Colorado: Planning and

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Colorado: Planning and
Environmental Linkages

Integrated Planning Work Group

Peer Exchange

Washington, DC


January 27, 2009



SAFETEA
-
LU


Consideration of potential environmental
mitigation activities


Consultation with resource, regulatory and
land management agencies, and Tribal
governments


Transportation planning studies


PEL Concept


Considerations in
planning process
and use decisions
in NEPA later


Ecosystem vs.
project
perspective


Early and better
coordination


Progression from just
NEPA focus

Benefits of PEL


Common sense


Early and continuous coordination with
agencies


Better decisions result in:


Environmental stewardship


Financial stewardship


Ultimately save time, money and effort


Relationship
-
building

History of PEL in Colorado


STEP UP


Linking Planning and NEPA (LPN) On
-
line
Training


LPN Guidance


Statewide Transportation Plan Process


CDOT PEL Program Manager


PEL Corridor Studies


FHWA PEL Questionnaire

STEP UP


Environmental
Streamlining


New Planning Process:


Identify environmental
issues early


Establish early and
continued involvement by
resource agencies


Create a better link
between transportation,
environmental, and land
use planning


Evaluate and rank projects
using environmental data


Web
-
based GIS Tool


http://www.nfrmpo.org/planning/

Linking Planning and NEPA Training


On
-
line training


Provides guidance to
integrate planning
and NEPA


How to incorporate
planning process
elements into project
-
level environmental
review



http://www.dot.state.co.us/environmental/Training/NEPA_index.asp

CDOT LPN Guidance


For use by CDOT staff and regional
transportation planning partners


Addresses how data, analysis, and
products from planning can be
incorporated into NEPA


Meets SAFETEA
-
LU requirements

http://www.dot.state.co.us/environmental/Training/linking
-
overview.html

Statewide Transportation Plan
Process


Developed Corridor
Visions, Goals and
Strategies


Environmental Forum
with Resource
Agencies


Environmental Tabs


Resource Management
Plans


http://www.dot.state.co.us/StatewidePlanning/PlansStudies/2035Plan.asp

CDOT PEL Program Manager


Develop effective working relationships with
FHWA, CDOT and MPOs


Form the link between transportation planning
and project delivery to advance NEPA analysis
into the planning process


Assure environmental data are available to
planning staff and their consultants and are
appropriately utilized and interpreted


Be available to furnish expertise and institutional
knowledge

PEL Corridor Studies


Arapahoe Road


Denver, 2007


56
th

Avenue


Denver, 2008


Parker Road


Denver, current


US 50 West


Pueblo, current


US 24 East


Colorado Springs, current

FHWA PEL Questionnaire


Consistent with 23 CFR 450 Appendix A


Submitted with PEL Study Document


Consists of 13 Questions:


Corridor Vision/Purpose and Need


Range of Alternatives and Screening Criteria


Agency and Public Coordination


Resources


Relationship to Future NEPA Document

Barriers


Money


Database development


Different perspectives between land use,
transportation and environmental planning


Coordination with various disciplines (engineers,
environmental, regulatory agencies, etc.)


Time and staffing


Carry forward into NEPA



Statewide

Environmental Forum


Bring together


Local Transportation Officials


10 rural areas


5 “urban” areas


Resource and Regulatory Agencies


Goal: Better understanding of the
resources and issues


Best meeting ever!

CDOT’s Statewide Environmental
Forum

Results


Question 1: Was this an effective tool for sharing
information between agencies about programs and
activities?
87% said yes.


Question 2: Was there sufficient time for conversations?
30% said yes.

A majority of evaluations
requested between 5 and 15 minutes more for
each conversation


Question 3: Did you feel you were able to effectively
communicate with other parties?
91% said yes
.


Question 4: Should CDOT host similar events in the
future as transportation plans are developed?
89%
said yes.

What’s Next?


Developing a more refined process of moving from
planning through NEPA


Ensuring that planning decisions are recognized in a
NEPA study


Education and outreach on planning process


Current CO PEL efforts include:


Partnering agreement with Transportation Environmental
Resource Council (TERC)


PEL web
-
based decision tool


PEL training


Charting CDOT transportation and environmental planning
processes

Questions for You


Success with alternatives elimination in
planning?


Moving into NEPA and how much is
revisited?


How much time between a planning study
and NEPA?

FHWA letter responding to a PEL Study


SUBJECT:

56
th

Avenue: Havana Street to Pena Boulevard



Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study Process



Dear Mr. Mutz:



This letter is in response to your request for FHWA concurrence regarding the
Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study initiative undertaken by the
City and County of Denver, CDOT, and URS Corporation on the 56
th

Avenue
Corridor Study project. We appreciate and commend the efforts the team has
undertaken to conduct this corridor planning study in a manner consistent with
the FHWA PEL guidance which outlines a process similar to that required by
NEPA. The benefits of this streamlining effort will undoubtedly be realized in
terms of time and cost savings on future NEPA studies conducted within the
corridor planning study limits.



The completed PEL Questionnaire submitted to FHWA on December 16, 2008
provides a good summary of the work completed in PEL study and the
information that will be needed once projects enter into the NEPA process…….

Colorado PEL Contacts

Name/Title

Area

Email

Michelle Scheuerman


CDOT

Planning Section Manager

Statewide Planning

michelle.scheuerman@dot.state.co.
us

Tracey MacDonald
-

CDOT
Statewide Planning Unit Manager

Statewide Planning
and STEP UP

tracey.macdonald@dot.state.co.us

Sheble McConnellogue
-

PEL
Program Manager

CDOT PEL Program

sheble.mcconnellogu@dot.state.co.
us

Bill Haas
-

FHWA Metropolitan
Transportation Planner

CO PEL Program

william.haas@fhwa.dot.gov

Stephanie Gibson
-

FHWA
Environmental Program Manager

Environmental Policy
and PEL Questionnaire

stephanie.gibson@fhwa.dot.gov

Suzette Mallette
-

NFRMPO
Regional Transportation Planning
Director

STEP UP

smallette@nfrmpo.org

Alison Deans Michael

USFWS/CDOT Liaison

U.S. Fish and
Wildlife
/CDOT Liaison

Alison_Michael@fws.gov