Volume IIc Part 3 Chapter 3 Section 3

3.0 RESPONSE TO SPECIFIC COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT EIS/EIR AC Transit East Bay BRT Project Final Environmental Impact State...

0 downloads 27 Views 2MB Size
3.0 RESPONSE TO SPECIFIC COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT EIS/EIR

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report

January 2012

Section 3.0

THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK.

3.1 FEDERAL AND STATE AGENCY COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project Final Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report

January 2012

Section 3.1

THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK.

Comment Letter 1-1

1-1-1

1-1-2

1-1-3

1-1-4

1-1-5

Letter 1-1 United States Environmental Protection Agency July 3, 2007 1-1-1

Thank you for your comment. As described in Section 4.12.2 of the Final EIS/EIR, the significance criteria discussion has been revised to reference Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for NEPA and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) criteria for CEQA. Moreover, as described in Section 4.12.3, the proposed project would have no operational impacts with respect to criteria pollutant emissions (including Particulate Matter (PM)) due to a reduction in VMT resulting from a relative increase in the transit mode of travel due to implementation of the proposed project.

1-1-2

As discussed in Section 4.17.9, the proposed project would exceed BAAQMD constructionrelated significance thresholds for the emissions of Reactive Organic Gases (ROG), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), PM10 and PM2.5. However, implementation of the construction related mitigation measures described in Table 4.17-8 would reduce ROG and PM emissions to a less than significant level. Construction-related NOx emissions would be significant and unavoidable with mitigation incorporated.

1-1-3

See response to comment 1-1-2 above. With respect to the additional proposed mitigation measures listed in the comment letter bullets, items 2, 4, 5 and 6 are incorporated in the following measures from Table 4.17-8 of the Final EIS/EIR: Basic Construction Mitigation Measures: 6. Idling times shall be minimized either by shutting equipment off when not in use or reducing the maximum idling time to 5 minutes (as required by the California airborne toxics control measure Title 13, Section 2485 of California Code of Regulations [CCR]). Clear signage shall be provided for construction workers at all access points. 7. All construction equipment shall be maintained and properly tuned in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications. All equipment shall be checked by a certified mechanic and determined to be running in proper condition prior to operation. Additional Construction Mitigation Measures: 5. The simultaneous occurrence of excavation, grading, and ground-disturbing construction activities on the same area at any one time shall be limited. Activities shall be phased to reduce the amount of disturbed surfaces at any one time. 10. The project shall develop a plan demonstrating that the off-road equipment (more than 50 horsepower) to be used in the construction project (e.g., owned, leased, and subcontractor vehicles) would achieve a project wide fleet-average 20 percent NOX reduction and 45 percent PM reduction compared to the most recent ARB fleet average. Acceptable options for reducing emissions include the use of late model engines, low-emission diesel products, alternative fuels, engine retrofit technology,

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-1

after-treatment products, add-on devices such as particulate filters, and/or other options as such become available. 12. All construction equipment, diesel trucks, and generators shall be equipped with best available control technology for emission reductions of NOx and PM. 13. All contractors shall use equipment that meets California Air Resources Board’s most recent certification standard for off-road heavy duty diesel engines. In addition, the following proposed mitigation measures have been incorporated in response to this request: -

-

Establish an activity schedule designed to minimize traffic congestion around the construction site to minimize impacts to sensitive receptors in the project area, such as schools, hospitals, parks, and athletic centers. Locate construction equipment and staging zones away from sensitive receptors as well as away from fresh air intakes to buildings and air conditioners.

1-1-4

Thank you for your comment.

1-1-5

Thank you for your comment. The noise and vibration analyses were completed using current federal guidance (May 2006) as described in Section 4.13 of the Final EIS/EIR.

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-1

Comment Letter 1-2

1-2-1 No DEIS/DEIR Comment

Letter 1-2 United States Department of the Interior July 3, 2007 1-2-1

No DEIS/DEIR comment.

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-2

Comment Letter 1-3

1-3-1

1-3-2

1-3-3-

1-3-4

1-3-5

1-3-6

1-3-7

1-3-8

1-3-9

1-3-10

1-3-11

1-3-12

1-3-13

1-3-14

1-3-15

1-3-16

1-3-17

1-3-18

1-3-19

1-3-20

1-3-21

1-3-22

1-3-23

1-3-24

1-3-25

1-3-26

1-3-27

1-3-28

1-3-29

1-3-30

Letter 1-3 Caltrans July 3, 2007 1-3-1

High visibility crosswalks with advance stop bars have been planned at frequent intervals in the BRT corridor. New traffic signals are also planned at key intersections throughout the project alignment. A high visibility crosswalk would typically have high-definition transverse (ladder) striping, but could also have additional signing to emphasis the need to yield, or encourage usage of the crossing.

