2009_Nov_ROD_Colorado East Corridor

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[East Corridor Project: External Site]

Record of Decision

East Corridor Project
Denver, Aurora, Adams County, Colorado

November 2009

[Document PDF] [Appendix A PDF] [Appendix B PDF]


Table of Contents

  • Decision
    • Basis For Decision
  • Background
  • Alternatives Considered
    • No Action Alternative
    • Transportation System Management Alternative
    • Preferred Alternative
  • Mitigation Measures to Minimize Harm
  • Public Opportunity to Comment
  • Determinations and Findings
    • Section 106 Compliance
    • Section 4(F) Determination
    • Conformity with Air Quality Plans
    • Floodplains
    • Wetlands
  • Updates Since the FEIS
    • Hazardous Materials
    • Land Acquisition
    • Mitigation Measures
  • Finding

Figure
Figure 1 East Corridor Preferred Alternative Alignment

Tables

  • Table 1 Transit Station Characteristics
  • Table 2 Preferred Alternative Commuter Rail Operations

Appendices

  • Appendix A Summary of Impacts and Mitigations for the Preferred Alternative
  • Appendix B 106 Memorandum of Agreement between FTA, RTD, and SHPO


Acronym List

A

B

BMP Best management practices

BMP Best management practices

BRT Bus rapid transit

BTU British thermal unit

C

CCD City and County of Denver

CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation

CDOW Colorado Division of Wildlife

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

CO Carbon monoxide

CRMF Commuter rail maintenance facility

D

dBA Decibel (A-weighted scale)

DEIS Draft Environmental Impact Statement

DIA Denver International Airport

DMU Diesel multiple unit

DRCOG Denver Regional Council of Governments

DUS Denver Union Station

E

EIS Environmental Impact Statement

EMU Electric multiple unit

F

FAA Federal Aviation Administration

FEIS Final Environmental Impact Statement

FHWA Federal Highway Administration

FTA Federal Transit Administration

G

H

I

J

K

L

LOS Level of service

LRT Light rail transit

LUST Leaking underground storage tanks

M

MSAT Mobile source air toxics

N

NEPA National Environmental Policy Act

NOX Nitrogen oxides

NPL National Priorities List

O

P

PM10 Particulate matter having a diameter less than or equal to 10 micrometers

Q

R

RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

ROD Record of Decision

ROW Right of way

RTD Regional Transportation District

RTP Regional Transportation Plan

S

SEA Supplemental environmental assessment

SHPO State Historic Preservation Office

T

TDM Transportation demand management

TOD Transit-oriented development

TOFC Trailer-on-flat-car

TSM Transportation system management

U

UDFCD Urban Drainage and Flood Control District

Uniform Act Uniform Relocation Act Amendments of 1987

UPRR Union Pacific Railroad

U.S. United States

USACE United States Army Corps of Engineers

USC United States Code

USFS U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

V

VMT Vehicle miles traveled

VOC Volatile organic compounds

W

X

Y

Z


1.0 Decision

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), pursuant to Title 23 CFR 771 and 774 and 40 CFR Parts 15001508, has determined that the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) have been met for the East Corridor project proposed by the Regional Transportation District (RTD). This FTA decision applies to the Preferred Alternative, which is described and evaluated in the East Corridor Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), prepared by RTD and FTA and signed on September 4, 2009.

FTA has considered the information contained in the public record, including the East Corridor Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), the FEIS, regulatory and resource agency coordination, public hearing and public meeting comments, and agency review comments on the environmental documents. This Record of Decision (ROD) summarizes FTA's decisions regarding compliance with relevant environmental requirements, describes the mitigation measures to be included in the project, summarizes public outreach and agency coordination efforts, responds to substantive comments, and presents the Section 4(f) determination for the project.

The Preferred Alternative consists of an electric multiple unit (EMU) commuter rail train and track system between Denver Union Station (DUS) and Denver International Airport (DIA), located 23 miles northeast of downtown Denver. The alignment follows the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) corridor between DUS and Airport Boulevard and then heads north and east to DIA. The East Corridor Preferred Alternative alignment will operate on a double-track system using a combination of UPRR right of way (ROW), private property, and shared City and County of Denver (CCD) and City of Aurora (Aurora) ROW. The new track will not be shared with existing or planned freight rail operations. East Corridor vehicles will use the shared alignment north of DUS to the Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility (CRMF) with the FasTracks' Gold Line, North Metro, and Northwest commuter rail corridors.

Because it is a required supporting component of the Preferred Alternative, the CRMF is also included in this project. A Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) to support the Gold Line and East Corridor DEIS documents was prepared for the CRMF and is incorporated herein by reference (FTA, 2009). Content and comments from that document are incorporated into this ROD.

