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Citizens Against the Pellissippi Parkway Extension, Inc.

Analysis

Preliminary Injunction Explained

TDOT's Decision to Undertake an EIS

TDOT Public Meeting Oct 25th, 2007

CAPPE's response to Feb 19, 2008 TDOT public meeting

TDOT Update October 2008

 

Preliminary Injunction Explained (July 17, 2002)

By now I hope you have heard the good news that Judge Todd Campbell issued the Preliminary Injunction on July 17. This means TDOT must cease all activity on the Pellissippi Parkway Extension until CAPPE's motion calling for a full Environmental Impact Statement can be heard in court. The date for that hearing has not yet been set. It could be as soon as three months or as far off as six months. Below I've answered some of the questions people have been asking about the Preliminary Injunction.

Why did CAPPE seek a Preliminary Injunction?

CAPPE asked the Court to issue the Preliminary Injunction because we knew we would not get a hearing date for many months on the motion for an Environmental Impact Statement. We knew that while we were waiting for a court date, TDOT would be proceeding with right-of-way acquisitions (and condemnations). We felt these actions should not go on when there was uncertainty about the future of the PPE. Apparently the Federal Highway Administration agreed, because they withdrew federal funding for right-of-way acquisition pending the outcome of our case. As the FHWA explained, they did not want federal dollars to be spent on something that was uncertain.

What does the Preliminary Injunction mean?

The Preliminary Injunction means that TDOT and the FHWA must cease all activity on the PPE. The language in the ruling is "all Defendants and their officers, agents, employees, servants, attorneys, and all persons in active concert or participation with them are hereby restrained and enjoined from continued planning, financing, contracting, land acquisition, and construction of a four-lane, controlled access highway called the Pellissippi Parkway Extension from State Route 33 to Highway 321 in Blount County, Tennessee, pending further order of the Court."

Why did Judge Campbell issue the Preliminary Injunction?

The Judge's ten-page ruling explains all the issues he considered in issuing this ruling. Please ask a CAPPE Board member if you would like to see a copy of the Judge's ruling. Judge Campbell wrote that there was a "probability of success on the merits" of CAPPE's case on several counts. Judge Campbell noted that there is an "Oversight Agreement" requiring the State to "comply with all Federal-aid funding requirements, including but not limited to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)." He noted that there is nothing in the record to demonstrate that the Federal Defendants explained why the PPE was an exception to the NEPA requirement for an EIS. He noted that CAPPE had a probability of success on the merits of the claim that NEPA requires an EIS because the Environmental Assessment prepared by the State and the FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) issued by the FHWA have not adequately explained why the PPE does not "significantly" affect the quality of the human environment. Judge Campbell noted that the Federal Defendants did not take the "hard look" required by federal regulation at the need for the PPE, induced growth and potential inconsistencies with local planning, air pollution and ozone impacts, impacts on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and impacts on those whose livelihoods depend on working farms that would be condemned as part of the PPE. Judge Campbell also noted that the Preliminary Injunction "serves the public interest by insuring compliance with NEPA.

From CAPPE's point of view, the ruling could not have been stronger. However, the PI does not mean the PPE will not be built, nor does it mean an EIS will be done. The PI means that TDOT has to cease all work on the PPE until our next court date, where the decision will be made about whether an EIS is required.

What happens to the appraisals and Right-of-Way purchases that were being negotiated before July 17?

All such negotiations must cease, as ordered in the Preliminary Injunction, until CAPPE's case (requesting the full EIS) is heard in court. Any property owner who has a signed contract with TDOT regarding compensation for their land or property should seek legal counsel regarding the status of that contract.

Does the Preliminary Injunction mean the PPE will not be built?

No. The Preliminary Injunction means TDOT must stop all work on the PPE until our case is heard in court.

What happens next?

CAPPE is awaiting the setting of the date of the court hearing on our motion for a full Environmental Impact Statement. Our attorney and the TDOT and FHWA attorneys are setting up schedules for sharing of information and documents necessary to prepare for that hearing. CAPPE will continue to educate the public and raise funds for our legal expenses. Meanwhile, the State has said they will build the PPE with state revenue.

