Potential impacts of the proposed action were evaluated on the basis of different geographic study areas, with each discipline focused within the particular study area considered to be most applicable for evaluating impacts. The overall Goethals Bridge Study Area consisted of two separate components (i.e., a Primary Study Area and a Secondary Study Area) within which existing social, economic, and environmental conditions were described. The analysis examined future conditions in these two study areas with and without the proposed project.
- The Primary Study Area, which most closely followed the existing Goethals Bridge corridor, was defined to include all of the alternative bridge-replacement alignments considered in order to assess the potential direct impacts of those alignments. Therefore, the Primary Study Area encompassed the Goethals Bridge corridor between the NJ Turnpike’s Interchange 13 (at the western end in New Jersey) and the I-278/West Shore Expressway (SR-440) Interchange (at the eastern end in New York). Overall, the Primary Study Area included approximately one-square mile of the industrial waterfront in Elizabeth and Linden, New Jersey, and two-square miles of less-developed acreage in northwestern Staten Island, New York.
- The Secondary Study Area, where indirect and secondary impacts of the proposed project may occur, extended from the boundary of the Primary Study Area to a distance of about one-half mile in all directions from the Goethals Bridge corridor. Like the Primary Study Area, the Secondary Study Area encompassed the industrialized waterfront in Elizabeth and Linden, and the less-developed industrial area of northwestern Staten Island. Overall, the west-to-east limits of the Secondary Study Area ran from Grier Avenue in Elizabeth on the west, to approximately Fahy Avenue in Staten Island on the east.
Because the Goethals Bridge is an important transportation link in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, a Regional Study Area was also defined. This larger study area was the focus for analysis of potential regional traffic/transportation and related air quality impacts, and potential cumulative impacts that may result from the proposed action when considered with other major transportation and development projects near the Goethals Bridge corridor and in the region. As depicted on the map, the Regional Study Area extended well beyond the Goethals Bridge Study Area to encompass all or portions of the seven counties in New York and New Jersey that have the greatest potential to be affected by any Goethals Bridge Replacement and associated improvements. These included Richmond, and portions of Kings and New York counties in New York, and portions of Union, Essex, Hudson and Middlesex counties in New Jersey. Within this Regional Study Area, a comprehensive traffic count program was conducted in 2004 at several major roadways and intersections in order to evaluate the existing traffic conditions of the regional network. Those traffic locations are depicted on the map of the Primary Traffic Study Areas.
In terms of travel demand forecasting within a much broader region, a separate Goethals Transportation Model (GTM) Study Area was developed for purposes of modeling transportation forecasts to study future traffic conditions and assess project-related traffic impacts within the Regional Study Area. The GTM Study Area encompassed 28 counties in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
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