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E-M:/ Response on MSU Cross Campus/Trowbridge Extension Highway

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

From: "Kathryn B. Reis" <reiskath@pilot.msu.edu>
To: <ajs@sagady.com>
Subject: Trowbridge Road Extension inquiry
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 1998 08:33:25 -0400
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal

Good Morning, Alex.  I don't know if someone has responded to your inquiry
yet but just in case...

I am a Masters student in Wildlife Ecology at MSU.  I took a sociology
course in the spring with several other grad students in my department that
required us to take on an environmental issue and write a social impact
analysis for it.  My class chose the highway for obvious reasons.

I interviewed HNTB, the designing contractors of the highway.  They were
hired to simply design the road's layout from Highway 127 to Red Cedar Rd
(first phase).  HNTB provided designing recommendations for Phase II which
would continue the Trowbridge Road extension to Farm Lane where Dept. of
Natural Resources sits on the west and the greenhouses on the east.  The
Fish and Wildlife Management  Area and wetland is just north of the
proposed road site.  

Now the money everyone's been talking about (and yes, Debbie Stabenow is an
avid supporter of this project) would only allow for Phase I to be
completed.  HNTB performed an environmental assessment in on Phase I and
Phase II sites to kill 2 birds with one stone essentially.  (An
environmental firm in Ann Arbor is handling the natural resource issues for
both project phases--J&J Corporation I believe).  If Phase I does receive
the money for construction (I don't know if the money came through or not
with the federal roads bill.  All I heard is Michigan didn't get its fair
share due to political games performed by the bill's sponsors.), MSU and
East Lansing would have to find a company to construct the road.  Also, a
window of 2 (or is it 5) years would be open AFTER Phase I is completed to
locate a road designer and constructer to compete Phase II.  That is why
HNTB and J&J included Phase II in their EA.

Other details:  
1)  The extended portion of Trowbridge would get as close to the railroad
tracks as possible without violating saftey regs and would displace Stadium
Road--hence continuous greenspace between Cherry Lane Apartments and
2)  Trowbridge in Phase I would most likely be created as a Boulevard to
provide open space at the campus' entrance.  MSU has talked about having a
visitor's center in that area.  

3) East Lansing and MSU banded together to work on this extension project
because Trowbridge would be reconstructed between Hwy 127 and the campus to
ease safety hazards along existing Trowbridge and ease traffic flow onto
campus (So say the project proponents.  Personally, on campus traffic
hazards will remain if Trowbridge is extended becasue that's a police and
driver based issue not a problem of poor road design).  

4) On campus, the extended road is intended to separate walkers on campus
from car traffic (again, I don't believe this to be true) and make it
easier for campus commuters to access parking spots and get on the east
side of campus.

5) A bikers lane would be provided and a pedestrian cross walk would be
installed for people who park along Service Road.

6) The EA is being pursued because the wetland on campus is less than 5
acres in size (minimum requirement for an EIS).  HNTB seemed concerned
about natural resource issues during my interview.  Their Phase II
recommendations include plans to expand the wetland and perhaps even the
Fish and Management Area.  But they seemed to forget about run-off problems
and overall problems/uncertainties with creating a wetland because no one
really knows what makes a wetland.

7) The greenhouse and Depts of Communications and  Fish & Wildlife parking
lots should not be eliminated or reduced according to HNTB's Phase II
recommendations.  But I met with HNTB in April.  They still had a lot of
work to do before submitting their proposal to the State at the end of the
summer.  HNTB was meeting with MSU's traffic committee and the residents
and merchants near existing Trowbridge since December 1997.  HNTB has tried
to receive as much public input as possible to shape the Phase I design and
Phase II recommendations.

That's about it.  Let me know if you have other questions.  Oh, as for
student involvement, it's rather limited.  The Fish & Wildlife Club has
spoken out some, but a majority of the project discussion (to my knowledge)
has occurred among faculty members.

Kathryn Reis
"An ounce of pretension is worth a pound of manure."
     --from the movie "Steel Magnolias"

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