The potential impacts and benefits of proposed transportation projects on communities or neighborhoods, especially those with concentrations of minorities, low-income populations, or people with limited ability to speak and read English (EJ populations) are considered in the analysis of social and community effects. Transportation projects are evaluated to assure they do not disproportionately discriminate against protected populations.
The Project would result in both positive and negative effects on the surrounding community. The social and economic aspects of reducing congestion on Yelm Avenue would benefit the entire study area and the region. All area residents and people who commute through Yelm would benefit from reduced delay. Census data for the EJ populations in the study area were gathered from EPA’s Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool (EJ Screen) to evaluate the Project’s impacts. This analysis identified no disparate impact for minority, low-income, or LEP populations in the area.
Some residents living near the new roadway at locations where existing roads would be converted to cul-de-sacs would experience travel pattern changes. Crystal Springs Street, Canal Road (West), Canal Road (South), and Railway Road would all be converted to cul-de-sacs where they meet the new Yelm Loop. Residents at these locations would experience increased vehicle travel distances of about 0.4 to 0.8 miles to reach the new Yelm Loop, or the equivalent of approximately one to two minutes of added travel time. Travel times for vehicular connections between the ends of opposing cul-de-sacs would increase by about two to three minutes depending on location.
The View Royale and Canal Estates neighborhoods, and the Mountain Shadow and Mountain Sunrise neighborhoods are currently separated by the undeveloped right-of-way owned by WSDOT. None of these neighborhoods are connected by internal streets. It is possible that residents may walk across the field to access the homes on the opposite side of the neighborhood. The configuration of all four neighborhoods with no internal street connections bisected by Yelm Loop minimizes the potential that the new roadway would disrupt the way residents currently interact. Pedestrian access between the neighborhoods would change from crossing an undeveloped field to walking to the stop-controlled intersection at Rhoton Road (for residents of the View Royale and Canal Estates neighborhoods) or the roundabout intersection at Wilkensen Road (for residents of the Mountain Shadow and Mountain Sunrise neighborhoods) to cross Yelm Loop. The walking distance would be longest for people who live on the opposite side of Yelm Loop from the shared use path. This walking distance would be approximately 0.25 to 0.4 miles for residents who live farthest from the new intersections to reach a crosswalk and gain access to the shared use path.
A noise wall is proposed on the south side of the Project between Crystal Springs Road and Rhoton Road. The wall would be on the north side of the View Royale neighborhood. Canal Estates, Mountain Shadow, and Mountain Sunrise neighborhoods similarly border the Yelm Loop corridor, but would not receive noise walls as a part of the Project. As described in the Noise section, these neighborhoods were constructed after the date of public knowledge for the Project and therefore are not eligible for noise walls. Census data for the neighborhoods were evaluated and no disparate impacts would result from the construction of the noise wall at View Royale.
The Project would not take land from community resources, such as schools, parks, or community centers. Access to community resources would be improved due to reduced congestion downtown, where many of these facilities are located. The Project includes a shared use path that would provide connections to the Yelm-Tenino Trail, Longmire Park, and the commercial area at the 170th Street/SR507 intersection, which will increase pedestrian and bicycle access and connections in the area.
For more information
To read more about the study approach, existing conditions, and effects on social and community effects, please see Section 3.12 Social and Community Effects (PDF 1.3MB).