Reactions around Blount County

CAPPE members and supporters are very happy with the outcome of the July 17 hearing and the issuing of the Preliminary Injunction. We know this is only a small step and there is no guarantee the Judge will rule later that an EIS is required. However, in reading the Judge's ruling, we feel affirmed that asking that the law be upheld was the right thing for CAPPE to do. The Judge's ruling also means the regulations in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) must be taken seriously by TDOT and the FHWA. The Judge's ruling also signals that CAPPE is a legitimate organization working in the public interest. Efforts to discourage or intimidate us have not worked.

Some Blount County residents are not so happy. Some are saying (incorrectly) that CAPPE has stopped the PPE. CAPPE did not stop the PPE. What CAPPE did was ask that federal regulations be upheld. The Judge ruled only that TDOT has to stop work on the PPE until our next court date. We do not understand why some Blount County residents, including some of our elected officials-- think that following the law is unimportant. What other laws do our elected officials think the State should disregard?

Some people who bought land a few years ago hoping to sell it at a profit for development near the PPE are angry with CAPPE. To these people, all we can say is that speculation in real estate is inherently risky. So is choosing to disregard the law.

Some people may have received verbal offers for their property from TDOT, and are now unhappy that those negotiations are suspended until our case is heard in court. A few people may have made commitments to purchase property in anticipation of finalizing their compensation and relocation agreements with TDOT. While we feel sympathy for these people, they took action based on assurances from TDOT and it is with TDOT that they must take up their concerns. We hope their commitments to purchase property contained the standard contingency clauses stipulating the fulfillment of TDOT's offer as a condition of the purchase contract. Anger with CAPPE is misplaced. Judge Campbell found that TDOT, not CAPPE, had failed to comply with the law.

Some people think that CAPPE is a tiny group of people who will be losing land if the PPE is built. Many of our members do not live on the proposed route of the PPE, and some of our members will lose land if the PPE is built. The local media have continued to represent CAPPE as consisting of only a few affected property owners, even though we have told them about the breadth of our membership and support. People across Blount County have joined and supported CAPPE because we think the impact of the PPE has not been properly studied and the assumptions of its positive effects are only assumptions; they are not based on analysis.

Specifically, Mayor West's claim that the PPE will alleviate traffic congestion in Maryville is speculation. This speculative claim is also made in TDOT's Environmental Assessment, but it is not proven by analysis or data. The Southern Loop, (which with the PPE would comprise a beltway around Maryville and Alcoa) which Mayor West also supports, could draw some traffic away from downtown Maryville, but current traffic figures show that most traffic into downtown Maryville has downtown as its destination.

Just because a few prominent people say the PPE is a solution to the problem of congestion in downtown Maryville is not sufficient to persuade all of us. We want to see the evidence that this is truly a solution, and even more important, that the "solution" does not create even bigger problems for Blount County. This is why CAPPE has been asking for an EIS.

Some people are starting to notice that TDOT has lots and lots of money while the rest of the State budget is in a crisis. TDOT has expressed, to the court and to the public, their intention to build the PPE with state revenue even if the FHWA does not restore the funding it has temporarily withdrawn. Given the condition of the state budget, and the shortages in funding for our schools and other services, we expect even more Blount County residents will join CAPPE once it becomes clear that their tax dollars are being used to build an interstate highway that will only add to the existing pressures on Blount County schools, roads, air, water and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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TDOT's Decision to Undertake an EIS (Sept 28, 2004)

You may have seen the story in the Maryville Daily Times on September 28, reporting on TDOT's announcement of the decision to undertake an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Pellissippi Parkway Extension.(The story is posted on CAPPE's website, www.saveitdontpaveit.org in the section on CAPPE in the Press.)

What does this mean?

Our interpretation is that TDOT and the Federal Highway Administration have conceded that CAPPE was right all along: federal regulation requires an EIS for any new, four-lane, limited access highway in a new location, and so an EIS is required for the Pellissippi Parkway.

What will happen now?

FHWA and TDOT will begin the process of research and analysis that an EIS requires. Both the draft EIS and the final EIS are full disclosure documents providing a full description of the proposed project, the existing environment, and analysis of the anticipated beneficial or adverse environmental effects. In the draft EIS stage, all reasonable alternatives-including "no action" or "no build"--must be discussed at a comparable level of detail.