Neither the FEIS nor this ROD constitutes an FTA commitment to provide financial assistance for the construction of the project. In this instance, RTD is seeking funding under FTA's Major Capital Investments ("New Starts") program. FTA will decide whether to commit New Starts funds to the project in accordance with applicable Federal law including, but not limited to, the New Starts evaluation procedures codified at 49 U.S.C. Section 5309.

1.1 Basis for Decision

The environmental record for the East Corridor project includes the East Corridor DEIS (2009), the CRMF SEA (2009), and the East Corridor FEIS (2009), comments received on these documents and responses to those comments. The FEIS included a review of the purpose and need for the project, goals, and objectives, consideration of alternatives, environmental impacts, and measures to minimize harm.

2.0 Background

Planning studies conducted for the Denver metropolitan area have shown that population and employment is anticipated to increase approximately 54 percent by the year 2030 (according to the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan [RTP]). Automobile and bus travel times are anticipated to increase by approximately 35 percent in the same period. In response to this anticipated growth and to improve mobility options throughout the Denver metropolitan area, the region has explored several transportation mode solutions including bus, rail, and HOV lanes to help relieve expected congestion, address air quality issues, and offer additional transportation options to citizens within the region.

In November 2004, voters in metropolitan Denver's RTD approved the FasTracks initiative, which is intended to expand and improve public transit service to metropolitan Denver communities over a 12-year period. The FasTracks comprehensive plan calls for the construction and operation of rail lines as well as improved bus service and park-n-Rides (pnR) throughout the region. The East Corridor Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) addresses the project in the eastern area of the Denver metropolitan region that is part of the RTD FasTracks Plan. The FEIS examined a range of alternatives, their respective environmental consequences, and mitigation measures to provide improved mobility in the East Corridor study area.

3.0 Alternatives Considered

The East Corridor EIS evaluated numerous alternatives and other iterations of those alternatives to meet the purpose and need for the corridor. Alternatives were developed and evaluated to address the travel markets in the East Corridor project area, to minimize environmental impacts, and in response to the input from the agency and public involvement process. As a result of this screening and evaluation process, the Preferred Alternative was determined to be the environmentally preferred alternative. Avoidance and minimization measures taken to reduce the impacts of the Preferred Alternative have served to further reduce the environmental consequences associated with its construction and operation.

More than 100 transportation elements were evaluated during the screening process. A four-level screening process was used to reduce the range of alternatives considered for the selection of the Preferred Alternative. Alternatives were evaluated with increasing levels of detailed analysis at each screening level: initial screening, comparative screening, detailed screening, and alternative refinement. As the alternatives progressed through the screening levels, the number of alternatives evaluated decreased while being subjected to an increasing level of detailed analysis, including engineering, environmental, and community impact criteria. Using the alternative elements remaining after the initial and comparative screening, eight alternatives were developed for detailed screening. These alternatives followed various alignments between DUS and DIA and assumed both on-street and separate ROW operations. These alignments were a combination of the alignment and technology elements remaining after comparative screening that provided the best overall system operations. The corridor-wide transit alternatives evaluated in detailed screening included BRT, LRT, and commuter rail along various routes from DUS to DIA. The FEIS fully evaluated the Preferred Alternative compared to the No Action Alternative.

3.1 No Action Alternative

The No Action Alternative was also evaluated in the DEIS and FEIS and included several roadway and transit projects from the Denver Regional Council of Government's (DRCOG) Fiscally Constrained 2030 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). The No Action Alternative roadway network in the region (including roadways within the East Corridor project area) was assumed to be the roadway projects included in the DRCOG 2030 RTP as well as the connection of Smith Road through the Stapleton Redevelopment, which is not part of the DRCOG RTP, but is expected to be constructed by private stakeholders before 2030.

The transit network for the No Action Alternative included all FasTracks corridors except the East Corridor. Bus service improvements for the No Action Alternative are intended to keep pace with population and employment growth, consistent with trends in the East Corridor project area, and are based on the assumption that the Stapleton and 40th/Airport park-n-Rides remain in the same locations as today and are not expanded.

3.2 Transportation System Management Alternative

A Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative was developed to represent the "best that can be done" without implementing a major capital investment such as rail transit. The TSM Alternative was included for financial and mobility comparisons in the FEIS (in Chapter 4, Transportation Systems, and in Chapter 5, Financial Analysis and Evaluation of Alternatives). The TSM Alternative was not carried forward as a stand-alone alternative or evaluated environmentally in the DEIS or FEIS because it did not meet the project purpose and need. The TSM Alternative has been approved by FTA as the Baseline Alternative for New Starts evaluation purposes.

3.3 Preferred Alternative

The Preferred Alternative is comprised of double-tracked EMU commuter rail between DUS and DIA. The East Corridor Preferred Alternative alignment, stations, and CRMF are shown in Figure 1.

