Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Report Writing 101 - Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

"If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, blind them with your bullshit."


The Central Corridor Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be a template for the Gateway Corridor EIS and all the other EIS's. Let's take a look at the Central Corridor EIS to see what's in store.


It's almost blinding.


Except for the funny stuff. According to this piece of fiction (pictured above), parking and turn lanes and buses can all occupy the same space. Plus, there's trees! The first thing the project did was to take out the trees. Trees will return, but it won't look anything like what is shown in the picture, and that will take some explaining.


Attachment C of the Final EIS for Central Corridor has Responses to Comments Received. You'll want to get out your bullshit-filtering glasses for this one. 


One comment was received requesting analysis of an alternative alignment that would acquire homes and properties north of University Avenue, to avoid issues regarding traffic and access. Response:  An alternative requiring the acquisition and demolition of multiple homes and businesses was not considered in the project development process because these impacts are avoidable with the Preferred Alternative.   - CC-FEIS attachment C page 3


This is important to understand. This is the light rail enterprise-zone life-cycle. 


#1. The light rail train project tears out trees (like the Native American tree grove near Minnehaha Creek), and tears up the road. Local businesses complain. The LRT project ignores the businesses [page 4-5] or (if necessary) offers a low-low (war-zone market low) price on the property and a couple bucks for moving expenses (for a move around the corner). The business waits it out. After all, it's only a couple years worth of construction.


#2. Construction ends. Light rail trains run down what had been a road. Businesses think they've survived, but there is no parking, no truck access, no driveway access, no left turns, no trees, and no business. The rug road has been pulled out from under them. The entire neighborhood has been affected by the changes. And if the property isn't by a station, no one wants it.


#3. Vacant properties sit idle for a bit. Then they get bulldozed by the city. Now, trees can grow in the vacant lots.


The light rail enterprise-zone life-cycle allows economic change to alter the neighborhood around the train tracks. The project doesn't have to fix everything. All they have to do is throw around the bullshit long enough to get the tracks built.






Here's a prime example of grade A bullshit. The costs of the light rail project are large (and ongoing), but the costs of the existing MTC bus system are larger. So even though there is no correlation, the bus costs are thrown in to the EIS to make the light rail costs look small, disguising the high infrastructure and huge costs of light rail, both upfront and in perpetuity.


The bullshit adds noise to the information, even when the subject is noise.




This chart show noise impacts. What the eye sees, says that there is no noise from construction sites... "none, none, none, none, none, none!" By putting back on your bullshit-filtering glasses, you only see stars, the little stars that represent having an impact. Not that this is science...




Here's a map of locations. Isn't it odd that some of the Hasselmo Hall microphones were clumped together in Coffman Union instead of in Hasselmo Hall?


There are issues missing from the Central Corridor EIS, like snow removal. Apparently snow is self-removing from light rail tracks in a way not identified by the EIS.


However that's nothing compared to what will be identified in the next post.

1 comment:

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