The draft EIS and final EIS contain much more comprehensive and detailed analysis than that done for an EA. Purpose, need, and all areas of potential impacts--traffic, environmental (including air, water, and noise pollution), economic, land use, historical, archeological and social-must be addressed through in-depth study. The impact, or lack of impact, must be substantiated by data. The EIS must also address mitigation of all potential impacts. The EIS also addresses secondary and cumulative impacts. Secondary impacts are those effects that are expected to be "caused" by the proposed action but are later in time and removed in distance, but are still reasonably foreseeable. Cumulative impacts are those which result from the incremental consequences of an action when added to other past and reasonably foreseeable actions-such as the new Alcoa Parkway and the proposed Southern Loop.

The public will have opportunities to review and comment on the draft EIS. TDOT and the FHWA must consider and prepare responses to all substantive comments received on the draft EIS, including comments from the public (hearings or individuals).

What happens to the injunction?

The Sixth Circuit Court ordered Judge Todd Campbell to modify the original injunction to allow FHWA and TDOT to prepare new NEPA documents. All other aspects of the injunction remain in place, which means TDOT cannot acquire Right of Way or do any other work on the PPE until the final EIS is approved.

What does the future hold?

TDOT has said the EIS process may take from 18 to 36 months. CAPPE maintains that objective data documenting the purpose and need for the PPE have never been provided. We have asked TDOT to use the EIS process of study and analysis and the data it generates to inform a decision whether to proceed, rather than use the EIS to confirm a premature decision on a project for which need has not yet been established.

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TDOT Public Meeting Oct 25th, 2007

INFORMATION REGARDING TDOT PUBLIC MEETING OCT. 25, 2007, ON PURPOSE AND NEED AND ALTERNATIVES

TDOT has scheduled a public meeting for Thursday, October 25, from 5-8pm in the Heritage High School Auditorium. Plan now to attend and express your concerns.

We received notice of this meeting on Friday, October 5, despite TDOT’s own commitment, in their Public Involvement Plan, to provide 30 day notice of all public meetings. See

http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/pellissippi/pdfs/PPECoordinationPlan.pdf

At the Oct. 25 meeting TDOT will present the ‘Purpose and Need’ for the PPE as well as ‘initial alternatives.’ The public will have opportunities to comment on the Purpose and Need and the alternatives. Written comments can be sent to TDOT for 21 days after the Oct. 25 meeting.

Starting at 5:15 PM (EDT), TDOT will make a formal presentation on the status of the project. The presentation will describe the work completed since the Scoping Meetings in June 2006, the purpose and need statement for the project, and initial alternatives identified for the project.

Following the formal presentation, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, citizens will be afforded an opportunity to work with TDOT officials in smaller groups and share their ideas on alternatives to be considered. Representatives of TDOT will be available to assist with the exchange of ideas and to provide information on the purpose and need of the project.

The workshop will conclude with a full group discussion and question and answer session between 7:00 and 8:00 PM.

A court reporter will be available to receive oral statements to be included in the project transcript. In addition, comment sheets will be available for those who prefer to make written statements.

Background

In July 2006, CAPPE Board members met with TDOT staff at the Knoxville TDOT headquarters. At that meeting CAPPE urged TDOT to share the ‘Purpose and Need’ statement with the public before seeking public input on alternatives. How could the public assess alternatives when the Purpose and Need were not known? The upcoming Oct. 25 public meeting combines Purpose and Need with Alternatives. By putting these two components into one meeting, the public is being asked to consider alternatives without being given adequate time to evaluate the Purpose and Need.

New Developments

TDOT has changed the description of the project purpose. The original rationale for the PPE was to provide four-lane access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This need no longer exists, but instead of acknowledging that this project is no longer needed, we see TDOT offering new ‘needs’:

  • Lack of a northwest/east connection east of Alcoa and Maryville to help serve:
    • Expanding residential development occurring in eastern Alcoa and Maryville and northern Blount County; and
    • Increasing demand for trips between Maryville and Alcoa and the Knoxville area to the north.
     
  • An incomplete regional roadway (Pellissippi Parkway (SR 162) between I-40 and US 321) that has been a part of the regional transportation planning efforts since the late 1970s.
  • Traffic congestion and poor levels of service on the major arterial roads in the study area (US 129, SR 33, US 411 and US 321);
  •  
  • High crash incidents in the Maryville core that through travelers between the northwestern and eastern portions of the county must pass.

