Documented Categorical Exclusion (DCE) for Widening West Lindsey Street from 24th Avenue SW to Berry Road in Norman, Project J2-9293(004)AG, Job Piece 29293(04), Cleveland County Existing Conditions and Purpose and Need for the Action Lindsey Street, between 24th Avenue and Berry Road, is currently a two lane roadway with a turning lane. This area of the City of Norman has multiple housing developments, residential apartment complexes, and pedestrian friendly commercial businesses. Except for few segments of widened roadway at the commercial entrances and intersections, there are little to no shoulders. Within the project limits the existing roadway has 2-12 ft. wide driving lanes, and serves as urban principal arterial. The existing asphalt surface is in poor condition with moderate to severe rutting and cracking, and with substantial flooding problems. The current Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for the segment of Lindsey Street from 24th Ave. extending east to Berry Road is 24,420 vehicles per day (vpd) with a future 20 year traffic of 38,500 vpd. Lindsey Street serves as a the main gateway to University of Oklahoma located in Norman. In addition to the regular traffic, there is additional traffic on Lindsey periodically due to University related events such as football games, student move-ins, etc. As such, University of Oklahoma is one of the major stakeholders on this project. The purpose and need for this project is to address the issue of congestion caused by increasing traffic, to improve the pedestrian access, and to improve the storm water drainage issues within the project extent. Lindsey Street is identified as one of the streets to provide east-west connectivity in City of Normanâ€™s Comprehensive Transportation Plan Report adopted on May 13, 2014. Lindsey Street is also identified as one of the routes accommodating on street bicycling. The Comprehensive Plan also identifies this segment of Lindsey as a future 5 lane section. Description of Proposed Action The proposed improvements consist of widening and reconstruction West Lindsey Street from two lanes to four lanes with a 11 ft wide raised median with future landscaping from 24th Avenue SW, to Berry Road, then transitioning back to two lanes. Lindsey Street will have 2-12 ft. wide and 2-11 ft. wide driving lanes with curb and gutter, with 5 ft. wide bicycle lanes and 5 ft. sidewalk on both sides. The widening will be symmetrical. The intersection at McGee Drive will also be improved with new signalization. The intersection at Wylie Road will be improved with new signalization. The intersection at Berry Road and Lindsey Street will be improved. Within the project extent there are numerous reinforced concrete boxes (RCB) and reinforced concrete pipes (RCP) that will be extended or replaced to facilitate the storm water flow under intersections on Lindsey Street and throughout the project. Just west of Berry Road, a culvert underneath Lindsey Street will be replaced with a larger size culvert to prevent flooding to the residential homes on the north side. In addition there will be storm sewers extended on McGee and Page 1 of 7
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Wylie Avenue. Construction activities will result in some traffic disruption (temporary closures/detours) on Lindsey Street and local streets.
Public Involvement In addition to the standard property owner notifications sent out at the start of environmental studies on June 5, 2013 the City of Norman has had extensive public involvement for this project. In June 2013, a series of meetings arranged by University of Oklahoma, Institute of Quality Communities (IQC) took place with project stakeholders. In July 2013 a second series of meetings arranged by IQC took place where the IQC asked property owners and the City to adopt a new vision for the Lindsey corridor which included raised center medians, and modern roundabouts. This was followed by petitions from 24 of 50 property owners to the City recommending inclusion of raised center medians and modern roundabouts in August 2013 and in a City Council Meeting in August 2013, the City Council discussed these recommendations and agreed that the raised median will be beneficial to the safety and aesthetics of the corridor. In September 2013, the City Council conducted a Public Forum regarding the Lindsey Street Project. The topics of discussion included the continuous raised median, mid block U-turns and pedestrian crossings, 5 foot sidewalks, colorized on street bike lanes and modern roundabouts