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Greensboro is one of the major urban centers in North Carolina's Piedmont Triad, which lies in the north central portion of the state. In 2000, the Greensboro Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization's (GUAMPO) jurisdiction had a population of 310,000, projected to rise to over 490,000 by 2030. Some 41,000 of the current population are students at one of the 11 institutions of higher education in the region. Greensboro was historically a major center for textile, cigarette, and furniture manufacturing, but these sectors have dramatically declined in the last 30 years. Today, the business services sector has become increasingly important, with insurance claims processing and financial services firms topping the list of major employers. With two Interstates (I-40 and I-85) converging just south of the City of Greensboro, freight and logistics firms also employ substantial numbers of Greensboro-area residents. The region lies at the headwaters of the Cape Fear River, which makes stormwater runoff an important concern. This major watershed must handle runoff from several other urbanized areas, yet must also provide habitat for several threatened species. The Greensboro area has also been designated a moderate non-attainment area for eight-hour ozone pollution.
Planning Products Feed Directly into Project Planning: The plan includes a screening of projects for anticipated impacts to natural and community resources as well as for proximity to protected populations. As explained in the plan, this screening represents an important step toward more coordinated transportation decision making in three ways. First, it serves as a "fatal flaw" analysis to prevent wasting time and resources on projects that face serious obstacles. Second, it allows for a system-level assessment of impacts so that the interaction among projects can be considered. This brings consideration of indirect and cumulative effects of projects into the plan. Third, the screening helps identify issues and projects that will require further analysis, allowing project studies to focus on critical issues and to minimize the potential for unanticipated problems to crop up later. This early screening element will inform the project development process, initiating the environmental impact analysis and focusing resources on resolving important issues. The results of the screening are presented in a series of maps and matrices. The maps overlay the plan's projects, by time horizon (2004, 2014, and 2030) and by project type (e.g., grade separation, new location), on environmental and socio-cultural features, and on environmental justice populations. A matrix for each horizon year's projects presents the magnitude (minor, moderate, major) and types of impacts on 12 categories of resources, plus the proximity to and types of positive and negative effects anticipated for any protected population group.Plan Gives Consideration to Avoiding or Minimizing Disruption: The plan notes that the projects in the recommended plan are organized into three groups, by their horizon year. The projects are staged in a logical fashion not only to maximize construction efficiency, but also to minimize disruptions. The projects are presented in a series of three successive maps that use a color-coded system to show where the majority of construction will occur during each time period. Concern with disruption is also a major consideration in the decision whether to recommend widening major arterials.
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