CAPPE'S response

The PPE will accelerate residential development in the area, imposing further strains on the County budget and already inadequate infrastructure (roads and schools). There is no plan to improve the existing road system to which the PPE will add traffic.

The Blount County Policies Plan does not contain a vision of becoming a bedroom community for Knoxville and Oak Ridge. The Policies Plan does contain a commitment to maintaining the rural character of the County.

Transportation planning ideas from 30+ years ago have been replaced by new approaches that will better serve our community. Transportation planners around the country have learned from the outdated ideas of the past – let’s learn from them.

TDOT’s own studies showed little improvement in Level of Service (LOS) on major arterial roads if the PPE were built. This is a classic example of referring to a symptom to justify an action rather than addressing the cause. TDOT should address the factors that cause high crash incidents, not seek a way to by-pass them. Also the PPE would increase the likelihood of crash incidents, injury, and fatality by adding traffic to US 411, a substandard 2-lane road with no shoulders and poor sightlines.

We are asking to see the traffic studies and analysis TDOT relied upon as the basis for determining these ‘needs’.

TDOT has also offered revised objectives:

The core transportation objectives of the proposed action are:

  • Enhance regional transportation system linkages;
  •  
  • Improve circumferential mobility by providing travel options to the existing radial roadway network in Blount County, Maryville, and Alcoa;
  •  
  • Achieve acceptable traffic flows (level of service) on the local transportation network; and
  •  
  • Improve roadway safety on the existing roadway network, including the Maryville core.

CAPPE'S response

We agree that safety is a primary objective. We disagree that increasing traffic on US 411 and delivering traffic onto US 321 will improve safety in the Maryville core. We agree that acceptable traffic flows (level of service) is an objective. We disagree that the PPE would improve traffic flows on SR 33, which needs two major improvements: a center turn lane and reconfiguration of the Lincoln Rd./SR 33-Broadway/Wildwood Road intersection. (See proposed designs.)

TDOT further says Secondary objectives of the proposed action include:

  • Support community and growth management goals;
  • Minimize adverse impacts to neighborhoods and businesses;
  • Minimize adverse impacts to farmlands; and
  • Minimize adverse impacts to the natural and cultural environment

CAPPE'S response

The PPE will ensure the opposite of these ‘secondary’ objectives. As indicated above, the Blount County Policies Plan expresses a commitment to maintain the rural character of the county. The accelerated growth that would follow the extension of the PPE, and the demand for services, are contrary to the community’s current needs and growth management goals.

Alternatives

TDOT has proposed five alternatives for evaluation in the EIS: (1) No-Build; (2) Transportation System Management (TSM) activities; (3) Transit; (4) Upgrade existing roadways in the northeastern part of Blount County; and (5) a new four-lane roadway on new location.

CAPPE'S response

Alternative (1) is preferred, as there are other higher priorities for transportation improvements in our county. The Alcoa By-Pass will do much more to address safety and Level of Service, as will the Montvale Road improvements.

Alternative (4) - Upgrade existing roadways in the northeastern part of Blount County is consistent with the Wilbur Smith Associates study that was done for Blount County some years ago. The two major highways in the area (SR 33 and US 411), if improved, would contribute a great deal to improved traffic flow and safety. Our Highway Superintendent Bill Dunlap has identified other roads (for example, Ellejoy) in need of safety improvements that qualify for federal funds.

