospital, 
Evangelical and Baptist Homes, the Northeast Shopping Center, Northeast 
Philadelphia Airport, the Red Lion Shopping Center, the Swenson Skills 
Center, the Northeast Industrial Park, Boulevard Plaza, Byberry East 
Industrial Park, Community College of Philadelphia, and the Neshaminy 
Interplex Business Center. Environmental features include Hunting Park, 
Tacony Creek, Pennypack Creek, Pennypack Park, and Poquessing Creek.
    The area is currently served or crossed by taxicab services, 27 bus 
routes, the R8 Fox Chase Regional Rail line and the termini of the 
Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated and the Broad Street Subway lines. 
Roosevelt Boulevard itself is a right of way nearly 200 feet wide in 
many sections. It is an attractive parkway with three express lanes and 
three local lanes in each direction. Traffic may move between the local 
and express lanes via slip ramps. The Boulevard itself crosses most 
intersections at grade, but at Oxford Circle, Pennypack Circle and 
Cottman Avenue, the express lanes are depressed below grade and 
continue through without grade crossings. The Boulevard serves as the 
main transportation spine of Northeast Philadelphia.
    Travelers in the Boulevard Corridor presently experience quite long 
travel times, particularly by public transportation. The capacity and 
quality of transportation have not increased in proportion to the 
recent growth of population and employment in the corridor. Motorist 
and pedestrian safety also are primary concerns in the Corridor. Air 
quality tops the list of general concerns, because of the Philadelphia 
region's non-attainment of EPA air quality standards. Finally, the 
changing nature of land uses continues to further separate employment 
from residential locations, particularly for mobility-constrained 
households. The Northeast spine therefore presents a considerable need 
for transportation improvement.

III. Alternatives

    It is expected that the scoping meeting and written comments will 
be a major source of candidate alternatives for consideration in the 
study. The following briefly describes the general alternatives that 
are suggested for consideration along the Corridor:
     No Project. Certain transportation improvement projects 
already slated for construction, such as the Woodhaven Expressway 
Extension and I-95 reconstruction, would proceed. However, no major 
improvements would occur in the Boulevard Corridor.
     Transportation System Management (TSM). TSM would involve 
making operational and low cost capital improvements to existing 
roadways and transit facilities. Pursuing this alternative could result 
in options such as enhancing bus service in the corridor, changing the 
design and operation of intersections, and improving bus stop waiting 
areas.
     Additional Grade Separations. Additional underpasses--
similar to the one at Cottman Avenue--could address the Corridor's 
transportation needs.
     Expressway. This concept would lower the inner travel 
lanes below the cross streets.
     Busway. An exclusive travel lane for limited stop express 
buses could be implemented along the Boulevard.
     Light Metro. Under this concept, rail vehicles would 
operate at street level along the Boulevard median as an extension of 
the Broad Street Subway, crossing intersections at grade along the 
Boulevard. The vehicles would draw electricity from a third rail while 
in the subway and from overhead wires while on the Boulevard.
     Broad Street Extension. The Broad Street Line would extend 
up the Boulevard from Broad-Erie Station as either a subway or a modern 
elevated line.
     Broad Street Extension with Expressway. The Broad Street 
Line would operate in the median of the expressway described earlier.
     Market-Frankford Extension. The Market-Frankford Line 
would extend from Frankford Terminal along Bustleton Avenue, and from 
that point follow the Boulevard alignment. The line could operate as a 
subway or a modern elevated.
     Market-Frankford Extension with Expressway. From Bustleton 
Avenue northward, the Market-Frankford Line extension could operate in 
the median of the expressway described earlier.
     Broad Street Extension with a One-Station Market-Frankford 
Extension. In this suggested concept, the Broad Street Line would 
extend as a subway or elevated, as described above, and would meet a 
short extension of the Market-Frankford Line.
     New York Short Line. Either Broad Street Subway service or 
the Regional Rail network would be extended along the western portion 
of the study area, sharing the right-of-way of an existing freight 
railroad.
    Based on public input received during scoping, variations of the 
above alternatives and additional alternatives suggested during 
scoping, as well as other transportation-related improvement options, 
both transit and non-transit, will be considered for the Roosevelt 
Boulevard Corridor.

IV. Probable Effects

    Most of the Corridor runs through densely populated residential 
neighborhoods, with row homes facing the Boulevard. Also, the Boulevard 
is an attractive, tree-lined parkway. Issues and impacts to be 
considered during the study include potential changes to: the physical 
environment (air quality, noise and vibration, water quality, 
aesthetics, etc.); the social environment (land use, development, 
neighborhoods, job accessibility, etc.); parklands and historic 
resources; transportation system performance, including vehicular and 
pedestrian circulation and parking; capital, operating and maintenance

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costs; financial resources available and financial impact. Evaluation 
criteria will include consideration of the local goals and objectives 
established for the study, measures of effectiveness identified during 
scoping, and criteria established by FTA for ``New Start'' transit 
projects.

    Issued on: September 7, 1999.
Sheldon A. Kinbar,
Regional Administrator, FTA.
Carmine M. Fiscina,
Technology and Safety Engineer, FHWA.
[FR Doc. 99-23615 Filed 9-9-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-57-P