Lawsuit Challenges PennDOT's NEPA Process on Erie Bayfront Parkway

Despite 80% of survey respondents wanting a reduction in volume on Erie's waterfront parkway and improved pedestrian and bicycle access to the city's waterfront, PennDOT plans instead to double traffic as part of a $120 million high-speed bypass.

December 24, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By tommaggio


Pennsylvania

SevenMaps / Shutterstock

 A lawsuit filed this month in U.S. District Court accusing the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation of rushing through a road building project opponents say will further segment historically marginalize, environmental justice communities near downtown Erie.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Erie Unit (NAACP – Erie Unit) and Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture), filed a lawsuit this month challenging the Federal Highway Administration’s approval of the Erie Bayfront Parkway Project, according to a press release from Earthjustice, the nonprofit public interest environmental law organization representing the plaintiffs.

According to the press release, PennDOT violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Federal Aid Highway Act by failing to examine the project’s potentially significant impacts. "The lawsuit filed today with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania seeks a full environmental analysis, as well as adequate and documented public review of alternative parkway project designs before expanding the Bayfront Parkway — a major road that runs through Erie’s waterfront."

The press release includes more details on the planning and engineering process that provoked the lawsuit, along with soundbites from officials with the plaintiffs about the potential impact of the project.

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