Additional comments

  • Traffic problems in Maryville around Montvale and Morganton Roads, the 129 bypass, the old and the new Wal-Marts and other roads where the County has been experiencing most of its growth (and accidents) will not be relieved by 4.5 miles of interstate highway in the northeastern part of Blount County.
  •  
  • Traffic congestion on SR 33 (Broadway) at the current terminus of the PPE will not be relieved by the proposed extension of the PP. The on- and off-ramps for SR 162 at SR 33 do need to be reconfigured and integrated into the access road entrance to the new R&D Park, along with Alcoa Trail, which serves the Clayton headquarters, and the entrance to Jackson Hills. Traffic lights at SR 33/Sam Houston Schoolhouse Road and the integrated entrance to the R&D Park would help with the flow of traffic at different times of day.
  •  
  • SR 33 (Broadway) will continue to be a slow route anywhere east or west until a center turn lane is created. Without a center turn lane, all traffic has to wait for any single driver wishing to turn across oncoming traffic.
  •  
  • The Wildwood Road/Broadway/Lincoln intersection is another bottleneck that will not be resolved by extending the PPE. This intersection can be redesigned to improve traffic flow and safety.
  •  
  • The campus-like atmosphere of the Research & Development Park at the Jackson Farm will be disrupted by building an interstate highway through it.
  •  
  • The proposed PPE was projected to have an interchange at Sevierville Road (US 411) and another at US 321. Sevierville Road is a narrow 2-lane road with no shoulders. Adding traffic bound for the PPE to this substandard federal highway is inviting injury and fatalities.
  •  
  • In 2004, the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization projected a total cost for the PPE extension at approximately $22,900,000. A later estimate was $37.4 million. In its current planning documents, the TPO projects the Right of Way phase alone will cost over $11 million – and this is before any construction is done. Let’s use our limited highway funds for projects like the Alcoa Highway By-pass that will ensure safety for many, not for a project that will exacerbate our transportation problems.

If you would like to send written comments to TDOT about Purpose and Need and Alternatives, the deadline is 21 days after the October 25 meeting. Send your comments to the address below and please send a copy to CAPPE at PO Box 494, Alcoa, TN 37701.

Project Comments

  • Tennessee Department of Transportation
  • Suite 700, James K. Polk Building
  • 505 Deaderick Street
  • Nashville, TN 37243-0332
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CAPPE's response to Feb 19, 2008 TDOT public meeting

(see below for TDOT websites with the handouts, presentation materials and official TDOT comment form)

Whatever else you write in your letter to TDOT, you must state your opposition to the PPE and your preference that TDOT improve existing roads.

  1. TDOT’s traffic analysis is seriously flawed.

    According to TDOT’s traffic studies, the PPE will produce marginal and short-lived improvements to traffic conditions on a few roads, and within 20 years even these limited improvements will have disappeared.

    Becky White, whose firm did the traffic analysis for TDOT, said that this projection assumes the Southern Loop and other proposed new roads will be built. The Southern Loop is a proposed 26-mile beltway encircling Alcoa and Maryville. (For why the projection makes this assumption, see below.)

    The Southern Loop (officially known as the Southern ByPass) is in the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization’s (TPO) Long Range Transportation Plan for 2030 (or later).

    By the time the Southern Loop is projected to be built, any of the (limited) positive impact of the PPE on traffic flow will be gone.

    Are you confused? Here’s why TDOT’s traffic analysis includes the Southern Loop:

    Transportation planners rely on a region’s Long Range Transportation Plan for basic assumptions. The Plan for our region includes the PPE, Alcoa Parkway, Southern Loop, and Montvale Road projects -- none of which would be ready for use when the PPE is projected to open.

    In 2001 TDOT Commissioner Bruce Saltsman announced the results of a feasibility study and said the Southern Loop, with a projected price tag of up to $276.6 million, was too expensive to build at that time. The feasibility study was requested by Blount County, Blount Chamber of Commerce, Blount Industrial Board, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority and the cities of Maryville and Alcoa.

    In 2004 the City of Maryville was considering alternatives to the Southern Loop as proposed by by Hunter Interests. According to an article in the Daily Times on June 14, 2004,

    “After discussion, it was agreed that federal and state governments could likely be convinced to invest in a set of smaller road projects, rather than spending large sums on a major project such as the proposed Southern Loop, included in the long-range Transportation Planning Organization outlook.”

    So why is TDOT including the Southern Loop in their analysis of the impact of the PPE?

    Because the Southern Loop is still in the regional Long Range Plan of the TPO. The TPO’s Long Range Plan reflects requests from and is approved by the elected officials of the municipalities in the region.

  2. What you can do
       
    • Tell TDOT that they need to do credible traffic studies of the impact of the PPE on our existing road system – the road system that will be in place when the PPE is in use. Until this is done there is no objective data supporting the assertion that the PPE will alleviate traffic congestion anywhere in the cities or the county.
    •  
    • Ask Mayor Swann, Mayor Mull and Mayor Cunningham to explain their position on the Southern Loop and if they no longer support it, to instruct the TPO to remove the Southern Loop from the TPO’s Long Range Plan.
  1. Local officials say that growth following the PPE will not add to sprawl and will be ‘managed’ because the interchanges are within the cities’ Urban Growth Boundaries
  2. This notion is either naïve or disingenuous.

