Cultural Resources and Historic Properties
This chapter describes known cultural resources and historic properties in the Study Area and identifies the potential for the existing Northeast Corridor (NEC) and Preferred Alternative to affect these properties. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) also considered cultural resources and historic properties as part of the assessment of Visual and Aesthetic Resources (Chapter 7.10), Noise and Vibration (Chapter 7.12), and as part of the Section 4(f) evaluation (Chapter 7.16) of this Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (Tier 1 Final EIS). Volume 2, Chapter 7.9, and Appendix E.09 provide resource definitions and the effects-assessment methodology.
For this Tier 1 Final EIS, the FRA relied on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's (ACHP)1 and the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ)2 definitions for historic properties and cultural resources. The ACHP defines historic properties as "any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places maintained by the Secretary of the Interior. This term includes artifacts, records, and remains that are related to and located within such properties. The term includes properties of traditional religious and cultural importance to an Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and that meet the National Register criteria."3 The CEQ and ACHP define cultural resources to include historic properties "as well as additional resources such as sacred sites, archaeological sites not eligible for the NRHP, and archaeological collections."4
The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation; it is authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and maintained by the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS or the ACHP may designate the properties on the NRHP as traditional cultural properties. Tribal resources identified in the NPS 2010 database and the Housing and Urban Development Tribal Directory Assessment Tool database have been used to identify counties included as part of this assessment. Some NRHP-listed properties have obtained the highest federal designation of historic significance. The NPS designates them additionally as National Historic Landmarks (NHL) because of their national importance. As a result, they require the most stringent consultation under Section 106 of the NHPA to resolve adverse effects.
For purposes of this Tier 1 analysis, the FRA only evaluated cultural resources and historic properties that were listed in the NRHP. The FRA did not evaluate those resources deemed eligible for listing in the NRHP (National Register - eligible [NRE]) with the exception of rail-related resources along the NEC previously identified by other federal agencies through separate studies (for example, the Hell Gate Bridge and the Wilmington Shop and Yard were both identified as an NRE by the NPS). The FRA considered other cultural and historic resources deemed NRE (such as the Pennsylvania Railroad New York to Philadelphia Historic District) only if such resources were identified through coordination with a State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) or federally recognized tribe. This analysis does not include a complete list of State Register resources or those recognized at the local level.
Section 106 of the NHPA requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties through a consultation process that includes a SHPO and other parties. Regulations issued by the ACHP (36 CFR Part 800, Protection of Historic Properties) outline the requirements for Section 106 consultation. The regulations define an "undertaking" to include "a project, activity, or program funded in whole or in part under the direct or indirect jurisdiction of a Federal agency, including those carried out by or on behalf of a Federal agency; those carried out with Federal financial assistance; and those requiring a Federal permit, license or approval."5
The FRA has determined that the NEC FUTURE proposed action - the development and adoption of an investment program to improve passenger rail service on the NEC - is an undertaking with the potential to affect historic properties.6 Therefore, the FRA is conducting a Section 106 consultation process for NEC FUTURE concurrently with the National Environmental Policy Act process.
The Section 106 consultation process during Tier 1 has included consultation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), SHPOs,7 the ACHP, federally recognized tribes, and other consulting parties. This process has focused on identification of historic properties listed by the NRHP ("known historic resources") and identification of the types of potential effects on known historic resources that could occur as a result of Tier 2 undertakings. The FRA identified known historic resources within a preliminary area of potential effects (Preliminary APE), which is intended to include those resources that have the greatest potential to be affected by the Tier 1 EIS Alternatives. The FRA documented the results of this analysis in this chapter of the Tier 1 Final EIS. More-detailed identification of historic properties, assessments of effects, and resolution of adverse effects will occur as part of Tier 2 analyses for individual Tier 2 project studies.
