Friday, May 7, 2010

Concerns about Environmental Justice and Project NEON

Project NEON will displace several hundred working-class people and people of color. The connector between Industrial Boulevard and MLK Boulevard will also be "dangerous by design" particularly for children at the Agassi Boys & Girls Club, which is only feet away from MLK.

Mr. Cooke and Mr. Abdalla,

I am concerned that NDOT's responses to my questions about Project NEON did not adequately address Environmental Justice concerns for West Las Vegas. One of these was as a result of my error.

I am requesting an email copy of your responses so that I can share it with other citizens before the next public comment period ends. It would be unfortunate for everyone if these issues are not resolved, and we have another F Street situation.

(1) One of my major concerns in that the Industrial-MLK Connector will be used as a north-south arterial, like Desert Inn Road is as an East-West arterial. This connection could lead to more traffic, higher traffic speeds, more pollution, and more pedestrian deaths of children, elders, and disabled people in West Las Vegas.

Although Project NEON does not physically touch much of West Las Vegas, by tying the Industrial-MLK connector into a widened MLK Boulevard, there may be a large Environmental Justice impact along MLK Boulevard, north of the actual project.

Are you saying that a 6-lane MLK Blvd connected to Industrial Blvd. will continue to have a 30 mph speed? Have you discussed these issues of traffic control with Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, and the RTC? How is it possible that you haven't coordinated with the RTC about public transit as it pertains to this project?

Shouldn't public transit be a part of early planning rather than as an afterthought? Many people in the area (at least 25%) are transit dependent and dedicated transit routes could relieve congestion and pollution.

(2) I'm not sure I understand your point about disregarding the survey of potentially displaced people. Does that mean you will not resurvey this population? How does that comply with EJ concerns?

(3) In response #7, I asked about the impact on the Agassi School. I meant to say the Boys and Girls Club (800 N. MLK Blvd), near Washington. Again, my concern is that when Industrial Road is connected to MLK, it will increase traffic, traffic speeds, and air pollution, creating a host of EJ issues.

Dahn Shaulis

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