    Alcoa and Maryville will ‘manage growth at the interchanges’ to the extent the cities enforce their own zoning regulations. It is the area in the County (outside the UGBs) that will become more attractive for subdivision development. This acreage will be less closely ‘managed’ and is most likely to be residential development that costs the county more in services than it generates in revenue (unless property taxes go up as they have in Maryville)

    In 2000 city officials and real estate agents observed that the widening of 411S was a spur to growth. According to a Feb. 26, 2000 Daily Times article,

    As the vacant land fills up near the new road, the subdivisions will develop farther and farther back into the county.

    "It's developing pretty much the way we thought it would. Basically any time you take a U.S. highway and make improvements, that spurs commercial growth." said Maryville City Manager Gary Hensley.

    Pat McGill, the president of Blount County Board of Realtors with Realty Executives, said that the U.S. 411 widening has definitely made that one of the real estate hot spots in the county. It is also a contributing factor to the popularity of the William Blount school district, she added.

    What you can do:
       
    • Insist that the Blount County Planning Commission consistently fulfill its obligation to comply with the state’s enabling language for planning commissions, which prohibits approval of any subdivisions unless the infrastructure (schools that are not already at capacity, roads, utilities) are already in place
  1. Three new schools will be using 411N/Sevierville Road in the coming years.
  2. The City of Maryville is building a new school on Sevierville Road in the John Sevier area. Blount County is purchasing land for a new school off of Sevierville Road in the Prospect area. At the Feb. 19, 2008 TDOT meeting, County Mayor Cunningham announced a plan for another Blount County school to be located between the existing Porter Elementary (in Wildwood) and Prospect. All of these schools will add traffic to Sevierville Road/411N.

    Imagine the number of school busses and parents driving two-lane shoulder-less Sevierville Rd/411N to deliver students to these schools in the morning and pick them up at the end of the day – along with the teachers and staff of all three schools.

    Now imagine all the drivers who will use Sevierville Road/411N to get to or from the PPE/Sevierville Road interchange to travel to work, shopping, and health care in Knoxville.

    What you can do:
       
    • Ask local officials how they will protect the safety and well-being of residents by making improvements to Sevierville Road/411N before any more traffic is added to this unsafe federal highway.
  1. TDOT is not going to provide projections of the impact of the PPE on the County budget.
  2. In July 2006 CAPPE requested that TDOT include, in the economic analysis that is part of the EIS, a projection of the impact of the PPE on the County budget. The accelerated growth that will follow the highway will put new pressures on our County resources to provide schools, teachers, law enforcement, road maintenance and other services.

    The Blount County Growth Strategy developed by Hunter Interests, Inc. states that one outcome of the PPE will be “acceleration in the rate of residential development.”

    Gary Hensley, former City Manager of Maryville, said in a January 29, 2002 Daily Times article that the PPE will spur residential growth. In the same article Alcoa City Manager Mark Johnson said:

    “New roads create growth. . . . Our theory is you'll see people who are moving to the area that might normally choose to live in West Knoxville will find it just as convenient to live in Blount County. . . . We think there will be development pressure from a residential standpoint.

    At the Feb. 19, 2008 TDOT public meeting, Ed Cole of TDOT said the agency is not going to get involved in ‘Blount County’s future finances.' For example, the County will decide how many schools to build and what they will cost. (See #3 above.)

    However, TDOT is already committed in its Project Data Summary to complete an EIS that will “consider the indirect impacts resulting from the project that would occur later in time or further removed in distance,” and “those impacts may include growth-inducing effects or other effects related to changes in the pattern of land use, population density, or growth rate and related effects on air, water and ecosystems,” and “cumulative impacts on the study area’s resources that would result from this project in combination with other past, present and reasonably future actions by public and private entities.”

