Urban Transportation Planning in the United States: An Historical Overview

By Edward Weiner | Go to book overview

Chapter 6
The Environment
and Citizen Involvement

During the decade of the 1960s, the growing concern for environmental quality put considerable pressure on the planning process and its ability to adapt to change. Public attention became focused on the issues of air and water pollution; dislocation of homes and businesses; preservation of parkland, wildlife refuges, and historic sites; and the overall ecological balance in communities and their capacity to absorb disruption. Moreover, citizens were concerned that changes were being made to their communities without their views being considered. The federal role in these matters, which had begun modestly in previous years, broadened and deepened during this period.


CITIZEN PARTICIPATION AND THE TWO-HEARING
PROCESS FOR HIGHWAYS

Citizen reaction to highway projects usually was most vocal at public hearings. It became clear that citizens could not effectively contribute to a highway decision by the time the project had already been designed. Many of the concerns related to the basic issue of whether to build the highway project at all and the consideration of alternative modes of transportation. Consequently, in early 1969, the FΉWA revised Policy and Procedure Memorandum (PPM) 20-8 “Public Hearings and Location Approval” (U.S. Department of Transportation, 1969a).

It established a two-hearing process for highway projects, replacing the previous single hearing, which occurred late in the project development process. The first “corridor public hearing” was to be held before the route location decision was made and was designed to afford citizens the opportunity to comment on the need for and location of the highway project. The second “highway

-61-

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