Monday, October 26, 2009

Asking Important Questions to Authorities (Project NEON)

My name is Dahn Shaulis, from the Stop the F Street Closure Coalition. Please ensure that these questions and concerns become part of the public record for Project NEON. Most of the questions are specific to Project NEON and its effect on the Westside neighborhood, although I also have concerns about the impact of this project on enabling unsustainable urban sprawl.

For the record, I asked you several of these questions via email at least two weeks ago, and hope you have adequate responses. I also requested more information, a hard copy of the Draft EIS, a CD of the Architectural Inventory, and more information on the survey you conducted, but still have not received a response after my request more than two weeks ago.

In my opinion, it appears that NDOT and its contractors are not adequately knowledgeable in environmental justice, planning equity, sustainability, and smart growth, and I suggest you hire outside consultants such as Robert Bullard, Henry Holmes and Don Chen who can assist in planning in a more environmentally just fashion. The timeline that I will provide you illustrates how planners have systematically ignored the concerns of Westside residents, including the closing of F Street. In my opinion, the Draft EIS shows that the FHWA and NDOT still don't get it.

1. I am concerned about pedestrian safety on MLK from Charleston Boulevard northward.

A. What will the speed limit(s) be? Please be specific.
B. What controls will there be to control and enforce motor vehicle speed? Are these the state of the art strategies?
C. Where will pedestrians be able to cross MLK, and how will pedestrian traffic be controlled? Please be specific.
D. Has NDOT considered the types of pedestrians who will be crossing MLK, particularly children and elders? If so, how will the safety of these people be considered?

2. I am concerned about the people you are planning to displace in the Westside area.

A. How many people in the area be displaced and what are the addresses?
B. Have all the people who will be displaced been notified? If so, did the notifications result in responses? Are these responses documented and of public record?
C. Where will these displaced people go?
D. Who will be accountable for adequate and affordable housing for those people who are displaced?
E. How will this displacement be documented to guarantee that these people have safe, adequate and affordable housing that is close to work and services?
F. You did a survey of people who would be displaced, but only received a 22% return rate? Do you feel this was a satisfactory survey response rate?

3. I am also concerned about small streets that intersect with MLK. How safe will it be to get onto MLK from these streets, particularly streets such as McWilliams, Madison, Wyatt, Jimmy, Hart, Hassell, Lawry, Balzar, and Bartlett?

A. Will these streets continue to be accessible from MLK, or will they be closed?
B. If these small streets remain open to MLK, how will traffic be controlled?

4. I am concerned about future air pollution and noise levels near the Agassi School tennis courts and other facilities that may house children. What do you expect air pollution and noise levels to be if the MLK-Industrial connector becomes a street with gridlock?

5. If the MLK-Industrial becomes a major connector, what plans are there for public transportation on this street, including a cross-town bus?

A. If there is a cross-town bus, where will it stop?
B. Will public transportation be hampered while the connector is being constructed?
C. Will there by issues with people crossing MLK to get to bus stops?

6. How will construction affect access to on and off each one of the on- and off-ramps near the Westside? In the past, the closing of these ramps have severely restricted access to and from the neighborhood and have created undue hardship to the community. Please be specific for each and every on- and off- ramp.

7. How will Project NEON enable unsustainable sprawl in the Valley?

A. This project is based on what population projections?
B. This project is based on what degree of infill or sprawl? Please be specific.
C. What long-range plans by NDOT and other agencies (Including State, County and City organizations) do you know of for the West Side and other communities in Las Vegas? In the past, NDOT has denied knowledge of such plans. Please be specific.  

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