    What you can do
       
    • Ask TDOT to include in the EIS the cumulative and secondary impacts and ‘growth-inducing effects’ of the PPE on population growth rates in northeastern Blount County, not only within the two cities’ urban growth boundaries, that extend later in time and further removed in distance.
    •  
    • Ask County elected officials how they plan to pay for more schools, more teachers, more road maintenance, more law enforcement officers and vehicles, and how large the property tax increase will be to pay for these services to the anticipated ‘accelerated residential development.’
  1. TDOT is not considering improvements to SR 33 among the alternatives
  2. SR 33 (Old Knoxville Highway/East Broadway) is a two-lane state road lined with businesses and driveways and no turn lanes. This road fronts the new Pellissippi Centre at the current terminus of the Pellissippi Parkway. TDOT has encouraged Blount County to apply for a TN Industrial Access grant of $4.525 million to redesign and build the entrance to the Centre at SR 33. This will aid traffic flow in the area around the Centre (Sam Houston Schoolhouse Road, Clayton headquarters, Jackson Hill subdivision and onto and off the PP) but will do little to aid bottlenecks on SR 33 west of the Centre (for example, Wildwood/Lincoln Road intersection).

    Among the alternatives to the PPE being considered by TDOT is ‘upgrade existing roadways’ but SR 33 is not listed as one of the roads to be improved under this alternative.

    What you can do
       
    • Ask TDOT to include SR 33 among the roads contained in the ‘upgrade existing roads’ alternative.
    •  
    • Ask State Representatives McCord and Overbey and Senator Finney to advocate for improving SR 33 instead of building the PPE.
  1. The PPE is not needed for the success of Pellissippi Centre
  2. A story in the Feb. 20, 2008 edition of Blount Today quotes Maryville City Manager Greg McClain saying “the park is positioned “wonderfully” to be successful whether Pellissippi stops or goes through it.”

    What you can do
       
    • Spread the word to help others understand that the current traffic problems on weekday mornings and evenings at the intersection of the PP and the Pellissippi Centre will be fixed without the PPE (see # 5 above).
    •  
    • Encourage TDOT and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville to design the terminus of the PP and the area at PP and SR 33 as a destination along the lines recommended by Hunter Interests.
  1. Alternate Route B is not a credible alternative
  2. TDOT is required seriously to consider feasible alternatives The proximity of Route B to important historic sites, a school and the Little River make the selection of this alternative highly unlikely.

    Large numbers of residents of subdivisions in the path of Alternate Route B came to the Feb. 19, 2008 TDOT meeting to protect their homes and neighborhoods. Having heard that Mayor Cunningham prefers Route A, the people in the path of Route B have now gone home relieved that their residences are safe. What they don’t understand is that even if the PPE doesn’t go through their subdivision, the PPE will affect their quality of life because this new highway and the Southern Loop will affect the entire County.

    The Southern Loop will have interchanges at U.S. 321 (West Lamar Alexander Parkway) near William Blount Drive, U.S. 411 east of the intersection with U.S. 129 (Calderwood Highway), Montvale Road between Ridge and Raulston roads and U.S. 321

  1. The safety and interests of tourists and commuters are being promoted at the expense of residents
  2. Making Blount County a bedroom community for Knoxville and Oak Ridge may benefit commuters but we will all pay the price in costs of services, losses to businesses in Maryville and Alcoa, more cars on our unimproved roads and loss of the rural character of the County.

    Building roads that encourage and accommodate longer commutes in an era of declining oil reserves is short-sighted.

    What you can do
       
    • Write letters to TDOT and elected officials telling them you do not want the PPE built and that you want TDOT to “upgrade existing roads. Your letter to TDOT must be postmarked or e-mailed by March 11, 2008 to be included in the official record of the Feb. 19, 2008 meeting
    •  
    • Send your letter to: Project Comments, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Suite 700, James K. Polk Building, 505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37243-0332
    • OR by e-mail to mike.russell@state.tn.us

      Your letter must be postmarked or e-mailed by March 11, 2008.

