Public Comment Letter to Project Neon

Date: March 8, 2012
To: Project Neon Team
From: Scotch Eighties Neighborhood
Subject: Comments on proposed changes to Project Neon

In reviewing the proposed ultimate plan for Project NEON, the Scotch Eighties neighborhood is very concerned about two issues: 1) noise impacts during construction and at the completion of each phase of the project; and 2) the potential impact of additional traffic diverted into the neighborhood due to the ultimate proposed configuration of the Martin Luther King connector to Industrial. We are not opposed to the Project Neon project, we only request that you carefully consider these concerns as you evaluate and complete the potential redesign of the project.

Concerns About Noise: As stated at every opportunity throughout the Project Neon EIS process, our neighborhood is concerned with the noise impact to our neighborhood, both during construction and at each phase of project completion. We appreciate that the Project team has taken these concerns seriously and that they have assured us that sufficient steps will be taken to require strict noise mitigation measures during construction, and that the design of sound walls at the completion of each phase will be sufficient to mitigate noise impact to our neighborhood. We would request that this same level of promise and attention to noise mitigation during construction and at the completion of each project phase be fully adopted and incorporated into the proposed changes to the Project Neon design currently under consideration.

As we review the map of the ultimate proposed project, it is unclear where soundwalls will be placed both on Martin Luther King, and on the freeway adjacent to our neighborhood. It is our understanding and our hope, that in the proposed project design, between Charleston and Silver, sufficient sound walls will be proactively and sufficiently incorporated into the design both on MLK and the freeway in this area.

Concerns About MLK South Traffic Impact in Neighborhood: As for the proposed change to the Project Neon design, while we supported and prefer the original project design, we understand the need/desire to reduce project costs. Much of the presentation materials in the current request for project design change are focused on the specific details of the proposed Phase 1. As we understand this proposal, we do not have any major issues with the design as shown in Phase 1 (other than wanting to reiterate the noise mitigation request listed above).

Our concern with the proposed changes to the Project Neon design, is in regard to the ultimate project design, specifically related to the new alignment of Martin Luther King south. First, unfortunately, the vast majority of information provided by Project Neon regarding the proposed project change is focused on Phase 1, and very little details is provided on the specifics of subsequent phases or the ultimate project design. In addition, the ultimate project design graphic/map is difficult to read/understand. Also, we could not find any information on what the direct or indirect traffic or other impacts will be on adjacent neighbors due to the redesign of Martin Luther King south. It is also unclear on the ultimate design map, if there will be an exit directly onto Charleston from Martin Luther King south, or if those traveling south on MLK wishing to get off onto Charleston will need to exit early -- north of Charleston on Alta or Bearden or Hastings, or exit late—south of Charleston on Ellis. If there is not an exit from MLK south onto Charleston, has the Project team measured the increased traffic count/impact on Alta, Bearden, Hastings and Ellis? If so, what are those impacts? We are particularly concerned with the added traffic flow on Ellis, and the resulting potential impact on our neighborhood. In one project document, it appears that the traffic counts in the Ellis (Silver)/MLK area will significantly increase, however, we could not find any information on what the related impact will be to the neighborhood, or if any improvements are planned to mitigate that impact or improve Ellis to accommodate the potential increase in traffic exiting via Ellis to get to Charleston. Without such specific details, it is difficult to gauge the true impact on our neighborhood.

Assuming that south MKL as proposed will "flyover" Charleston without a direct exit onto Charleston, we would request the project team consider the following changes. First, we would request that the Project Neon team consider including an exit from MLK south directly onto Charleston. Secondly we would request that the Project Neon team consider changing the design to direct the MLK south traffic east at Alta or further north, to connect on the east side of I-15 with Grand Central Parkway or other roads to connect with Industrial. If these alternatives are not possible, our neighborhood would request that special measures be proactively incorporated into the project design to mitigate direct or indirect traffic impact into the Scotch Eighties neighborhood as a result of any phase of this project.

Perhaps the anticipated traffic overflow count is minimal and such measures will not be necessary, but without specific information on the anticipated traffic overflow impact resulting from the ultimate proposed MLK redesign, we felt it was prudent to raise these concerns for your consideration. We appreciate the opportunity to offer these comments for consideration and potential incorporation as you proceed in the evaluation and completion of the proposed changes to the Project Neon design.

If you have any questions or would like to provide any additional information or engage in additional dialogue with our neighborhood, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Steven Grogan
Scotch Eighties Neighborhood Association