1-3-2

Although the DEIR showed curb modifications, the project does not change the existing condition (assuming trucks can encroach into the same-direction BRT lane), so in theory, no modifications for trucks are necessary. If proposed, the curb radii changes are not of such magnitude that they would appreciably change the turning speed. However, many cities are maintaining the curb radii as-is, sacrificing truck mobility for improved pedestrian safety.

1-3-3

Thank you for your comment.

1-3-4

A Hazardous Waste Initial Site Assessment Addendum (October 2011) has been completed for this project and is summarized in Section 4.11 of the Final EIS/EIR. Potential utility relocations are identified in Section 4.5. In utility relocation areas that also have identified environmental risk sites nearby will be further evaluated using ASTM standards for Phase II assessments to estimate the location and extent of contamination within the construction area.

1-3-5

Please see response to 1-3-4.

1-3-6

The DPR has been prepared (December 2010) and submitted to Caltrans for review. It contains a cooperative agreement (4-2284) which defines appropriate maintenance responsibilities.

1-3-7

The proposed project would not impact any Heritage Trees, as defined in SB 1799. In addition, the tree preservation ordinances of each city have been researched and all significant trees in the corridor have been measured and cataloged to determine which trees will be impacted by the median narrowing and bulbout cuts. A tree replacement plan is provided in Table 4.6-4 in Section 4.6 of the Final EIS/EIR to address these concerns.

1-3-8

Ratings of project impacts on aesthetics were provided for representative viewpoints in Section 4.6.3 of the Draft EIS/EIR. A discussion of scenic views, scenic highways, and light/glare has been added to Section 4.6 of the Final EIS/EIR to address other questions contained in the Visual/Aesthetics portion of the Appendix C Checklist.

1-3-9

Ratings for existing visual quality based on vividness, intactness and unity are described in Section 4.6 of the Final EIS/EIR.

1-3-10 Section 4.6.3 of the Final EIS/EIR has been revised to more clearly describe the methods of the visual impact analysis. 1-3-11 A discussion of the relevance, dominant characteristics and existing quality of each viewpoint has been added to Section 4.6 of the Final EIS/EIR. AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-3

1-3-12 Section 4.6.4 of the Final EIS/EIR has been revised to acknowledge that proposed landscaping within the State Highway System will be designed consistent with Section 506 of the Caltrans Encroachment Permits Manual. Adherence to requirements of the Manual will not require changes to project design or the visual impact mitigation findings in the Final EIS/EIR. 1-3-13 Thank you for your comment. 1-3-14 Thank you for your comment. 1-3-15 Thank you for your comment. See Section 4.6 regarding the project landscape features. 1-3-16 Please refer to Sections 3.2 and 7.9.16 of Final EIS/EIR for a discussion of diverted traffic to parallel roadways and the resulting impacts and feasible mitigation measures. 1-3-17 As discussed in Section ES.5 and in Chapter 7 of the Final EIS/EIR there has been a rigorous process of outreach and coordination with local agencies. The Preferred Alternative reflects the independent judgment of appropriate elected or appointed officials in each of the three cities. 1-3-18 The proposed route alignment has been determined through a three-year MIS process and considered factors such as population and employment density, the location of activity centers and educational facilities, and other considerations. Please see Section 7.9.1 of the Final EIS/EIR for a detailed discussion of the development, analysis and selection of the route alignment. Following the circulation of the Draft EIS/EIR, the Locally Preferred Alternative route alignment was adopted by each of the three cities. Given these considerations, it is not technically feasible to relocate the project alignment to alternative routes. 1-3-19 As mentioned in Section 3.2.5 of the Final EIS/EIR, several facilities are already operating below the State's target LOS threshold under Existing Conditions. This section contains a discussion of feasible mitigation measures to mitigate the project's impact to a less-than-significant level. The mitigated LOS, in certain cases, still results in LOS that does not achieve the State's LOS target threshold. 1-3-20 Section 3.2 of the Final EIS/EIR provides updated traffic impact analysis. 1-3-21 As discussed in Section 7.9.6.4 of the Final EIS/EIR, provision of dedicated transitway improves the speed and reliability of BRT service, particularly within congested corridors. This element of the proposed project's design would facilitate fulfillment of the project purpose, as defined in Section 1.2 of the Final EIS/EIR. Given these considerations, a phase-in of partial project improvements is not proposed. 1-3-22 Please refer to Sections 3.2 and 7.9.16 of Final EIS/EIR for a discussion of diverted traffic to parallel roadways and the resulting impacts and feasible mitigation measures. 1-3-23 The Project Report for this project has been drafted (December 2010) and will be circulated to Caltrans for review. 1-3-24 Please refer to Section 4.5 for revised utility information. The cost estimated for the potential utility relocates identified in Table 4.5-1, as reported in the Draft Project Report, is $860,000. AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-3