3.3.1 Alignment

The alignment follows the UPRR corridor between DUS and Airport Boulevard. This portion of the alignment uses a combination of UPRR ROW, private property, and shared CCD and Aurora ROW. At Airport Boulevard near Smith Road, the alignment heads north and then east to DIA within the Peña Transportation Corridor. The Preferred Alternative also includes a connection to the CRMF on a shared alignment with the Gold Line and Northwest Corridor.

Figure 1: East Corridor Preferred Alternative Alignment

3.3.2 Transit Stations

In addition to DUS and DIA, five stations are included in the Preferred Alternative. Approximately 3,500 parking spaces will be provided on opening day, with capacity for an additional 4,400 spaces by the horizon year (2030).

It is anticipated that the East Corridor ridership will increase significantly between opening day and 2030. The drive access demand to East Corridor station areas, and the associated number of parking spaces and environmental analysis, is based on estimates from a travel demand model. Should the drive access demand, and associated requirements for parking, be higher than the estimates used for the East Corridor FEIS and this ROD, appropriate environmental approvals will be obtained, and additional parking constructed at that time. Station sites were identified based on ridership. In addition, station requirements were developed for parking, bus bays, and other infrastructure based on the technical analysis that was part of alternative refinement. Table 1 lists the characteristics of each of the proposed stations.

38th/Blake (formerly called 40th/40th) Colorado Central Park Peoria 40th/Airport

Potential stations at 64th/Peña and 72nd/Himalaya or Dunkirk are not part of the Preferred Alternative. If implemented in the future, these stations would require additional environmental analysis and approvals. RTD will continue to coordinate with developers and local agencies on these potential stations.

Table 1: Transit Station Characteristics

Station Description Approximate Size (acres)1 Parking Spaces
Opening Day 2015 Spaces Added by 2030 Total Parking Spaces by 2030
39th/Blake Located both northwest and southeast of UPRR corridor. 5 200 300 500
Colorado2 Located west of Colorado Boulevard, south of UPRR. Parking struture to be built south of station by 2030. 3 200 1,600 1,800
Central Park Located southwest of proposed Central Park Boulevard and Smith Road, and south of the proposed alignment. 21 1,500 0 1,500
Peoria Located southwest quadrant of Peoria Street and Smith Road and south of the proposed alignment. Additional surface and parking structure to be built by 2030. 30 550 1,350 1,900
40th/Airport Located southeast of Peña Boulevard and 40th Avenue at existing RTD park-n-Ride. Parking structure to be built by 2030. 15 1,079 1,121 2,200
Total . 3,529 4,371 7,900

1 Improvements to the roadway network required by the station location are included in the station ROW.

2 The Colorado station park-n-Ride facility and the associated ROW acquisitions will be phased as necessary between opening day and 2030. The numbers in the table are for 2030.

Note: Only the 38th/Blake station includes a pedestrian structure.

3.3.3 Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility

The EMU vehicles for all the FasTracks commuter rail projects, including the East Corridor, will be serviced at a central CRMF, located immediately north of 48th Avenue on what is referred to as the Fox North site. The CRMF will include a maintenance shop, EMU rail storage yard, DMU rail storage yard, employee facilities, administrative offices, employee parking facilities, a maintenance-of-way building, and a lay-down yard. The facility will service the following fleets:

  • Gold Line: 12 to 22 EMUs
  • Northwest Rail: 22 DMUs
  • East Corridor: 30 EMUs
  • North Metro Corridor: 22 DMUs or EMUs

Train movements will occur throughout the day, with 229 movements scheduled between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and 87 movements between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. The CRMF environmental analysis (based on these 229 movements) includes the maximum number of vehicles above (i.e. 22 for the Gold Line project). Train movements within the CRMF will occur at night. The operation of the CRMF will be ongoing 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Maintenance activities need to occur during times when trains are not in revenue service. Night movements to and from the CRMF shop will be conducted in the same manner as daytime movements.

3.3.4 UPRR Track Relocation

In some sections along the UPRR corridor, mainline freight track will be relocated to accommodate both the commuter rail and freight rail in the available ROW or with minimal additional property requirements. The mainline freight track will be relocated (shifted slightly to the north) between the trailer-on-flat-car (TOFC) yard and Dahlia Street. UPRR storage tracks will be reconstructed at various locations between Colorado Boulevard and Sable Boulevard.

3.3.5 Traction Power The Preferred

Alternative will use substations to supply electricity for train operations. The power for the system will be provided by the local electrical grid. An autotransformer substation will be east of the Quebec Street and Smith Road intersection. Two paralleling substations will be located along the Peña Boulevard portion of the commuter rail alignment; one north of 40th Avenue and one east of Tower Road. Another autotransformer substation will be located near West 43rd Avenue and Inca Street which is required for all commuter rail corridors using the CRMF.

