TDOT CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION
NEPA PERMITTING FOR BIKE / PEDESTRIAN PATH
In recent decades, the absence of a safe path along the perimeter of Overton Park has been an increasing concern. Since the park’s founding in 1901, modes of travel have changed from carriage and trolley to automobile, resulting in high-speed vehicular traffic along the edges of the park. This project aims to install a bike / pedestrian path within Overton Park along Poplar Avenue between Veterans Plaza Drive and Cooper Street, along with a new park entrance north of Cooper Street and a realignment of the existing crosswalk at the intersection.
The City of Memphis is administering this project through the TDOT Locally Managed Program and Ritchie Smith Associates is the lead designer. Tioga was asked to provide National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation for the project. What appeared to be a straightforward categorical exclusion project became complicated by the presence of two concrete lined channels and the park’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
A stream delineation was performed by Tioga to assess the concrete channels as the construction of the new trail will require the headwalls to be reconstructed roughly 20’ north of the historical location. One channel was classified as a stream and one was classified as a wet weather conveyance. Alteration of either required permitting through the Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Documents were prepared by Tioga on the City of Memphis’s behalf for this purpose.
The historic nature of the park required additional work for the Section 106 review. Tioga coordinated the preparation of a Historical and Architectural Survey and a Phase I Archaeological Survey. All of the documentation indicated that no additional efforts were necessary for the cultural resources coordination and the State Historic Preservation Office and Native American Coordination concurred.
Tioga finalized the review by providing all of the necessary documentation for a C-List Categorical Exclusion to TDOT on behalf of the City of Memphis.