at key intersections. The outcome of this public forum was the public approval of raised medians with mod-block U-turns, pedestrian crossings, ad on street bike lanes. It was determined that the modern roundabouts did not best meet the needs of the corridor or community at this time. Following that the landscaped raised median with midblock U-turns was adopted into the design. On April 3, 2014 the City held a public informational meeting and open house to present and discuss the proposed improvements on Lindsey Street including why the improvements are needed and what is being proposed and the expected impacts to motorists and the surrounding traffic during and after construction. Information on the meeting notices, minutes, attendees, etc, are included in the Public Involvement section of the appendix. A two week comment period was allowed after the meeting. One of the comments discussed at the meeting was regarding the flooding on McGee Drive. The proposed design will improve the flooding. Following the meeting a petition signed by 500 property owners requesting a traffic light at the intersection of Crownpoint Avenue and Lindsey to allow left turs and pedestrian crossings at that intersection. Another petition signed by a large number of property owners fronting Lindsey Street opposing the proposed raised median design was submitted by the same person. The City completed a traffic study and determined that the traffic volumes and the location did not warrant a traffic signal. The City responded back to the submitter of the petition in writing with a copy of the traffic study and the explanation on why a traffic light is not warranted at Crownpoint Avenue and Lindsey at this time and the City would reassess the need for traffic signal if there is significant change in the use of properties at that location. The City also responded to the concerns about the raised median with an explanation of previous public involvement in the proposed design and why the raised median contributes to the safety based on other studies. A study of commercial areas with raised medians within the City of Norman and a literature review of published economic impact studies on raised median is included in the Public Involvement section of the studies. Page 2 of 7
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There was a separate request for a traffic signal at Lindsey and Crownpoint and a concern about the tire shop creating a sight triangle problem at Lindsey and McGee. The City responded in writing explaining why a traffic signal was not warranted at Crownpoint and Lindsey based on the traffic study and they would have the Designer review the sight triangle issue and address it appropriately in the design. There was a comment with concern for destruction of mature trees as part of the project and using the water from the flooded areas on McGee for landscaping. The City responded in writing that only the trees which are in the construction zone will be removed and they will look into using the flood water from McGee for landscaping as part of their landscape design. There was a request to add a turn bay to the median at the driveway between McDonalds and Homeland fuel station and a request to plan shorter trees in the median. The City responded in writing the criteria used in establishing the median openings and turn bays and why it was not possible to have a opening at that particular location and the comments regarding the request for shorter trees will be considered in the landscape design. There was a request to add a turn bay at Classic 50 and the City responded in writing the criteria used in establishing the median openings and turn bays and why it was not possible to have a opening at that particular location. There was a comment with concerns over costs of landscaping and opposing the median on Lindsey Street. The City responded in writing that the landscaping was result of request from property owners as part of a 2011 conceptual study and the cost is already included in the cost of the project. . The City also responded to the concerns about the raised median with an explanation of previous public involvement in the proposed design and why the raised median contributes to the safety based on other studies. There was a concern that accessibility/multimodal portion of the project may be eliminated due to budget constraints and the City assured in writing that the accessibility/multi-modal aspects will be part of the project. There were two comments in support of the project and the proposed design.