3.3.6 Rail Operations Plan

The Preferred Alternative operating plan will operate four trains per hour in each direction between DUS and DIA throughout most of the day. During late-evening periods, train service will be reduced to two trains per hour in each direction. The Preferred Alternative would operate between 3:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. Trains would operate 365 days a year on a weekday or weekend/holiday schedule. Table 2 shows the Preferred Alternative operating plan hours of operation and proposed operation schedules.

Table 2: Preferred Alternative Commuter Rail Operations

Day Service Span Service Frequency

Weekdays

3:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Peak periods: 15 minutes
Midday: 15 minutes
Evening: 15 minutes
Late/Early: 30 minutes

Weekends/Holidays

3:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Midday: 15 minutes
Late/Early: 30 minutes

Source: East Corridor Transit Operations Plan (2008).

The operations plan will be optimized as the design progresses such that the project minimizes operational costs while maximizing ridership. Possible changes could result in the use of 4-car trains sooner after opening day than currently projected, but are not anticipated to change frequencies or consist sizes for the horizon year.

3.3.7 Grade Crossings

When the train crosses a roadway, it can cross either at the same level as the roadway (at grade) or above or below the roadway (grade separated). The Preferred Alternative will be grade separated at the following crossings:

  • 20th Street
  • Park Avenue West
  • Broadway
  • 38th Street
  • Colorado Boulevard
  • Quebec Street
  • Proposed Central Park Boulevard
  • I-225
  • UPRR mainline
  • Airport Boulevard
  • East 31st Avenue
  • East 32nd Place
  • I-70
  • 56th Avenue
  • E-470
  • Peña Boulevard
  • Tibet Street (private DIA access)
  • Airport exit road
  • Airport entrance road
  • The airport commercial vehicle service turnaround road

All other roadway crossings will be at grade.

4.0 Mitigation Measures to Minimize Harm

The Regional Transportation District will design and incorporate into the project all mitigation measures included in the FEIS for the Preferred Alternative and those measures identified during final design. FTA will require in any future funding agreement on the project and as a condition of any future grant or Letter of No Prejudice for the project, that all committed mitigation be implemented in accordance with the FEIS and ROD. FTA will require that RTD periodically submit written reports on its progress in implementing the mitigation commitments. FTA will monitor this progress through quarterly review of final engineering and design, land acquisition for the project, and construction of the project.

5.0 Public Opportunity to Comment

The East Corridor FEIS development followed an extensive public and agency involvement process since the project began in July 2003 as the I-70 East Corridor EIS. Public opportunities for input have included 22 corridor-wide meetings, 37 working group meetings, 12 neighborhood meetings, 8 topic-specific neighborhood meetings, and 4 public hearings for the DEIS and the FEIS. A project website was maintained that was viewed more than 20,000 times, and newsletters were sent to members of the public, agencies, and others on a mailing list that contains more than 14,000 addresses. Project updates were sent to more than 700 addresses in the e-mail notification database.

FTA and RTD released the East Corridor DEIS on January 30, 2009, for a 45-day comment period ending on March 16, 2009. Public hearings for the DEIS were held on March 4 and 5, 2009. During the public comment period, 97 comments were received and were responded to in the FEIS.

An additional 154 comments were submitted on the SEA for the CRMF. Most of these comments addressed concerns regarding the potential loss of jobs at the Owens Corning Denver Roofing and Asphalt Plan located on the proposed CRMF site. These comments were mitigated through a reconfiguration of the site that offset the need to acquire the Owens Corning plant.

FTA and RTD released the East Corridor FEIS on September 4, 2009, for a 30-day review period ending on October 7, 2009. Public meetings were held on September 23 and 24, 2009. During the public comment period, 35 respondents submitted 41 comments. Comments received on the FEIS and responses to those comments are available on the project website, http://www.eastcorridor.com/. Comments received on the FEIS are summarized below with general responses.

Potential stations: Requests to include the additional stations a along the Peña Boulevard alignment as part of the Preferred Alternative.

Response: RTD and FTA recognize the growth occurring in the Gateway and Green Valley Ranch communities. Additional stations between 40th/Airport and DIA were evaluated during the alternative refinement phase of the alternative screening process. These stations are not included in the Preferred Alternative because stations at 64th/Pena and at 72nd/Himalaya increased corridor ridership less than three percent and therefore did not justify the additional cost to the project. RTD and FTA will continue to coordinate with developers and local agencies regarding future potential stations.

Grade Separations: Desire from residents to improve the existing grade separation at 38th Street and to construct a new grade separated crossing at Peoria Street.

