Saturday, May 8, 2021

LAST CHANCE to Comment on Bay Bridge Crossing Study

Today's Bay Bridge backup made it back to the Severn River Bridge. And you can also find a letter to the editor in today's (5/8/21) Capital. This issue will effect our community for the foreseeable future. The deadline for submitting comments about the Bay Bridge Crossing Study is nearly here. Send your comments and concerns by May 10, 9pm.

Deliver your comments and join the campaign to voice your concerns about the Government's NEPA Transportation Tier 1 study of alternative sites for the location of a 3rd Chesapeake Bay span. The Tier 1 Study alternative #7 selection has been announced as the preferred location, on the Broadneck Peninsula Rte #50/301 corridor. There were 13 other alternative locations on the Bay that were considered but the recommended selection was made for the Broadneck corridor where there are two older Bridges. MD Department of Transportation has stated in their "Purpose and Need" declaration, the intent to improve mobility to the E. Shore at this crossing. There are many other factors that should be considered to determine the best option for the long term needs of Maryland, but they were not even included in the Tier 1 study. The justification for this Tier 1 study is a brief, less costly and a faster way to make a site selection decision. This was done by omitting many of the important aspects that should be factored into the final selection -- such as effects on related bridges, development sprawl, redundancy in emergency bridge situations, and approach roads. These were not a properly considered part of the study.

The current move to finalize the selection of the Broadneck corridor should be stopped. This decision must be made with additional factors included in the study to come to a final decision on the smart/correct alternative site. Additional data must be provided and analyzed before a valid decision is rendered.

Please submit comments to the Study's comment page (see below) ask them to stop the study until a thorough "Purpose and Needs" evaluation is conducted to determine the best option for long term benefits to Maryland. We believe another site must be selected that will draw traffic away to the Northern and/or Southern parts Chesapeake Bay. A new crossing must be constructed to offer an alternative to the Rt.97 / Rt.50 corridor that is already overloaded on weekends with commuter, business and vacation travelers. Traffic issues threaten to expand throughout the year. Government forecasts project increasing volume at (est) 1-2%/year. Putting more traffic into this corridor will put all our eggs in one basket and push a cycle of sprawl.


The Broadneck Peninsula cannot sustain the additional load of traffic projected for the next 20-50 years and the MDTA should find another location to keep traffic away from the Annapolis/Broadneck to Kent Island geography.

TAKE ACTION: You can find more talking points here:
https://protectbroadneck.blogspot.com/2021/05/bay-bridge-concerned-use-info-below-to.html

COMMENT to the Study Commission:
Send your comments to the Bay Crossing Study site form so it is an official part of the record:
https://baycrossingstudy.com/public-involvement/deis-submit-comments

ALSO you can urge your elected officials to take action:
Email list (Copy and Paste):
edward.reilly@senate.state.md.us, heather.bagnall@house.state.md.us, sid.saab@house.state.md.us, michael.malone@house.state.md.us, amanda.fiedler@aacounty.org, expitt99@aacounty.org

Contact Forms:
US Senator Benjamin Cardin: https://www.cardin.senate.gov/contact
US Senator Christopher Van Hollen: https://www.vanhollen.senate.gov/contact/email
US Representative Anthony Brown: https://anthonybrown.house.gov/contact
US Representative John Sarbanes: https://sarbanes.house.gov/contact
Governor Larry Hogan: https://governor.maryland.gov/contact-the-governor

Pat Lynch, President
Broadneck Council of Communities, Inc.

Monday, May 3, 2021

BAY BRIDGE - concerned? Use the info below to write a letter.


Dear Broadneck Residents,

This is a "Call to Action" message. Please help us.

The Bay Bridge Crossing Study is coming to an end. The Broadneck is in the crosshairs as the final location choice. But there is not enough information to know what they would do, or if doing it here would be the best interest of the Broadneck, or even the best outcome for Maryland. If this corridor is selected, then the Queen Anne’s County and Anne Arundel County Route 50/ 301 location will be the only site considered, no matter what future studies discover, now or in future decades.

The Broadneck Council of Communities (BCC) urges you to compose a letter from the snippets below and send it to the email list of elected officials to get their support for a true consideration of what is best for our state and for the Broadneck.

Once you send that letter, also submit it to the Study's official comment form so it becomes part of the record. It is important that we give our allies a hook to hang a decision on that helps the Broadneck survive.

Build your letter (300-400 words) below!

- Broadneck Council of Communities
_______________________________

The Bay Bridge Crossing Study is inadequate. It has not given proper consideration to factors other than traffic volume. This Tier 1 NEPA study should be stopped until the critical issues outlined below have been properly studied and evaluated by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA). In short, the MDTA must not produce a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) until this is done.

- The primary issue is that the Purpose and Need is too limited. The Purpose and Need statement’s key metric of minimizing the congestion in Corridor #7 is procedurally and legally too limited in its objectives. There are two major failings of the Purpose and Need Statement and the NEPA Study:

1. A study of all the costs of the approach road corridors on either side of the potential crossing sites was not conducted. These important roadways/highways that feed traffic to/from the bridge must be studied and evaluated in any site selection process, but this key requirement was not included in this NEPA DEIS Report.