Social, Economic and Environmental Impacts & Agency Coordination Right of Way and Relocations The project involves acquisition of right-of-way. However, the acquisition does not involve any residential or commercial relocations nor involve property in which another Federal Agency or Federally Recognized Tribe has ownership, oversight or any other encumbrance. SocioEconomic Issues The proposed project calls for a raised median with midblock openings between cross streets on Lindsey. During the Lindsey Street Public Meeting, a few of the property owners expressed concerns that they may lose business if customers are not able to make direct left turns into their property. In an effort to determine if this is a valid concern the City has reviewed occupancy rates as evidence of success from shopping areas with raised medians within the City of Norman and performed a literature review of several economic studies on the impacts of raised medians. Page 3 of 7
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The City of Norman is home to a number of large and small businesses. The majority of these businesses exist within areas zoned for commercial use and made accessible from arterial roads. The City reviewed two of three commercial areas with raised medians lined with various store types within the City of Norman. Based on occupancy, both of the commercial areas studied along a roadway with raised medians are successful. Access management did not appear to affect the success of a business along these corridors. City of Norman also conducted a literature review on three different studies of the economic impacts of raised medians from Texas Transportation Institute, Center for Urban Transportation Research at University of South Florida, and Utah Department of Transportation. The studies generally defined adding raised center medians to projects as providing access management to configure the roadway to control access points to improve safety and traffic flow. Key conclusions from the occupancy review of shopping areas in the City of Norman with raised medians and literature review of the economic impacts of raised medians are: • Businesses in Norman and various parts of the country can be successful along corridors with raised medians. • Median projects have little overall adverse impact on business activity some business report and increase and some report a decrease in sales, the majority of businesses report no change in business activity following a median project. Destination type businesses appear less sensitive to access changes than business that rely on pass by traffic such as gas stations or convenience stores. • Business owner's perceptions were generally pessimistic about the raised median before the project. Based on the above information, the proposed project is not anticipated to cause undue economic hardship to businesses. Cultural Resources On behalf of FHWA, the Department has consulted with the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey, and appropriate Native American tribes regarding the impacts of this undertaking on historic properties. No historic properties are present in the project area of potential effect (APE). Waters and Wetlands The action involves work in Imhoff Creek, which exhibits characteristics of a jurisdictional waterway. The proposed construction activities will be evaluated to ensure that the appropriate Clean Water Act Section 404 permit application is made. Threatened & Endangered Species, Bald Eagles, and Migratory Birds A biological field review was performed for the referenced project. The Department has determined that the project, as proposed, will have no effect on the federally-listed Interior Least Tern, Piping Plover, Whooping Crane, Sprague’s Pipit, and Arkansas River Shiner. Notes to avoid disturbing Cliff and Barn Swallows will be included in construction plans.
Floodplains The project is located a regulatory floodway (Zone A-E in a FEMA Map). The designer submitted a statement that the proposed improvements do not raise the 100 year water surface elevation; therefore a flood plain map revision is not required. Farmland Page 4 of 7
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The action occurs in an urban area. Hence the project will not affect any farmlands. Hazardous Waste There are nine leaking underground storage tank (LUST) sites located along the length of this project. Prior to Right-of-Way submittal, plan notes regarding potential LUST sites will be added under “Environmental Mitigation Notes” per policy Directive C-201-2D(2). Temporary Construction Impacts Construction activities will result in some traffic disruption (temporary closures/detours) on Lindsey Street, and local streets. Construction traffic will be noticeable on area roadways and may contribute to localized congestion from time to time. The City will be responsible for notifying all local residential and commercial property owners, schools and emergency services providers prior to construction. The City will be responsible for posting detours routes. The Contractor will provide access to local property owners at all times. Noise A traffic noise assessment has been prepared that examined the potential noise impacts associated with the proposed project. The noise analysis was completed using the FHWA’s Traffic Noise Model version 2.5 in accordance with the FHWA 23 CFR 772 and complies with the ODOT Noise Policy dated July 13, 2011. Land use within the project limits is fully developed urban area consisting of restaurants/bars, retail shopping, auto repair and some office and medical facilities. However, there exist three (3) places of worship, two (2) apartment complexes and fifteen (15) single-family residential dwellings concentrated at the east end of the project limits. The traffic noise analysis included a total of sixty-six (66) model receptor sites. For the future condition, no receivers would approach the 67 dB(A) Leq (h) for NAC Activity Categories B or C, or approach 72 dB(A) Leq (h) for NAC Activity Category E. The average increase at the selected sites is +2.0 dB and no receivers will experience a 15-decibel increase in noise levels over the current condition which is considered to be a substantial increase for noise impact determination. Given that no traffic noise impacts occur, no noise abatement measures are considered. Other Permits and Coordination The action may require notifying the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of proposed construction via FAA Form 7460-1 prior to construction, in accordance with 14 CFR 77.13 – 77.17 due to the location of Westheimer Airfield within 4 miles of the project location.