Response: The existing underpass at 38th Street currently experiences traffic congestion and delay that are beyond the scope and budget of the East Corridor project. The East Corridor traffic analysis reported in the DEIS and the FEIS confirmed that the additional trips to and from the station do not make conditions worse on 38th Street in the Preferred Alternative than the No Action scenario. A grade separation at Peoria Street was determined infeasible due to associated property impacts and cost constraints. Additionally, the grade separation would not address existing and future traffic congestion problems in that location as they are not directly related to the implementation of the East Corridor.

38th/Blake Pedestrian Street Bridge: Desire from local agency and residents to move the 38th/Blake station pedestrian bridge connection from 38th Street to 36th Street.

Response: The City and County of Denver adopted a station area plan which recommends moving the proposed 38th Street pedestrian bridge. Between the DEIS and the FEIS, the 38th/Blake station platform was shifted south to better coordinate with the potential future 36th Street bridge. RTD and FTA will continue coordination with CCD regarding the possible 36th Street location for the pedestrian bridge.

Local Bus Routes: Comments and questions regarding the adjustment of local bus routes to provide connections to the commuter rail stations throughout the corridor.

Response: Local bus routes will be adjusted to provide connections to the commuter rail stations on opening day throughout the corridor. Bus service will continue to be monitored and adjusted as appropriate through RTD's semiannual service changes.

Coordination with the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD): The UDFCD sent an FEIS comment letter noting concerns about coordination, concerns about the potential impacts to detention ponds along the Peña Corridor, and various other permitting concerns.

Response: RTD met with UDFCD after receipt of the letter to express the intent to closely coordinate with UDFCD. Mitigation measures were added to the project based on this comment letter and can be found in Section 7.3 of this ROD and in the mitigation measures in Appendix A. Additionally, RTD committed to developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UDFCD to address coordination and permitting going forward as indicated in the response to FEIS comments on the East Corridor website at http://www.eastcorridor.com/.

6.0 Determinations and Findings

6.1 Section 106 Compliance

FTA has determined, in coordination with the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), that the Preferred Alternative will result in an adverse effect to the Denver West Side Line (5DV3512.3); the Denver Utah Pacific Railroad, Chicago Burlington Quincy Siding & Spur (Waterworks Sales Co, J.M. Warner Co, & Richardson Lumber Spur) (5AM1888 and 5DV6243); and the Allen-Rand Ditch (5JF4454.1). Since the FEIS, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among FTA, RTD, and SHPO has been executed. Mitigation measures have been identified and can be found in the MOA, dated September 11, 2009, in Appendix B of this ROD. East Corridor Record of Decision 10 November 2009

6.2 Section 4(F) Determination

FTA determined that there will be a use of a portion of the ROW from two historic resources: 35th and Blake LLC and the Freedom Cab Company. FTA also concluded that segments of two linear historic resources will be permanently incorporated into the project: Derby Lateral (High Line Canal Lateral A Extension/Segment "The Doherty Ditch") and the Denver Utah Pacific Railroad, Chicago Burlington Quincy Siding and Spur.

Two recreational trails that will be impacted by the project are protected under Section 4(f); however, only the existing Sand Creek Regional Greenway trail will incur a use. FTA received concurrence from CCD and the Sand Creek Regional Partnership that the use of the trail, including the consideration of impact avoidance, minimization, and mitigation or enhancement measures, does not adversely affect the activities, features, and attributes that qualify these resources for protection under Section 4(f).

FTA determined there are no feasible and prudent avoidance alternatives to the use of the Derby Lateral (High Line Canal Lateral A Extension/Segment "The Doherty Ditch"), 35th and Blake Street LLC, Freedom Cab Company, Denver Utah Pacific Railroad, Chicago Burlington Quincy Siding and Spur, and Sand Creek Regional Greenway trail. The project includes all possible planning to minimize harm, as defined in 23 CFR 774.17 that results from the use of these resources.

6.3 Conformity With Air Quality Plans

On the basis of the determinations made in compliance with relevant provisions of federal law, FTA finds that the East Corridor project satisfies the requirements of NEPA, the Clean Air Act of 1970, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966, as amended. The project is identified in the conforming Long Range Transportation Plan and in the conforming Transportation Improvement Program for the Denver metropolitan region.

6.4 Floodplains

The 100-year floodplains associated with Sand Creek, First Creek, Second Creek, and Third Creek will be impacted by the Preferred Alternative. With a minimal cross-sectional area, new proposed bridge piers will have a negligible impediment on the 100-year floodplains of all four streams. A new embankment across the Sand Creek floodplain overflow area, east of the old runway tunnels, will slightly modify water surface elevations. The Preferred Alternative will also impact existing and proposed detention ponds along the Peña Transportation Corridor.