2. The Purpose and Need statement is poorly implemented. This is a critical piece of the report that allows for an informed selection. It must include not only traffic volume but requires the overall evaluation of the favorable and harmful effects on the region, our State capitol, the value of having multiple avenues of access across the Bay, and the effect on Baltimore/Washington commuters and those living on Eastern Shore of Maryland who don't cross the bridge. Without this evaluation, the federal highway administration will not be able to tell if a proper selection has been made.


Additional Concerns:

- Anne Arundel County, the Broadneck Peninsula, and Queen Anne County would be the most affected communities in the 13 County NEPA study area that focuses solely on the selection of Corridor #7. It did not include any of the concerns or input by those entities when selecting Corridor #7.

- The NEPA study did not provide any information concerning the shore-side construction and quality of life impacts of selecting this corridor versus any other corridor.

- It did not indicate whether the proposed bridge would be a replacement bridge or a parallel and additional bridge. It is unrealistic to build a third span in Corridor 7, because it would be pointless to maintain two old bridges.

- The NEPA study did not indicate any of the Corridor #7 costs and timelines or impacts of huge infrastructure requirements to rebuild Kent Island roadways, Anne Arundel County roadways, Queen Anne County bridges, and Severn River bridges to accommodate a new Chesapeake Bay Bridge span and related traffic.

- This is a $5 billion+ proposed structure projected to last for 100 or more years with regional and multi-state transportation impacts. The Purpose and Need criteria presented in developing the objectives of the long-term impact of selecting the existing corridor, and excluding all other corridors, have not been sufficiently developed to execute a FEIS/Record of Decision.

- A myriad of unknowns have not been considered or revealed. The decision to lock in Corridor #7 for subsequent Tier 2 preliminary design work is premature without knowing and evaluating the extensive shore-side impacts:

• Will this be a parallel structure to the existing structure and maintain the existing structures?

• How many additional Bay crossing and support or safety lanes are required on this new bridge?

• How many additional lanes will be required on Route 50 west and east of the new structure to provide for the additional bridge lanes?

• Will the Severn River Bridge and the Kent Narrows Bridge require additional lanes when a new Chesapeake Bay bridge is in place?

• What happens to all of the parallel service roads, such as East College Parkway, Whitehall Road, and all of Route 18 on Kent Island?

• What will be the impact on feeder arterials, such as College Parkway, Route 2 North and Route 2 south, Route 8, and many other roads?

• What is an order of magnitude estimate of the Eminent Domain land-takes to accommodate a new bridge?

- No consideration is given to an alternative corridor placement for safety, evacuation, military action, or an alternative choice in the event the existing structure is damaged or blocked for any reason.

- No consideration of providing greater state-wide economic benefits and advantages in another corridor location were considered. Furthermore, the existing corridor is not the most direct path to the Eastern Shore’s Ocean City environs and attractions.

- A pause in the NEPA evaluation should be taken because the COVID pandemic has impacted traffic volume and travel patterns that may impact all projections of traffic volumes. And the data used for the traffic evaluation was inadequate, extremely limited to not much more than a one week snapshot in time, leaving the validity of traffic projections in considerable doubt.

The NEPA EIS/ROD decisions should be put on hold until a full complement of key issues are evaluated in this decision making process. The decision to select Corridor #7 is not simply a reduction of traffic on the existing structures. It requires the answers to the questions raised above which in fact may point to another alternative corridor. Another alternative may be the most logical, least disruptive, most cost-effective, most environmentally sound, and provide greater state-wide economic benefits.

Please have this process reconsidered and do it right.

Sincerely,

Name/Address

_________

Here are the email addresses so you may contact ALL of our Elected Officials to voice objection to the MDTA’s selection of the Route #50/301 Broadneck Peninsula location for the 3rd span of the Bay Bridge:

Email list (Copy and Paste):
edward.reilly@senate.state.md.us, heather.bagnall@house.state.md.us, sid.saab@house.state.md.us, michael.malone@house.state.md.us, amanda.fiedler@aacounty.org, expitt99@aacounty.org

Contact forms:

US Senator Benjamin Cardin: https://www.cardin.senate.gov/contact
US Senator Christopher Van Hollen: https://www.vanhollen.senate.gov/contact/email
US Representative Anthony Brown: https://anthonybrown.house.gov/contact
US Representative John Sarbanes: https://sarbanes.house.gov/contact
Governor Larry Hogan: https://governor.maryland.gov/contact-the-governor

FINALLY

Send your letter as a comment to the Bay Crossing Study site form so it is an official part of the record:
NEPA DEIS Comments: https://baycrossingstudy.com/public-involvement/deis-submit-comments

Anything you can do to help would be most appreciated. Thank you so much for helping get the word out!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

County and Broadneck work together on the issue of the Bay Bridge Study

See the discussion about the placement of a new Bay Bridge. And use the links for more information and ways to take action.


For a summary of the county's concerns visit https://www.aacounty.org/departments/county-executive/forms-and-publications/bay-bridge-crossing-tier1-study-fact-sheet.pdf

The comment period on the state's Tier 1 NEPA Bay Crossing Study is open now through May 10th. Members of the public may submit comments online regarding the draft environmental impact study and the preferred corridor by visiting https://www.baycrossingstudy.com/public-involvement/deis-submit-comments

Members of the public may also call 877-249-8370 and register to provide comments at one of the two public hearings on April 21 and April 22. More information is available at https://www.baycrossingstudy.com/public-involvement/upcoming-meetings

-- Pat Lynch, president
Broadneck Council of Communities