1-3-25 See Section 3.2 of the Final EIS/EIR for the revised traffic study. 1-3-26 Per the Cooperative Agreement (District Agreement Number 4-2284) signed by Caltrans and AC Transit on July 30, 2010 (Recital # 4 and section III.7), states that FTA will be the lead agency for NEPA and AC Transit will be the lead agency for CEQA. 1-3-27 Per the Cooperative Agreement (District Agreement Number 4-2284) signed by Caltrans and AC Transit on July 30, 2010, a Draft Project Report (DPR) has been prepared (December 2010) and submitted to Caltrans. 1-3-28 Per the Cooperative Agreement (District Agreement Number 4-2284) signed by Caltrans and AC Transit on July 30, 2010, a DPR has been prepared (December 2010) and submitted to Caltrans. . 1-3-29 The DPR has been prepared (December 2010) and submitted to Caltrans for review. 1-3-30 Implementation of State procedures does not constitute significant new information as defined in CEQA Section 15088.5 and therefore the State-required material is incorporated into the Final EIS/EIR.

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-3

Comment Letter 1-4

1-4-1

Letter 1-4 Governor’s Office of Planning and Research June 7, 2007 1-4-1

No DEIS/DEIR comment.

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-4

Comment Letter 1-5

1-5-1

1-5-2

1-5-3

1-5-4

1-5-5

1-5-6

1-5-6

1-5-7

1-5-8

1-5-9

1-5-10

1-5-11

1-5-12

1-5-13

1-5-14

1-5-15 1-5-16

1-5-17

Letter 1-5 University of California, Berkeley July 3, 2007 1-5-1

Wayfinding and signage will be coordinated with the city of Berkeley. BRT stations will have real time message signs (e.g.; bus arrival and departure information) as well as information kiosks. This is in addition to the wayfinding measures already integrated into other regional transit programs. .

1-5-2

The downtown loop and Oxford Loop are not part of the Preferred Alternative as described in Sections 2.1.1 and 2.3.2 of the Final EIS/EIR. Any future extensions of the BRT system would not be precluded by implementation of the Preferred Alternative, and would be fully evaluated if and when extensions are studied in the future.

1-5-3

BRT service through Berkeley no longer includes dedicated lanes. The Preferred Alternative is described in Section 2.3.2 of the Final EIS/EIR.

1-5-4

Thank you for your comment.

1-5-5

Outside Berkeley, significant improvements to the pedestrian environment have been planned, including high visibility crosswalks and improved signage, elimination of many left turning movements, and the installation of pedestrian refuge islands. Please see Section 7.9.10 of the Final EIS/EIR for further discussion.

1-5-6

Please refer to response to comment 1-5-3. There is no increase to local pollution levels expected as a result of BRT implementation. As described in Sections 4.12 and 4.14, the proposed project would result in a net decrease in VMT, and therefore emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases would be reduced as a result of the project, as compared to the No Build Scenario.

1-5-7

Please refer to comment 1-5-3.

1-5-8

BRT service would not affect local bus service except for Route 1 and Route 1R, which will be consolidated into a single service.

1-5-9

Existing and future bikeways in Berkeley are shown in Figure 3.3-1. Both Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way will have bike lanes in the BRT corridor, as specified in the City of Berkeley Bicycle Master Plan. Class 2.5 bike routes (4' to 5' wide) are planned for Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, the entire length up to Woolsey Avenue. All of the proposed and existing bicycle facilities in each city's Bicycle Master Plan have been accommodated in the cross section drawings for the corridor. See also Section 3.3 of the Final EIS/EIR.

1-5-10 As discussed above, the proposed project has been modified to remove exclusive transit lanes within the City of Berkeley. Accordingly, no substantial traffic redistribution is anticipated. 1-5-11 Access to the parking structures and other existing facilities will be maintained.

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-5

1-5-12 For operational reasons, it is necessary for the bus layover location to be near the end of the line. AC Transit understands Berkeley's concerns and will work with the various concerns to identify a location that is mutually acceptable. 1-5-13 West Crescent will not be used for bus layover. 1-5-14 Please see Section 7.9.9 of the Final EIS/EIR for discussion of parking impacts and feasible mitigation measures. The detailed parking impact analyses are presented in Section 3.4 of the Final EIS/EIR. This section also presents the feasible mitigation measures. 1-5-15 The Alameda County Sheriff, under contract to AC Transit, will be responsible for enforcing transit-only use. Local police may also find it advantageous to enforce lane restrictions. 1-5-16 Deliveries would occur essentially as they do today. Please see Sections 3.2 and 3.4 for traffic circulation and freight delivery/parking discussion, respectively. 1-5-17 Thank you for your comment.

AC Transit East Bay BRT Project FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT

January 2012

Letter 1-5

THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK.