Posts Tagged ‘I-11’

Public comment period now open on I-11 Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement

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On July 16, 2021, the Arizona Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administration released the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The FEIS now identifies TWO possible Preferred Alternatives, a West Option through Avra Valley AND an East Option that co-locates I-11 with I-19 and I-10 through the Tucson region.

Action #1: Please ACT TODAY and request an extension of the public comment deadline from 30 days to 120 days. 

You can read the comment letter we submitted with this request HERE. Feel free to copy the language in this letter and/or personalize with your own words. 

A summary of talking points from our letter requesting an extension of the public comment deadline include:

  • The 30-day comment period is insufficient for review of the documents and ensuring the public is aware of the opportunity to review and comment on the project.
  • Because the impacts of this project are intergenerational, we urge you to consider an extension to provide the public with a full and fair opportunity to participate in this process.
  • Many of the communities impacted by the Preferred Alternative Options within the Corridor Study area are minority and low-income populations who in many cases do not have access to the traditional means by which federal EIS processes are advertised and published. Both proposed alternatives will have disproportionate adverse effects on these populations and they will need adequate time to be notified via ground mail or other means.
  • The Western Alternative through Pima County is proposed through traditional Tohono O’odham lands where tribal members may have limited internet access.
  • The Draft EIS documents totaled close to 5000 pages of text, maps, and other figures – the length and breadth of this document warrants a longer public comment period to allow adequate review by the public.
  • A new Interstate freeway has not been built in this metropolitan area since 1961 – over two generations ago. Many of the issues will have long-lasting, significant impacts on our community and we need sufficient time to review the record, research issues and concerns, and provide a substantive response.

Action #2: Submit a comment stating your opposition to the West Preferred Alternative Option (can be done concurrently or separately from Action #1) 

The Tier 1 FEIS identifies TWO Preferred Alternative routes: 1) a West Option that runs through Avra Valley, and 2) an East Option that co-locates I-11 with I-19 and I-10 through the Tucson region. There is currently a 30-day public comment period for the FEIS, with public comments due on August 16, 2021 (see above for information on our efforts to extend this deadline to November 16, 2021). 

The overarching message we encourage in your comments is that ADOT/FHWA should ABANDON the West Preferred Alternative Option in Avra Valley. We are currently working on our comments and will be posting more details soon. Check back here for more information in the days ahead. 

Comments can be submitted in the following ways:

Smart PhoneOnline Provide Your Comments | Proporcionar sus comentarios

Smart PhonePhone: 1.844.544.8049 (bilingüe)

EmailEmail: i11study@azdot.gov

EnvelopeMail: I-11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team c/o ADOT Communications
                       1655 W. Jackson Street Mail Drop 126F
                       Phoenix, AZ 85007

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Head over to our main I-11 webpage for more ways to get involved. 

Background and History of I-11

Links to media articles and published Letters to the Editor about I-11

Past information on the 2019 I-11 Draft Environmental Impact Statement process

The main I-11 FEIS website is at: http://origin.i11study.com/Arizona/

A traditional PDF version of the FEIS (split into multiple documents) can be found at: http://origin.i11study.com/Arizona/Documents.asp

An interactive version of the FEIS can be accessed at: https://i11.ee.alytics.com/I11Arizona-Tier1EIS/

 

Questions? Please reach out anytime to our Associate Director Kathleen Kennedy at Kathleen.Kennedy@sonorandesert.org or leave us a voicemail at (520) 388-9925 and we’ll get back with you ASAP! 

The latest numbers from our wildlife camera program

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Thanks to all of our supporters and volunteers for another year of successful wildlife camera monitoring in the Tucson Mountains and Oro Valley study areas! See an overview of our Tucson Mountain camera project results HERE and our Oro Valley camera project results HERE.

 
 

We have been monitoring wildlife with wildlife cameras in the northern portion of the Tucson Mountains and Avra Valley for four years. To date we’ve seen over 30 species across 23 camera sites, data which helps inform our I-11 work and knowledge about the Tucson-Tortolita Mountain Wildlife Linkage. Javelina have been photographed most frequently, and it is good to see these native seed dispersers out and about! Other notable results in the last year include more badgers, and bobcats with kittens in tow.

In Oro Valley, we have been monitoring east and west of the Oracle Road wildlife bridge and underpass for a total of seven years! We now have excellent comparative data pre- and post- construction of the crossings that were built in May 2016. With 62 species across 49 camera sites (and nearly 78,000 photos!), we are seeing lots of cottontails and quail that are plentiful prey for coyotes, bobcats, and gray foxes. We’ve seen white-nose coati and bighorn, and our resident female mountain lion has appeared again this year several times just west of the wildlife bridge.

We will post more detailed results as we finalize project reports and dive into the fun and useful information these cameras have in store!

New report on I-11 calls it a “white elephant” and “unnecessary”

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On August 8, 2019, the Center for American Progress released a new report on the proposed Interstate 11 as part of its “White Elephant Watch” series, which “profiles projects that demonstrates the failures of the current U.S. policy approach to transportation infrastructure.” 

This report provides a detailed analysis of this proposed project, including a point-by-point analysis of the Purpose and Need section of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The report concludes the following:

“ADOT’s proposed I-11 corridor has four major flaws:

  • Fails to increase transportation choice or reduce local single-occupant vehicle trips made within the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas
  • Promotes low-density land use and dependence on automobility
  • Produces significant environmental harms
  • Is based on flawed travel demand models that do not adequately account for induced demand”

The report can be found online and as a pdf document. It is well worth a few minutes of your time to read this timely and well-written report! 

Coalition submits comments on the I-11 DEIS

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On July 4, 2019, the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, and additional signatories representing 27 community and environmental organizations, submitted comments on the Tier 1 Interstate 11 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Nogales to Wickenburg.

The full comment letter can be found HERE

Still haven’t submitted YOUR comments on the I-11 DEIS? There’s still time! The comment deadline is still 4 days away on Monday, July 8. 

You can submit public comments in multiple ways, including:    

Onlinei11study.com/Arizona

Phone: 1.844.544.8049 (bilingüe)

Email: I-11ADOTStudy@hdrinc.com

Mail: 

I-11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team c/o ADOT Communications               
1655 W. Jackson Street
Mail Drop 126F              
Phoenix, AZ 85007

For more information on this issue to help inform your comments, head to our Take Action Webpage.

Thank you for using your voice for the people and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert! 

Opposition to any proposed interstate in Avra Valley grows

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The recently convened I-11 Joint Stakeholder Community Planning Group has released a press release and position statement opposing any proposed route for Interstate 11 in Avra Valley. The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection is a proud leader of this new community stakeholder group. The full press release is below:

Citizens Convened by Federal and State Highway Departments Strongly Oppose Highway in Avra Valley

Stakeholders find Common Ground in Downtown Route to Create a Sustainable City

Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) recently convened representatives of several stakeholder organizations in a process to explore two alternative routes for the proposed Interstate 11 through Pima County. Stakeholders have developed a consensus position that re-designing I-10 and I-19 to accommodate co-location with I-11 could have a positive effect on downtown revitalization, while stating strong opposition to an “I-10 bypass” in Avra Valley. See letter here. “A freeway that borders Tucson Mountain Park, Tohono O’odham tribal lands, Saguaro National Park, and Ironwood Forest National Monument makes absolutely zero sense,” stated Carolyn Campbell, Executive Director of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection. “The direct and cumulative effects of a freeway to these natural and cultural iconic places of the Sonoran Desert simply cannot be mitigated. This route should not be under consideration.”

Stakeholders believe that there are shortcomings associated with the federal review process that focuses on new highway construction.  However, “we believe that there could be a significant opportunity to address some of the historic negative consequences that resulted from the construction of I-10,” said Gene Einfrank, Menlo Park Neighborhood Association President. “The building of I-10 physically divided our community and diminished the quality of life of our downtown and other neighborhoods along the highway. Instead of simply adding new lanes to our existing highway, we should consider redesigning portions of it—either going underground or suspended—so that we can reconnect our city.” 

Moreover, stakeholders encourage a broader look at future transportation options, focusing on changes to the management of the existing highway to reduce congestion, including pricing, scheduling, and other programs; technologies that improve traffic flows; and enhancements to the rail system, including light rail and intermodal transportation.

The group recommends ADOT and FHwA refer to the I-11 Super Corridor study final document, which was submitted to ADOT in 2016, to draw inspiration on a comprehensive design. The Sustainable Cities Lab, hosted at the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, completed this transdisciplinary study on the I-11 corridor along with Arizona State University and University of Nevada, Las Vegas. UA’s study area focused on opportunities from Marana to south of downtown Tucson. Their outcomes incorporate the addition of light and heavy rail, walking, cycling, new technology for controlling traffic as well as incorporating alternative forms of energy production and transportation.

Take action: Comment today in opposition to any freeway in Avra Valley!

Posted on: 13 Comments

Do you think we should construct a new interstate in between our treasured Saguaro National Park and Ironwood Forest National Monument? 

The Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highways Administration are currently accepting public comments (deadline is this Friday, June 2!) on proposed corridor alternatives for a new interstate between Nogales and Wickenburg. [Want to read the Coalition’s comment letter? Head here.] We are opposed to Corridor Alternatives C & D which go right through Avra Valley…and right next to Saguaro National Park and Ironwood Forest National Monument.

It is well-established that new interstates bring with them new development, new roads, and more traffic. They are not stand-alone pieces of infrastructure. They come with exits, gas stations, frontage roads, and all kinds of new development. They also have negative impacts on viewsheds, natural quiet, dark skies, and other wilderness values. 

Avra Valley is a biologically-rich part of our region with significant protected open space, wildlife linkages, and mitigation lands.  Avra Valley is located right in between Pima County-owned Tucson Mountain Park and national treasure Saguaro National Park to the east and Ironwood Forest National Monument and the Tohono O’odham Nation to the west. It also contains mitigation lands managed by the Bureau of Reclamation for impacts from the Central Arizona Project canal, open space lands owned by Pima County and the Regional Flood Control District, and the Santa Cruz River. A new interstate through all of these protected lands would be devastating and irreversible. 

Will you please submit an official public comment today opposing Corridor Alternatives C & D through Avra Valley?

The public comment period ends this Friday, June 2, 2017.

 

Comments can be submitted by email to: I-11ADOTStudy@hdrinc.com or at a new dedicated comment website: www.i11comment.com

Verbal comments can be left at this phone number: (844) 544-8049

Comments can also be mailed to: 

Interstate 11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team

c/o ADOT Communications

1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F

Phoenix, AZ 85007

 

Need some talking points to get your started on your comments? Feel free to use these and make them your own:

  • New interstates bring with them new development, new roads, and more traffic. They are not stand-alone pieces of infrastructure. They come with exits, gas stations, frontage roads, and all kinds of new development. They also have negative impacts on viewsheds, natural quiet, dark skies, and other wilderness values. It is unacceptable to locate a new interstate with this many impacts next to a national park and a national monument. 
  • Avra Valley is home to a rich mosaic of biologically-important lands, including a national park and a national monument on either side. The proposed Interstate 11 in southern Arizona should use the existing Interstate 10 corridor.
  • We need to keep our public lands and wildlife linkages intact. Saguaro National Park is a national treasure that is already becoming increasingly isolated due to development pressure from Tucson and Marana to the east. Constructing a new interstate west of this national park would doom wildlife there forever.
  • Should there be a proven need for expanded capacity, making improvements to the existing Interstate 10 corridor is the best alternative to manage increased traffic volumes in southern Arizona. All transportation options also need to be investigated, including an expanded rail corridor between Tucson and Phoenix and multi-modal transportation solutions generally. 

Want to read the Coalition’s comment letter? Check it out here and feel free to quote us or use any of the language in our letter to help you with yours!

 

Thank you for speaking out and using your voice to make a difference! 

 

Questions? Please give us a call at (520) 388-9925 or send us an email at admin@sonorandesert.org. 

Take Action: Attend public meetings about proposed Interstate 11!

Posted on: 4 Comments

April 13, 2017

UPDATE: The Coalition submitted an official comment letter on the I-11 Corridor Alternatives on May 31. Check it out here and feel free to quote our letter or use any of our language to help with your comments. 

Mark your calendar! Save the date! And get ready to voice your opposition to any proposed interstate that goes through Avra Valley!

The Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highways Administration are holding a series of public meetings in May to discuss their corridor alternatives for a new interstate between Nogales and Wickenburg. We are opposed to Corridor Alternatives C & D which go right through Avra Valley…and right next to Saguaro National Park and Ironwood Forest National Monument.

Do you think we should construct a new interstate in between our treasured Saguaro National Park and Ironwood Forest National Monument? 

It is well-established that new interstates bring with them new development, new roads, and more traffic. They are not stand-alone pieces of infrastructure. They come with exits, gas stations, frontage roads, and all kinds of new development. They also have negative impacts on viewsheds, natural quiet, dark skies, and other wilderness values. 

Avra Valley is a biologically-rich part of our region with significant protected open space, wildlife linkages, and mitigation lands.  Avra Valley is located right in between Pima County-owned Tucson Mountain Park and national treasure Saguaro National Park to the east and Ironwood Forest National Monument and the Tohono O’odham Nation to the west. It also contains mitigation lands managed by the Bureau of Reclamation for impacts from the Central Arizona Project canal, open space lands owned by Pima County and the Regional Flood Control District, and the Santa Cruz River. A new interstate through all of these protected lands would be devastating and irreversible. 

First, can we count on you to attend one of these public meetings and voice your opposition to Corridor Alternatives C & D through Avra Valley? 

 

There are two meetings in the Pima County area, and four more in other parts of southern Arizona. 

Tuesday, May 2, 5-7pm

Arizona Riverpark Inn, 777 W. Cushing St., Tucson

Wednesday, May 3, 5-7pm

Marana Middle School – Cafeteria, 11285 W. Grier Road, Marana

For a full list of all the public meetings and more information, head to the project website at http://i11study.com/Arizona/Meetings.asp

For a map of the corridor alternatives being presented at these public meetings, click here

Second, will you please submit an official public comment opposing Corridor Alternatives C & D through Avra Valley? The public comment period is April 28-June 2, 2017.

 

Comments can be submitted by email to: I-11ADOTStudy@hdrinc.com or at a new dedicated comment website: www.i11comment.com

Verbal comments can be left at this phone number: (844) 544-8049

Comments can also be mailed to: 

Interstate 11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team

c/o ADOT Communications

1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F

Phoenix, AZ 85007

 

Need some talking points to get your started on your comments? Feel free to use these and make them your own:

  • New interstates bring with them new development, new roads, and more traffic. They are not stand-alone pieces of infrastructure. They come with exits, gas stations, frontage roads, and all kinds of new development. They also have negative impacts on viewsheds, natural quiet, dark skies, and other wilderness values. It is unacceptable to locate a new interstate with this many impacts next to a national park and a national monument. 
  • Avra Valley is home to a rich mosaic of biologically-important lands, including a national park and a national monument on either side. The proposed Interstate 11 in southern Arizona should use the existing Interstate 10 corridor.
  • We need to keep our public lands and wildlife linkages intact. Saguaro National Park is a national treasure that is already becoming increasingly isolated due to development pressure from Tucson and Marana to the east. Constructing a new interstate west of this national park would doom wildlife there forever.
  • Should there be a proven need for expanded capacity, making improvements to the existing Interstate 10 corridor is the best alternative to manage increased traffic volumes in southern Arizona. All transportation options also need to be investigated, including an expanded rail corridor between Tucson and Phoenix and multi-modal transportation solutions generally. 

Want to read the Coalition’s comment letter? Check it out here and feel free to quote us or use any of the language in our letter to help you with yours!

 

Thank you for speaking out and using your voice to make a difference! 

 

Questions? Please give us a call at (520) 388-9925 or send us an email at admin@sonorandesert.org.