Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Highway 252/I-94 Environmental Review

Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park and Minneapolis

Equity and Health Assessment

MnDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation) is conducting an EHA (Equity and Health Assessment) as part of the EIS (Environmental Impact Study) for the Hwy 252/I-94 corridor in Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis. The assessment will involve residents from historically underserved and overburdened populations through targeted public engagement to elevate equity and health information in the evaluation and development of Hwy 252/I-94 project alternatives.

The EHA is administered by MnDOT’s Sustainability and Public Health Division with support of an interagency working group that includes MnDOT’s Livability Office, Hennepin County Health and Human Services, the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs at the University of Minnesota, Metro Transit, and FHWA (Federal Highway Administration). MnDOT is using the new EHA process to improve decisions on the Hwy 252/I-94 project. The structure and content of the EHA may change as the project partners work through the environmental process.

Why is equity and health important to MnDOT?

The Minnesota GO Vision for Transportation envisions a multimodal transportation system that maximizes the health of people, the environment, and the economy. This vision recognizes that transportation decisions impact our safety, physical activity, air and water quality, sense of place, connection to environment, community cohesion, and access to opportunity. To advance the Minnesota GO Vision, MnDOT is working to integrate these considerations in transportation decision-making processes.

Transportation equity means the benefits and burdens of transportation spending, services, and systems are fair and just, which historically has not been the case. Transportation equity also requires that people of underserved communities – especially Black, Indigenous, and People of Color – share in the power of decision-making (Draft MnDOT Transportation Equity Statement of Commitment). MnDOT is working to better understand how transportation decisions help or hinder the lives of people in underserved and underrepresented communities and identify actions to make meaningful change.

How will MnDOT assess and consider equity and health related to Hwy 252/I-94?

The Hwy 252/I-94 EHA combines health data and enhanced, targeted engagement of historically underserved and overburdened populations to explore the following questions:

  • How does transportation affect the health of communities along the Hwy 252/I-94 corridor?
  • How does transportation contribute to health disparities in corridor communities and between corridor communities and the broader region?
  • How do Hwy 252/I-94 project alternatives impact equity and health?
  • What changes or additional project alternatives are suggested to help promote equity and health in the Hwy 252/I-94 environmental review?

EHA during the Hwy 252/I-94 SDD (Scoping Decision Document): The Hwy 252/I-94 EHA assesses equity and health conditions and priorities in communities along the corridor. These conditions are assessed through quantitative analysis of health data and qualitative input from community members through surveys, and facilitated conversations with community organizations.

A series of three reports will be considered by MnDOT as part of the Hwy 252/I-94 SDD:

  1. Equity & Health Baseline Conditions (Spring 2022) — Document health conditions and disparities in corridor communities.
  2. Equity & Health Priorities (Summer 2022) — Document health and equity priorities of the corridor communities.
  3. Equity & Health Assessment of the Hwy 252/I-94 draft SDD (early 2023)— Community-driven health and equity review of the Hwy 252/I-94 SDD project alternatives, recommendations for what, if any, changes to the SDD should be considered before proceeding to final review and approval.

MnDOT will document and include these report findings into the final SDD as public input. MnDOT will respond to substantive public comments as part of the SDD process.

EHA during the NOI (Notice of Intent): The NOI is a public notice that informs federal, state, and local agencies, and the public of the FHWA intent to prepare an EIS for the Hwy 252/I-94 project. A 30-day comment period begins following the NOI. At this stage, the purpose and need statement and alternatives to be carried forward are finalized for use in the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement).

During the NOI the EHA will review the response to submitted SDD comments and prepare for the DEIS.

How is community involved in the EHA?

To ground this EHA in community, MnDOT convened an EHNA (Equity and Health Neighborhood Advisors) group. The EHNA consists of members who live, work, or own a business in the project area and have an interest in advancing equity and health in transportation. MnDOT’s goal in selecting EHNA members was to ensure the group is balanced across project area communities and represents the region’s demographic diversity.

The EHNA group works with MnDOT staff to:

  • Describe equity and health conditions in their communities;
  • Provide input on equity and health engagement activities; and
  • Provide input on potential transportation improvements to Hwy 252/I-94 project elements and alternatives.

Initial membership of the EHNA group was announced August 11, 2021. The EHNA is expected to meet an average of once per month through the end of the SDD process in late 2022. Information from EHNA meetings will be posted on this webpage.

Public engagement opportunities

The Hwy 252/I-94 EHA includes opportunities for public engagement. This engagement is conducted online and in-person at community meetings, community pop-ups, and neighborhood door knocking events at key locations along Hwy 252/I-94.