Letter to the Editor, TCPalm newspaper
Subject: Reponse to TCPalm columnist Anthony Westbury about the Crosstown Bridge
Author: Beverly Yoshioka
Date: December 22, 2015
Mr. Westbury’s conclusion that taking a State Park for a road project in lieu of affecting businesses and residences is OK in his analysis of the Crosstown bridge controversy is very disturbing. With that precedent, we stand to lose much of our preserved public lands. Route 1C bisects a State Park unit, crosses 3 river reaches (instead of 2), including the unique Evans Creek, and impacts more wetlands than alternative routes. Linear projects (roads, utility corridors) are difficult to plot through urbanized areas making parks and natural areas targets of opportunity for planners.
As he points out, the Crosstown bridge planning started years ago. The City started purchasing homes on West Virginia Drive in 1997, committing public funds long before starting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process in 2006. NEPA (the Environmental Impact Statement-EIS process) provides a planning tool to address environmental concerns. The Crosstown EIS is a sham to meet the legal requirement—the decision was already made. It is a classic subversion of the process. Even so, the Alternatives Analysis in the EIS clearly showed that the “preferred” Alternative 1C was the most environmentally damaging, and a viable, less damaging option exists.
Residences will be impacted regardless of the route, with not that much difference between Route 1C and the others. There is ample vacant commercial space on US 1 near the area. Will the foresight shown by the Treasure Coast, unlike South Florida, in preserving high quality natural areas associated with waterways remain? The taking of public parks hurts everyone, including future generations. With the precedent that impacting Parks is preferable to impacting residences or commercial properties, natural parks within our urbanized area are highly vulnerable, as is the character, charm and future of our area.
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