Summary of Commitments 1. The action may involve work in potentially jurisdictional waters and potentially jurisdictional wetlands. A copy of the 404 permit obtained by the County/City should be submitted by Local Government Division or Special Projects to Environmental Programs Division for the Project File. 2. The following plan note needs to be added to the plans: Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows are small colonial and semi-colonial nesting birds protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Barn Swallows use man-made structures for nesting and live in close association with humans. Both species commonly use bridges and culverts in Oklahoma for nesting. The existing structures within the study area were examined for swallow use of the structures, Swallow use of the structures involved in this project was not observed during biological studies. If modification or removal of the existing structures is not completed by April 1st 2013, the Resident Engineer shall contact Page 5 of 7
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the ODOT Biologist to schedule another swallow survey. A plan note to this effect will be added to the plans. 3. Plan notes dated July 17, 2013 regarding potential LUST site will be added to the final project plans under â€œEnvironmental Mitigation Notesâ€? per policy Directive C-201-2D(2). 4. Construction activities will result in some traffic disruption (temporary closures/detours) on Lindsey Street and local streets. Construction traffic will be noticeable on area roadways and may contribute to localized congestion from time to time. The City will be responsible for notifying all local residential and commercial property owners, schools and emergency services providers prior to construction. The City will be responsible for posting detours routes. The Contractor will provide access to local property owners at all times. 5. A copy of the Noise Study will be provided to the City of Norman for planning future development which is compatible with elevated traffic noise levels. 6. Westheimer Airfield is located within 4 miles of this project. This action may require notifying the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of proposed construction via FAA Form 7460-1 prior to construction. 7. Since the City of Norman did not have any additional public meetings to present the findings of their study on the raised median, the City will make this signed Documented CE available for public comments for a period of two weeks and provide ODOT and FHWA copies of any comments received. ODOT and FHWA will review the comments to determine if the Documented CE needs to be elevated to an Environmental Assessment. Conclusions The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has completed the environmental analysis and review of the referenced project. ODOT has determined that this project does not individually or cumulatively have a significant impact on the environment as defined by NEPA, or involve unusual circumstances as defined in 23 CFR 771.117(b), and is therefore excluded from the requirements to prepare an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. As provided by the 2011 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)/ODOT Programmatic Agreement Processing of Categorical Exclusions, FHWA has previously determined that processing this action as a Documented Categorical Exclusion (DCE) is appropriate. Based on consideration of prior planning studies, appropriate agency solicitation, thorough environmental review, and public coordination, ODOT has determined that this action results in no significant impacts to the human and natural environment, involves no public controversy on environmental grounds, and no inconsistency with any federal, state or local laws, regulations, and administrative determinations relating to the environment. FHWA concurrence with this finding is requested. All documentation, analyses, and agency coordination regarding this Categorical Exclusion are contained in a supporting appendix maintained in the project file at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Environmental Programs Division.
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Preparer/Reviewer Signatures N/A Environmental Consultant Project Manager (If Applicable)
N/A Environmental Consultant Firm Name (If Applicable)
City Manager (For County Local Government or City Projects)
ODOT Environmental Project Manager
Assistant Environmental Programs Division Engineer
Environmental Programs Division Engineer
Concurrence that this project qualifies for a Documented Categorical Exclusion: Environmental Programs Manager, FHWA
Memos with Plan Notes Studies
Distribution List (Check Applicable Ones)
X X X X
Project Management Division (All State Projects) Roadway Design Division (All State projects with the exception of projects from Traffic Division and Special Projects) Bridge Division (All State Bridge Projects) Traffic Division (For projects from Traffic Division) Local Government Division (County or City Projects) Special Projects (Special Projects Only) Safe Routes to School Coordinator (SRTS Projects Only) Field Division Engineer (All Projects) Right-of-Way Division (All Projects) Office Engineer Division (All Projects) FHWA (All Projects. Place Copy of Complete Document on FHWAâ€™s Directory)
Copy to: Reading File
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Published on Sep 25, 2015
Documented Categorical Exclusion (DCE) for Widening West Lindsey Street from 24th Avenue SW to Berry Road in Norman, Project J2-9293 (004)AG...