Azusa Intermodal Transit Project Finding of No SIgnificant Impact

Grant Applicant: Foothill Transit

Project Sponsor: Foothill Transit

Proposed Project: Azusa Intermodal Transit Facility Project

The Environmental Assessment (EA) for Azusa Intermodal Transit Facility Project ("Project") was prepared in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 United States Code [USC] §4332); Federal Transit Law (49 USC Chapter 53); 49 USC §303 (formerly Department of Transportation Act of 1966, Section 4[fJ); National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Section 106 (16 USC §470f); and Executive Order 12898 (Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations).

Description: Foothill Transit proposes to develop a three-story parking structure with rooftop parking in the City of Azusa, Los Angeles County. The proposed project would construct an approximately 36 to 38-foot tall parking structure with up to 550 parking spaces, including rooftop parking. The proposed project also includes four bus bays for loading and unloading passengers
and for layovers. An additional bus bay may include space for an electric bus charging station. The parking structure would be located north of the Azusa Civic Center and adjacent to the planned Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Gold Line (Metro Gold Line) Foothill Extension Azusa-Alameda Station. The purpose of the project is to:

• Accommodate parking demand for the Civic Center, Foothill Transit, and Metro Gold Line patrons. The project would incorporate critical transit infrastructure for current and planned bus boardings, transfers, and park-and-ride patrons.

• Establish a shared parking use facility that consolidates the parking supply and enables patrons and residents to park at one location and access a number of different transportation facilities and uses, thereby enhancing the pedestrian and transit-oriented character of Downtown Azusa

• Provide transit infrastructure that creates opportunities to reduce automobile usage, accommodate growth, and foster economic development.

Alternatives: The alternatives include two alternative sites and a No Build Alternative. The parking structure would contain 520 parking spaces under Alternative 1- Northwest Civic Center Site and 550 parking spaces under Alternative 2- Block 19 (A2) Site. Alternative 2 was selected as the locally preferred alternative. Eleven additional alternatives are discussed in Chapter 2.0
Alternatives of the EA, but were withdrawn from consideration because they were unfeasible, resulted in environmental impacts, and/or did not satisfy project objectives.

Alternative 1- Northwest Civic Center is located south of the railroad ROW on the east side of Alameda Avenue and would replace the existing Civic Center parking lot. The parking structure for Alternative 1 would provide 520 parking spaces, divided in approximately 130 stalls per level.
Alternative 1 would result in the removal of 80 existing surface parking spaces, 26 on-street spaces along Alameda Avenue and 54 spaces in public parking lots located adjacent to the park, Civic Center, and Durrell House. A small area (9,211 square feet) in the northwest corner of Veteran's Freedom Park would be relocated to accommodate the project. Alternative 1 would create 9,484 square feet of additional parkland on the eastern edge of the existing Civic Center surface parking lot and 13,963 square feet of additional parkland created on the existing surface parking lot for the Durrell House and the area north of the museum parking lot. In addition, Alternative 1 includes modifications to Alameda Avenue from the railroad ROW to Foothill Boulevard and Santa Fe Avenue from Azusa Avenue to Alameda Avenue. Alternative 1 includes restricting vehicle access on Alameda Avenue north of Foothill Boulevard and on Santa Fe Avenue east of the alley to Alameda Avenue.

Alternative 2 - Block 19 (A2) Site is located on properties north of 213 E. Foothill Boulevard, east of Azusa Avenue, west of Alameda Avenue and approximately 100 feet south of 9th Street. Alternative 2 is located north of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Gold Line Right-of-way. Alternative 2 would provide 550 parking spaces. Alternative 2 would result in the removal of four on-street spaces along Alameda Avenue; however, it would not
require any private property acquisition. A pedestrian walkway from the parking facility to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Gold Line Station Platform would occur at the southeast corner of the structure. This alternative was selected as the preferred alternative by the Azusa City Council on July 15, 2013, when taking into account public input, environmental effects, avoidance of impacts to park land, and performance in meeting project goals.

Environmental Effects: Foothill Transit prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in July
2013 to evaluate the environmental effects of the project pursuant to the requirements of NEPA, as codified in 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 771.119. The FTA was the lead agency under NEPA. The EA concluded that implementation and operation of the project would not result in significant adverse effects that would not be mitigated. This would apply to all applicable environmental elements including Air Quality; Land Use and Zoning, Environmental Justice, Social Impacts, Transportation, Noise, Hazardous Materials, Water Resources, Biological Resources, Visual Quality, Cultural Resources, Recreation and Section 4(f) Resources, Safety and Security, and Public Services and Utilities.

The project occurs in the vicinity of the Azusa Civic Center, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The FTA initiated consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) on December 8, 2011. SHPO concurred with the delineation of the Area of Potential Effects (APE) on December 21, 2011. The APE was revised to include Alternative 2 and FTA determined that the project would have no adverse effect on historic properties. On July 22, 2013, the SHPO concurred with the revised APE and no adverse effect determination. The implementation of the project would not adversely affect any historic resource or result in a use of any Section 4(f) resource, thereby satisfying the requirements of36 CFR 800 and 49 USC §303.

The EA was circulated for review on July 17, 2013 and the comment period was due to close on August 16, 2013. In response to a request by a member of the public, Foothill Transit extended the comment period to conclude on August 30, 2013. To this effect, a Notice of Availability (NOA) of the EA was published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on July 31,2013. In addition, the NOA and the EA were made available on the City of Azusa website. Copies of the EA were sent to the State Clearinghouse for distribution to state and local agencies. The EA was also available for public review at the Azusa Public Library (729 N. Dalton Avenue).

One comment letter during the public review period of the EA was received from the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC). This letter is similar to the letter that the NAHC provided on May 6, 2011 at the initiation of Native American consultation. In both letters, the NAHC indicated that Native American cultural resources were not identified within 0.5 mile of the APE, but noted that it is possible for previously undiscovered cultural resources to be unearthed during construction activities. The NAHC also provided a contact list of nine Native American individuals or tribal organizations that may have knowledge of cultural resources in or near the APE. Letters were prepared and mailed to the listed contacts on May 12, 2011. During the outreach, one call and one email were received from Native American Groups requesting
monitoring during construction. Measures for construction monitoring were included in the EA. In addition, the Native American Groups were sent a Notice of Availability of the EA and no comments were received. The Native American consultation letters may be found in the Appendix A of the EA.

Environmental Findings: In accordance with 23 CFR Pmi 771, the FTA finds, on the basis of the analysis, reviews, and mitigation measures identified in the EA, that there are no significant impacts on the environment associated with the implementation of the project.