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DOT Trisk Symbol
Memorandum

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Subject: Designation of FHWA Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives for 2007

From:
// Original signed by //
April Marchese
Director, Office of Natural and Human
Environment

To:
Division Administrators
Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers
Resource Center Managers

Date: December 4, 2007

Reply to: HEPN-50

This year marked the first year of the Exemplary Human Environment Initiatives (EHEI) awards program. The EHEI is designed to support and measure FHWA's environmental stewardship responsibilities. In the 2007 Strategic Plan, one of FHWA's six Strategic Goals for FY 2007 was to "Protect and enhance the natural environment and communities affected by highway transportation." One of the national strategies to achieve this goal is to recognize at least thirty exemplary human environment achievements over the 6 years covered by the Plan. The EHEI and the projects selected under it will be one of the Agency's hallmark demonstrations of environmental stewardship. The EHEI is a new companion to the successful, ongoing Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives (EEI) program. By recognizing and showcasing the EHEI and EEI projects, we hope to enable and encourage the replication of these efforts in other transportation projects around the country.

The EHEI promotes environmental stewardship by giving recognition to transportation projects and activities that are particularly effective and innovative in how they adapt and enhance the human environment. It is intended to give incentives to transportation sponsors to pursue new ways to adapt transportation projects to the human environment, thereby better meeting the needs of the communities they serve. Five award categories have been established for EHEIs: (1) encouraging nonmotorized transportation, (2) enhancing the environment for human activities; (3) process improvements, (4) educational and training programs; and (5) product development. We also left open a sixth category for innovative projects that did not fall into any of these five categories but nonetheless demonstrated the characteristics of an EHEI.

In this first awards cycle, we received 38 submittals from across the country. These included many excellent examples of environmental stewardship, making our selection very difficult. We singled out eight exceptional projects from these submittals, but want to note that many of the other projects submitted also deserve recognition. Division offices are encouraged to consider submitting revised applications in 2008.

The inaugural EHEI winners cover a wide variety of topics and include some very innovative process improvements. Many projects involved significant new partnerships as well. The 2007 EHEIs by category are:

Category State Project
Encouraging Nonmotorized Transportation Colorado 28th St Central Corridor Multimodal Improvements
This project helped transform a vehicle dominated corridor to an aesthetically pleasing multimodal corridor with improved walking and bicycling facilities, and transit service. This project is an example of a "complete street" where all travel modes are safely accommodated.
Enhancing the Environment for Human Activities Oregon Vista House
The Vista House, in use since 1918, is a key historic site along the Historic Columbia River Highway. This project involved retrofitting the site for ADA compliance without impacting aesthetics. The most innovative improvement was installing an elevator that cannot be seen when on the lower level of the structure, and therefore preserves the original aesthetics.
  Arkansas Pulaski County Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge (Big Dam Bridge)
The construction of the pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Murray Lock and Dam in the Little Rock area connects trails on both sides of the river. It is the longest bridge specifically for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Process Improvements Kansas Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail
This project forged an innovative cooperative agreement among the Kansas Department of Transportation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) that allows the PBPN to operate with greater self sufficiency regarding management of transportation projects on the reservation.
  South Carolina US 76 Bridge Project
A significant interstate partnering effort resulted in a new bridge over the Chattooga River that connects US76 between South Carolina and Georgia and is within National forests. The team used a Context Sensitive Solutions approach to improve pedestrian and bicycle facilities, ensure that the bridge did not interfere with the scenery, and did not disrupt recreational river use.
Education and Training Programs Mississippi US Highway 45 Bypass Environmental Study
As part of the US 45 bypass environmental study, the team developed an educational program for school children, their parents, and the local community environmental stewardship and transportation decision making. This project involved partnerships with elementary schools, local news media, city, State, and Federal agencies.
Product Development Georgia Historic Preservation of the Leake Archeological Site
Partners including the area's Native American communities, city, county, State, Federal, media, and educators worked together to address looting of the Leake archeological site, increase public involvement in the data recovery plan, and provide law enforcement training needs regarding site protection.
Others New York Philip A Rayhill Memorial Trail
The Philip A. Rayhill Memorial Trail connects several residential neighborhoods to shops, education facilities, and offices in the central New York State. This project has led to increased awareness of the need for walking and bicycling connectivity in other local comprehensive plans.

Congratulations to all of the State DOTs and division offices whose efforts are represented in this year's EHEI selections, and thank you to all who submitted proposals for this year. We encourage you to continue to promote EHEI projects. We will be soliciting nominations for our next round of EHEIs in April 2008. Please note that we will be coordinating the schedules for the EHEI and EEI award submittals. If you have further questions regarding the EHEI program, please contact Mr. Gabe Rousseau (202) 366-8044 or gabe.rousseau@dot.gov of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Team in the Office of Natural and Human Environment.

Updated: 07/11/2012
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