A conditional letter of map revision will be submitted as part of continued design coordination. Detention and water quality treatment of surface drainage will be conducted in accordance with the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District (UDFCD) and local jurisdiction design requirements, and best management practices (BMPs). Floodplain management will be coordinated with local jurisdictions and UDFCD and a Floodplain Use Permit will be obtained.

6.5 Wetlands

Based on the jurisdictional determinations issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Preferred Alternative will permanently and directly impact approximately 1.0942 acres of jurisdictional wetlands and 0.0035 acre of jurisdictional open waters (1.0977 acres total). This level of impact requires application for an individual Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from USACE. The public comment period for the 404 permit application was September 4th through October 11th 2009. Permit conditions have been finalized and USACE has issued a provisional permit contingent on the 401 water quality certification. Additionally, RTD has committed to 1:1 mitigation for non-jurisdictional wetlands as noted in the mitigation table in Appendix A of this ROD. The contractor will comply with all requirements of the individual permit.

7.0 Updates Since the FEIS

There have been refinements to the impacts and mitigations, as well as advancements in coordination since the publication of the FEIS. Additional coordination has been completed since the FEIS for Section 106 compliance, Section 4(f) concurrence, and for wetlands and are documented in Section 6.0, Determinations and Findings.

7.1 Hazardous Materials

A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process, as defined by American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments (ASTM Standard E 1903 [2]), was completed in October 2009 for the Preferred Alternative.

7.2 Land Acquisition

In the FEIS Table 3.4-3, Summary of Property Acquisitions Preferred Alternative Alignment, the parcel with map number 22 was erroneously listed as Parcel ID 0224301005000. The correct Parcel ID is 0224303014000. The property owners for both parcels were contacted to notify them of the corrections. The parcel listed as map number 15 which was identified as Parcel ID 02279160118000 in Table 3.4-3, Summary of Property Acquisitions Preferred Alternative Alignment, should have been listed as 022791618000. The property owner was notified of the correction.

Parcel ID 0119300013000 will be impacted by roadway improvements. The impacted property owner was aware of the impacts through meeting discussion related to the relocation of Smith Road at Colorado Boulevard prior to publication of the FEIS, and the owner was notified of the omission.

Parcel ID 0182326104002 will be impacted by roadway improvements associated with the Peoria Station. The owner of this parcel also owns the adjacent Parcel ID 0182326104003 and was notified of the impact.

Parcel ID 0223312021000 will be impacted by roadway improvements along 40th Avenue. The owner of this parcel was notified of the omission.

7.3 Mitigation Measures

Additional floodplain and drainage mitigation measures have been identified since publication of the FEIS. These measures include:

  • Obtain Floodplain Use Permits for floodplain and drainage way crossings.
  • Submit Conditional Letter of Map Revision for floodplains predicted to experience any rise in water surface (Sand Creek).
  • Reshape and/or relocate detention ponds where embankment encroaches into regional detention ponds along the Peña Transportation

8.0 Finding

FTA has determined that the environmental documentation prepared for the Preferred Alternative satisfies the statutory an regulatory requirements of NEPA and fully evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the project. The environmental documents represent the detailed statement required by NEPA regarding:

  • The environmental impacts o the proposed project;
  • Adverse environmental effects which cannot be avoided should the proposed project be implemented;
  • Alternatives to the proposed project; and
  • Irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources which would be involved if the proposed project is implemented

Having carefully considered the environmental record noted above, the mitigation measures as required in Appendix A herein, and the written and oral comments offered by the public and other agencies on this record, the FTA has determined that adequate opportunity was afforded for the presentation of views by all parties with a significant economic, social, or environmental interest and consideration has been given to the preservation and enhancement of the environment and to the interest of the community in which the project is located; and all reasonable steps have been taken to minimize adverse environmental effects of the proposed project and, where adverse environmental effects remain, there exists no feasible and prudent alternative to avoid of ruther mitigate such effects.

/S/
Terry J. Rosapep
Regional Administrator, Region 8
Federal Transit Administration
11/06/09


Appendix A
Summary of Impacts and Mitigations for the Preferred Alternative

This appendix has not been fully converted from PDF to HTML. Please refer to the PDF for more information.

Impacts Mitigation
Social Impacts and Community Facilities

Direct Impacts

  • Acquisition of six residential properties.
  • No impacts to community facilities.
  • Benefit from improved transit system and decreased congestion.


Appendix B
106 Memorandum of Agreement between FTA, RTD, and SHPO

Memorandum of Agreement
Regarding the East Corridor Commuter Rail Project
In Denver, Aurora, and Adams County, Colorado

Impacts To:

5DV840.13: Derby Lateral (High Line Canal Lateral A Extension/Segment "The Doherty Ditch")

5DV9309: 35th and Blake St. LLC

5DV9501: Freedom Cab Company

The Parties to this Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) are the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Colorado State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD), a regional transit authority organized and existing under the laws of the State of Colorado.

