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Summer 2008 - DEIS Newsletter
Gold Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement Now Available
After two years of screening and analysis, the RTD Gold Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is now available for public review. Public hearings will be held on August 6 and 7 to gather comments on the DEIS, which contains the comprehensive environmental analysis and proposed mitigation measures for the FasTracks rail line.
The Gold Line is proposed to run along the BNSF/Union Pacific railroad route from Denver Union Station to Ward Road in Wheat Ridge, passing through northwest Denver, Adams County and Arvada. RTD is currently evaluating two different routes between Denver Union Station and Pecos: a "railroad" route that runs within the railroad right of way and another route that runs adjacent to the east side of the railroad property. The DEIS also recommends operating electric commuter rail trains and proposes seven Gold Line stations located at 38th, Pecos, Federal, Sheridan, Olde Town, Arvada Ridge and Ward Road.
In the DEIS, the project team compares the impacts that may be caused by the project's implementation with the impacts of a No Action Alternative. The No Action Alternative includes all changes that will occur in the corridor if the Gold Line is not built. The DEIS also recommends ways of avoiding or mitigating impacts where possible. The July 18, 2008 release of the document kicked off a 45-day comment period.
"The public hearings aren't the only opportunity to submit DEIS comments," said Project Manager Liz Telford. "Members of the public can continue to submit comments through September 1, 2008, the last day of the comment period."
The DEIS can be reviewed online, at the public hearings and at all libraries in the corridor. While the complete DEIS is more than 500 pages long, the document also contains an Executive Summary, which provides a good overview of the environmental analysis.
Following the 45-day comment period, RTD will begin working on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which is scheduled for release in early 2009. Comments submitted on the DEIS will be responded to in the FEIS. The final document will then be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for review and approval, which RTD plans to receive by spring of next year. Construction on the Gold Line is anticipated to begin by 2011, with the line opening to the public by 2016.
Gold Line Public Hearings
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Highlands Masonic Center
3550 Federal Blvd.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
6901 Wadsworth Blvd.
The Public Hearings Will Include:
- A brief presentation on the RTD Gold Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
- Opportunities to submit verbal, written or electronic comments
- Copies of the DEIS for public review
How to Submit Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comments
Click here to submit a DEIS comment online
RTD Gold Line Comments
Dave Beckhouse, FTA Region 8
c/o GBSM, Inc.
600 17th Street 2020-S
Denver, CO 80202
At the public hearings on August 6 and 7
Guide to the Gold Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Even the most seasoned technical professionals can find reading a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to be a challenging task. So where is a non-technical individual to start?
We recommend beginning with the Executive Summary. The Gold Line team has gone to great lengths to develop this summary in a way that provides an appropriate amount of technical information while still being easy to read and understand.
While we encourage you to read the entire DEIS, we understand that many people are only interested in certain aspects of the Gold Line. Reading the Executive Summary should help you determine what chapters, or sections of chapters, you want to review in greater detail. Below is a brief overview of what information is contained in each chapter of the DEIS.
Chapter 1: Purpose and Need - Presents a discussion of the purpose of the project, the need for mobility improvements in the corridor and the goals for the project.
Chapter 2: Alternatives Considered - Describes the alternatives considered during the environmental alternatives analysis, which was used to select the Preferred Alternative for the Gold Line.
Chapter 3: Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences - After describing the existing social and natural environmental conditions in the study area, this chapter summarizes the anticipated impacts of the Gold Line and identifies potential mitigation measures.
Chapter 4: Transportation Systems - Discusses the existing transportation system (e.g. vehicular traffic, bus routes, freight service, etc.) and the anticipated impacts to those systems.
Chapter 5: Evaluation of Alternatives - Analyzes how the Gold Line alternatives meet the project's Purpose and Need, benefit mobility in the area and affect the environment. This chapter also discusses the alternatives' financial feasibility.
Chapter 6: Public Comment and Agency Coordination - Describes the public involvement process implemented from scoping period through the release of the DEIS, including coordination with the Local Governments Team (LGT) and Agency Working Group (AWG).
Chapter 7: Section 4(f) and 6(f) Evaluation - Describes publicly owned parks, recreational resources, and wildlife refuges or significant protected cultural resources that may be impacted by the project.
Ask Liz: Q&A with the Gold Line Project Manager
Q: How do I submit an effective comment on the Gold Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)?
A: Because the DEIS is a lengthy document, developing comments can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. However, there are a few things that you can do to develop more focused, effective comments.
- First of all, reference the specific chapter, page number or part of the document to which your comment refers.
- Secondly, you will notice several areas in the DEIS where the project team has identified multiple options for the Gold Line. (Good examples of this are some of the station areas.) In instances when multiple options are identified, we encourage you to clearly state your preference in your comments.
- Your comment will also be most effective if it relates to the current level of analysis. We'll get into more detailed analysis, engineering and design during the Final EIS. For now, we recommend submitting comments that relate to the decisions that are currently being made on the Gold Line.
- Finally, your comments should not be limited to areas where you have concerns about the Gold Line. You should also document the things you agree with and support about the analysis.
A: Absolutely. The public hearings are one of many opportunities to submit comments on the DEIS. You can also submit comments by e-mail, regular mail or online. Complete information on how to submit comments is listed on the cover of this newsletter. All comments submitted during the 45-day comment period - regardless of how they are submitted - receive equal treatment and consideration. Keep in mind that the last day to submit DEIS comments is September 1, 2008.
Q: What does RTD and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) do with the Draft EIS comments?
A: After the 45-day comment period, our project team reads every comment received and uses the input to help make decisions about the Final EIS. Our team develops written responses to every DEIS comment. These responses and/or summaries of the comments and responses will be included with our final analysis in the Final EIS, scheduled for release by early next year. We'll submit the Final EIS to the FTA. Once they have reviewed it, they will issue what is known as a Record of Decision (ROD), which gives RTD the green light to move into final design and construction of the Gold Line.
Where to Review the Gold Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Gold Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is available for download on our website. The document can also be reviewed at the following libraries throughout the Gold Line study area:
Jefferson County Libraries
7525 W. 57th Avenue
Arvada, CO 80002
Standley Lake Library
8485 Kipling Street
Arvada, CO 80005
Westminster Public Library
7392 Irving Street
Westminster, CO 80030
303-430-2400 ext. 230
Wheat Ridge Library
5475 W. 32nd Avenue
Wheat Ridge, CO 80212
Rangeview Libraries (Adams County)
7611 Hilltop Circle
Denver, CO 80221
Denver Public Libraries
10 W. 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204
4501 W. 46th Avenue
Denver, CO 80212
3265 Federal Boulevard
Denver, CO 80211
Regis University Library
3333 Regis Boulevard
Denver, CO 80221
Red Rocks Community College - Arvada Campus*
5420 Miller Street
Arvada, CO 80002
* DEIS will be available at the front desk of the campus lobby
Gold Line Station Charettes Forming Soon
Small group meetings will be held this fall to gather the public's input on preliminary station design options. The proposed stations for the Gold Line include the following:
• Olde Town
• Arvada Ridge
• Ward Road
• Olde Town
• Arvada Ridge
• Ward Road
To get involved, click here or call (303) 299-2000. Please specify which station(s) interest you.