As part of Section 106 compliance for NEC FUTURE, the FRA has worked with the FTA, SHPOs, ACHP, tribes, and others to develop a Programmatic Agreement; the Programmatic Agreement, establishes the process that will be followed for Section 106 compliance during the environmental review process for Tier 2 project studies. Volume 1, Appendix GG, provides the Programmatic Agreement
During Tier 2 project studies, the FRA (or another federal agency with Section 106 responsibilities for the particular Tier 2 project study) will determine a project-specific APE and will complete the identification of historic properties, assessment of effects, and resolution of adverse effects for each Tier 2 project study. Consulting parties will be invited to participate in Section 106 consultation for individual Tier 2 project studies, as appropriate, in accordance with the Section 106 regulations and the Programmatic Agreement.
Cultural resources and historic properties are the physical evidence or places of past human activity that are significant representations of our nation's history. Disturbances to cultural resources and historic properties by modification, destruction, or changes to visual or physical settings can diminish their integrity. Key findings for the analysis of the effects of the NEC FUTURE Preferred Alternative on cultural resources and historic properties are listed below.
NHLs are of particular concern because the NPS designates NHLs as nationally significant properties. As a result, the NPS requires the additional consultation under Section 106 of the NHPA to resolve adverse effects. Tier 2 project analysis will make determinations on effects on historic properties.
Most counties within the Preliminary APE for the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and the Preferred Alternative contain NRHP-listed cultural resources and historic properties; fewer counties contain NHLs. Table 7.9-1 summarizes the number of cultural resources and historic properties identified as occurring in the Affected Environment for both the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line8 and the Preferred Alternative. Cultural resources and historic properties are concentrated primarily in urban areas such as Washington, D.C.; Wilmington, DE; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Newark, NJ; New York City, NY; New Haven and Hartford, CT; Providence, RI; and Boston, MA.
There are 76 identified NHL properties in the Affected Environment for the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and 81 in the Preferred Alternative, with the added NHL properties located in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island where the Preferred Alternative makes improvements to the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and incorporates the Hartford/Springfield Line. All NHLs are significant at the national level, and many have particular importance within the regions where they are located. The following NHLs in the Affected Environment for the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and the Preferred Alternative are examples of highly recognizable resources:
Appendix EE.09, provides data for each state and county. Appendix AA, Mapping Atlas of the Preferred Alternative, depicts property counts (NHLs and NRHP-listed properties) by county.
The FRA also considered National Register - eligible (NRE) rail-related properties in the NEC as designated by the NPS in prior environmental studies.
In addition to these NHLs, there are 1,021 NRHP properties in the Affected Environment for the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and 1,079 in the Preferred Alternative. The 58 additional NRHP properties in the Preferred Alternative are located where the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line footprint would be modified or where new segments would be included.
In addition, 34 NRE properties are identified in the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and the Preferred Alternative. These are almost all rail-related resources such as stations and bridges. The exception is the Providence Cove Archaeological District, identified by Rhode Island SHPO as an NRE resource.
|Geography||Type||Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line
(Number of Properties)
(Number of Properties)
As outlined in the effects-assessment methodology (Volume 2, Chapter 7.9, and Appendix E.09) and the Programmatic Agreement, the FRA has determined that for purposes of Section 106 compliance, NEC FUTURE is an undertaking with the potential to affect cultural resources and historic properties. The FRA has taken the following steps during the Tier 1 process to identify historic properties and assess potential effects on historic properties:
This analysis does not include any findings regarding determination of effects for historic properties identified in the Preliminary APE. Tier 2 project analysis will determine effects on historic properties.
In this Tier 1 process, the FRA assessed potential effects on historic properties and traditional cultural properties, such as Native American traditional cultural landscapes, by using mapping overlays to identify historic properties locations within the Representative Route of the Preferred Alternative. The FRA noted the properties identified within the Representative Route as potential environmental "effects," since these properties would be expected to have a higher likelihood of being directly affected by the implementation of the Preferred Alternative during construction or through operations. Indirect effects on cultural resources and historic properties, caused by implementation of the Preferred Alternative, could occur outside the Representative Route and could include increased noise levels, increased vibration, changes to the visual setting, or changes to access. While no determinations have been made on the specific effects of proposed construction types on specific properties identified, the general effects on cultural resources and historic properties could occur as a result of the various construction types and methods proposed for the Preferred Alternative:
Temporary construction effects could occur with planned improvements under the No Action Alternative or Preferred Alternative where access roads are created or temporary utility lines are installed, and at staging and lay-down areas. Impacts could include temporary contextual disturbance to existing NHL, NRHP-listed, and NRE resources, and direct physical disturbance to below-grade NHL, NRHP-listed, and NRE resources through grading, earth moving, compaction, landscaping and/or by the introduction of construction-related vibrations.