    • Send a copy of your letter to elected officials. Their names and addresses are in this Update.
    •  
    • Send a copy of your letter to CAPPE at PO Box 494, Alcoa, TN 37701 or email it to cappe@saveitdontpaveit.org
    • Talk to your friends and neighbors. Ask them if they know that there is no plan to improve 411N in the near future and that the traffic projections that show only limited improvement to traffic flow assume the Southern Loop and the Alcoa Parkway will be built.
    •  
    • Ask local businesses if they are concerned that the PPE will direct traffic away from their business. If they are concerned, encourage them to write to TDOT.
    •  
    • Even if you do not live near the proposed PPE or Southern Loop, these roads will affect you, our schools, our existing road system, our County budget, our tax rates and our quality of life. Do not assume it is ‘a done deal. Speak out by writing a letter to TDOT.
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    • Learn about the alternatives proposed by CAPPE and The Raven Society. On CAPPE’s website are examples of improvements to SR 33/East Broadway/Old Knoxville Highway and to the Lincoln/East Broadway/Wildwood Road instersection. You can also find an analysis from the October 2007 TDOT meeting that outlines CAPPE’s recommendations. On the Raven Society website www.theravensociety.org you will find their detailed analysis of the proposed PPE.
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    • When you hear people say that the PPE will be good for Blount County, ask them for objective facts and analysis. Until the EIS is complete, they are only speculating about the impact of a new highway on our community. This is not responsible planning. We should not spend millions based on assumptions.

Elected Officials

Find updated contact information for state and local elected officials Elected Official Contact List.

Send letters to the Editor of The Daily Times to: Editor, The Daily Times, 307 E. Harper Ave., Maryville, TN 37804

OR

Editor, The Daily Times, P.O. Box 9740, Maryville, TN 37802-9740

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TDOT Update October 2008

TDOT issues first newsletter on the EIS for the PPE.

You may have received in the mail last week the ‘Pellissippi Parkway Extension Project Newsletter” dated October 2008. This TDOT publication reports on activities related to the EIS, some of which have been completed and others which are underway or still to come. You can read the newsletter on-line at

http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/pellissippi/news.htm

Of particular interest to CAPPE are the following items from the newsletter:

  • In the section titled ‘Refinement of Preliminary Alternatives and Corridors’ we read that the purpose and need for the project have not changed. Among the stated needs is ‘Improve roadway safety on the existing roadway network, including the "Maryville core.” – but we still have never seen any traffic data or analysis that shows how the PPE would improve traffic flow in the Maryville core!
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  • In the section titled ‘Concurrence Reached on the Alternatives to be Evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)’ we read that two routes for four-lane interstates remain among the options. There is also a new alternative: ‘upgrade two-lane network’ that has been added. There is more detail about this and the other alternatives on the TDOT website at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/pellissippi/alternatives.htm

    The new alternative is described as follows:

    The alternative concept of upgrading a two-lane network of existing roads to serve as a two-lane connection between SR 33 and US 321 emerged during the course of this study based on discussions with the public about travel needs and environmental concerns. This upgraded network was seen as a way to improve some of the currently deficient two-lane roads in the study area and provide a more direct connection between SR 33 and US 321 east of Maryville without having a new freeway-type facility. A route using existing Sam Houston, Peppermint Road, Hitch Road and Helton Road has been identified. Under this alternative, now referred to as Corridor D, an improved two-lane roadway would be constructed using the existing roadway alignment where possible, while straightening curves and realigning intersections and using new location to provide a continuous route.

    The TDOT website also shows a timeline at

    http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/pellissippi/timeline.htm

    The timeline shows release of the Draft EIS is anticipated for Spring or Summer 2009, with public hearings and comment on the DEIS in Summer 2009.

Blount County Planning Department holding ‘Green Infrastructure Workshops

Please plan to attend one or more of these local workshops, during which participants will have opportunities to identify locations for conservation, preservation, protection, parks and trails in Blount County. Bring your friends and neighbors!

Green Infrastructure Workshops
  • October 13 - Middlesettlements
  • October 14 - Heritage High School
  • October 16 - Friendsville Elementary School
  • October 20 - William Blount HS 9th Gr. Acad.
  • October 21 - Alcoa Service Center - Universal st.
  • October 27 - Townsend Elementary School
  • October 28 - Porter Elementary School
  • October 30 - Maryville City Hall - Hensley Room
Registration: 6:15 PM Workshop: 6:30 to 8:00

Facilitated by Alcoa, Blount County, and Maryville Planning Departments and Local Planning Assistance Office with assistance from TVA and Southeast Watershed Forum.

For more information and directions visit

www.blounttn.org/planning or call 273-5750

 

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