Whereas, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 USC 470 etseq. requires Federal Agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and afford the ACF-IP a reasonable opportunity to comment on such undertakings; and

Whereas, the proposed federally assisted undertaking is the construction and operation of the East Corridor (the Project), for which the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process is currently underway; and

Whereas, the Project consists of the construction of a two-track commuter rail line that will begin at Denver Union Station (DUS) and follow the Union Pacific railroad (UPRR) corridor north and east between DUS and Airport Boulevard. At Airport Boulevard near Smith Road, the alignment heads north and then east to terminate at Denver International Airport (DIA) for a total distance of 22.8 miles. The Project also includes a Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility (CRMF) at the Fox North site. Mitigations for impacts resulting in adverse effects to resources by the CRMF are included in the Memorandum of Agreement Regarding the Gold Line Preferred Alternative; and

Whereas, the FTA has determined that the construction of the Project in Denver and Aurora, Colorado, will have adverse effects on historic properties (5DV840.13, 5DV9309, and 5DV9501) which are included in or have been determined to be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, and has consulted with the SHPO, consulting parties, and the ACHP pursuant to 36 CFR Part 800, regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 USC 470f); and

Whereas, the SHPO is authorized to enter into this MOA in order to fulfill its role of advising and assisting Federal agencies in carrying out their Section 106 responsibilities under the following federal statutes: Section 101 and 106 of the National Historic -
Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, 16 U.S.C. § 470f, and pursuant to 36 CFR Part 800, regulations implementing Section 106 at §~ 800.2(c)(1)(i) and 800.6(b); and

Whereas, in accordance with 36 CFR 800.6(a)(1), FTA has notified ACHP of its adverse effect determination by providing the documentation specified in Sec. 800.11(e). on May 7, 2009. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation did not reply with a
request to participate in the consultation process, and

Whereas, 36 CFR 800.6(b)(iv) provides that if the agency official and the SHPO/THPO agree on how the adverse effects will be resolved, they shall execute an MOA; and

Whereas, RTD has participated with the ETA, and consulting parties in the consultation with the SHPO and has been invited to concur in the MOA to reflect its commitment to the measures described in this agreement;

Now Therefore, FTA, SHPO, and RTD hereto agree to a resolution of the adverse effects of the undertaking to be implemented in accordance with the following stipulations:

Stipulations

FTA shall ensure that the following measures are implemented:

I. Mitigation

A. Resource Protection

FTA has determined in consultation with the SHPO that the construction of the Project will have an adverse affect on the 35th and Blake St. LLC and the Freedom Cab Company.

5DV9309: 35th and Blake St. LLC. The Project would cross through the northern edge of the property as it approaches the 38th/Blake station. The Project would require a
potential partial acquisition of approximately 0.27 acres of the property (34 percent), resulting in an adverse effect.

5DV9501: Freedom Cab Company. Roadway improvements associated with the Project would shift the existing alignment of Smith Road south onto the north edge of the resource property. The roadway improvements would require a potential partial acquisition of approximately 0.08 acres (18 percent) from the property, resulting in an adverse effect.

The parties have developed the following mitigation measures to reduce or mitigate the identified adverse effects on the properties:

  1. RTD shall incorporate special conditions into the construction documents to ensure that the affected resource is protected during construction.

B. Archival Documentation

FTA has determined in consultation with the SHPO that the construction of the Project will have an adverse affect on the Derby Lateral (High Line Canal Lateral A Extension/Segment "The Doherty Ditch").

5DV840.13: Derby Lateral (High Line Canal Lateral A Extension/Segment "The Doherty Ditch"). The Derby Lateral is recorded as eligible for the NRHP under the name High Line Canal Lateral A Extension/Segment "The Doherty Ditch". The Project would adversely affect 0.23 acres of the Derby Lateral where the mainline crosses the canal on the east side of Peña Boulevard. The canal would likely be enclosed underground through a culvert at this location, which is an adverse effect to this resource.

The parties have developed the following mitigation measures to reduce or mitigate the identified adverse effects on the properties:

  1. Prior to commencing construction, RTD will conduct Colorado Historical Society, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP) Level II documentation to accurately record the features of each impacted segment of the historic linear resources identified above.
  2. RTD shall ensure that this historic resource is documented in accordance with the guidance for Level II documentation found in OAHP form #1595, Historical Resource Documentation: Standards for Level I, II, Ill Documentation. RTD shall consult with the SHPO to determine appropriate Level Il recordation measures.
  3. RTD shall ensure that all documentation activities will be performed or directly supervised by, architects, historians, photographers, and/or other professionals meeting the qualification standards for their field in the Secretary of Interior's Professional Qualifications Standards (36 CFR 61, Appendix A).
  4. RTD shall provide originals of all documents resulting from the documentation to the SHPO and to a local library or archive.

