A friend from work left me an ad for the latest public meeting to discuss the spot improvements for I-66 within Arlington.
Here’s the information for the public meeting, which is not listed on the website linked above:
Date: Monday, October 27, 2008 from 7-9 p.m, presentation begins at 7:15.
Location: Washington-Lee High School (Cafeteria) – 1300 N Quincy Street Arlington.
Parking available in the parking deck to the north, and the nearest Metro is Ballston-MU.
Phone information line: 1-888-643-3266
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There will be an opportunity to provide written comment, leave oral comments with court reporters, and ask questions of the design team. The design features as well as environmental documentation will be available at the public hearing.
It’s important to note that the environmental documentation is a proposed Categorical Exclusion, which means that under NEPA, there will not be any Environmental Impact Statement, Environmental Assessment or associated public hearing periods. This significantly reduces the review process, and is defined by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as:
Categorical Exclusion: 1. A class of actions which either individually or cumulatively would not have a significant effect on the human environment and therefore would not require preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act. (definition 2 deleted because it is not applicable)
I have a concern that the parallel bike path along the highway will be affected by this widening, but I have received assurances from the project engineer that where there is a conflict between the highway project and the bike trail, the lanes and shoulders will be narrowed in order to maintain the trail
I also have a concern with the spin put on the project as being "spot improvements". Go ahead and scroll out on the map above. The highlighted sections are where VDOT proposes to add another travel lane to I-66. The length of the added lane is around half the total length of I-66 within Arlington. This doesn’t constitute "spot improvements" in my book. I don’t personally have a problem with building the third lane, but VDOT should not try to hide the truth by calling it a "spot improvement".