C. Review and Comment

RTD shall afford the SHPO thirty (30) days from the date of transmittal to review and respond to any reports, plans, specifications or other documentation provided for review pursuant to this MOA.

II. Duration

This MOA shall be null and void if its terms are not carried out within five (5) years from the date of its execution. Prior to such time, FTA may consult with the other signatories to reconsider the terms of the MOA and amend it in accordance with Stipulation V below. This MOA shall be effective upon signing by all parties (FTA, SHPO, and RTD).

III. Post-Review Discoveries

In the event that one or more historic properties, other than those discussed in this MOA, are discovered or that unanticipated effects on historic properties are found during the implementation of this MOA, the FTA shall follow the procedure specified in 36 C.F.R. 800.13.

This stipulation specifies procedures to be followed by all RTD employees and all RTD contractors and subcontractors should any archaeological, historic, or paleontological resources be discovered during construction of the project.

  1. Immediately suspend construction operations in the vicinity of the discovery if a suspected historic, archeological, or paleontological item, feature, prehistoric dwelling site or artifact of historic or archeological significance is encountered.
  2. Notify the RTD Project Manager for the project verbally of the nature and exact location of the discovery.
  3. The RTD Project Manager for the project immediately will contact the SHPO and will consult with a qualified historian or archeologist to advise SHPO and RTD regarding the significance and recommended disposition of the discovery. The RTD Project Manager for the Project will protect the discovered objects from damage, theft, or other harm while the procedures of this stipulation are being carried out.

IV. Monitoring and Reporting

Each year following the execution of this MOA until it expires or is terminated, RTD, on behalf of ETA, shall provide all parties and signatories to this MOA a summary report detailing work undertaken pursuant to its terms. Such report shall include any scheduling changes proposed, any problems encountered, and any disputes and/or objections received regarding RTD and FTA's efforts to carry out the terms of this MOA. Failure to provide such summary report may be considered noncompliance with the terms of this MOA pursuant to Stipulation V, below.

V. Dispute Resolution

Should any signatory to this MOA, including the invited signatory, object at any time to any actions proposed or the manner in which the terms of this MOA are implemented, FTA and SHPO shall consult and attempt to resolve the dispute. If FTA determines, within 30 days, that the dispute cannot be resolved, FTA, may:

  1. Forward all documentation relevant to the dispute to ACHP in accordance with 36 CFR 800.2(b)(2). Upon receipt of adequate documentation, ACHP shall review and advise FTA on the recommended resolution of the dispute within 30 days. Any comment provided by the ACHP shall be taken into account by FTA in reaching a final decision regarding the dispute.
  2. If ACHP does not provide comments regarding the dispute within 30 days after receipt of adequate documentation pursuant to 36 CFR 800.11, FTA may render a decision regarding the dispute. In reaching its decision, FTA shall take into account all comments from other signatories regarding the dispute.
  3. FTA's responsibility to carry out all other actions subject to the terms of this MOA, that are not the subject of the dispute, remain unchanged. FTA shall notify the SHPO of its decision in writing before implementing that portion of the undertaking subject to dispute under this Stipulation. FTA's decision shall be final.

VI. Amendments and Noncompliance

If any signatory to this MOA, including the invited signatory, determines that its terms shall not or cannot be carried out or that an amendment to its terms must be made, that party shall immediately consult with the other parties to develop an amendment to this MOA pursuant to 36 CFR 800.6(c)(7) and 800.6(c)(8). The amendment shall be effective on the date a copy signed by all of the original signatories is filed with ACHP. If the signatories cannot agree to appropriate terms to amend the MOA, any signatory may terminate the MOA in accordance with Stipulation VII, below.

VII. Termination

If the MOA is not amended following the consultation set out in Stipulations V and VI above, it may be terminated by any signatory. Within 30 days following the termination, the FTA shall notify the SHPO whether or not it shall initiate consultation to execute a new MOA under 36 CFR 800.6(c)(1) and proceed accordingly.

Execution of this MOA by FTA, SHPO, RTD and the other parties and submission of this MOA to ACHP pursuant to 36 CFR 800.6(b)(l)(iv) prior to FTA's approval of this undertaking, and implementation of its terms evidence that FTA has taken into account the effects of this undertaking on historic properties and afforded ACHP an opportunity to comment.

Signatories:

Federal Transit Administration, Region VIII
By: /S/
Terry J. Rosapep, Regional Administrator
Date: 08/14/09

Colorado State Historic Preservation Officer
By: /S/
Edward C. Nichols, SHPO
Date: 08/27/09

Invited Signatories:

Regional Transportation District
By: /S/
Phillip A. Washington, Interim General Manager
Date: 09/11/09