Table 7.9-2 presents the number of NHL, NRHP-listed, and NRE properties identified in the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and the Preferred Alternative. The FRA specifically called out NHLs in this analysis because of their national importance, and they require the most stringent consultation under Section 106 of the NHPA to resolve adverse effects. (Appendix EE E.09, contains relevant data for each county, including NRHP-listed resources and provides further qualitative highlights about those properties identified in this analysis as potentially affected.)
|Geography||Type||Existing NEC +
(Number of Properties)
(Number of Properties)
The FRA did not identify any NHLs in the Representative Route of the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line because of its narrow corridor. The following NHLs were identified adjacent to the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line but not within the Representative Route:
Multiple NRHP and NRE properties associated with the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line rail infrastructure were identified, including bridges, stations, viaducts, and signaling systems. There are 51 NRHP and 33 NRE properties in the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line. With the exception of the Providence Cove Lands Archaeological District in Rhode Island, all of the NRE properties identified in the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line are rail related. NRHP properties include the following:
Some NRHP-listed properties are also situated above the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line where it is in a tunnel, such as Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, MD, and the Grand Hotel in New York City. The boundaries of each of identified property predominantly extend only slightly into the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line right-of-way, but there are many more historically significant properties that are immediately outside this narrowly defined Representative Route that are not included in the resource count. Tier 2 project analyses will identify a comprehensive list of Cultural Resources and Historic Properties. Examples of resources immediately outside the Representative Route include the following NRHP-listed properties:
Furthermore, many of the stations adjacent to the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line are either designated NRHP-listed properties or have been designated NREs, and most are not in the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line resource count since their footprints lie immediately outside of the narrowly defined corridor. Some stations, both in and immediately outside of the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line, have been modified and replaced so that they no longer retain their historical integrity. Others have little modification and appear much as they did when originally constructed, such as the NRHP-listed Elizabeth Station in Elizabeth, NJ, and the Sound Beach (Old Greenwich) Railroad Station in Connecticut.
The Preferred Alternative improves the Existing NEC and incorporates new segments that, together, expand capacity to grow the role of rail and have the greatest potential for operational benefit. The Preferred Alternative brings the Existing NEC to a state of good repair and adds new tracks and segments at targeted locations.
The vast majority of historic properties are located in urban centers and in small coastal villages. There are 6 NHLs, 108 NRHP properties, and 34 identified NREs in the Preferred Alternative. Appendix EE.09 provides a complete listing of identified properties within the Representative Route. Additional NHL properties are near but not in the Preferred Alternative. The following NHLs are located in the Representative Route:
The 108 identified NRHP properties include the following:
North of New York City, there are multiple NRHP properties and historic districts in the following coastal towns of Connecticut:
At most of these locations, upgrades to the Existing NEC entail track improvements, but at the NRHP-listed South End Historic District in Stamford, CT, construction type changes from embankment to aerial structure.
There are also multiple historic districts in Rhode Island, including the Bradford Village Historic District, Shannock Historic District, and Westerly Downtown Historic District in Washington County, and the Elmwood Historic District in Providence. The Rhode Island Statehouse is a highly visible NRHP-listed site in Providence, where the Preferred Alternative passes it in a tunnel and at grade, following the Existing NEC. NRHP-listed sites in Massachusetts are predominantly located in and around Boston and include the South End District and the South Station Headhouse, the termination point of the Existing NEC.
Improvements to the Existing NEC would generally enhance existing construction, with the exception of several new segments, and a new two-track section south of Center City, Philadelphia, shifting south of the Existing NEC and running adjacent to S.R. 291 through Essington. The segment shifts north on aerial structure and embankment and then at grade, reconnecting with the Existing NEC near the Schuylkill River. There are no NHL, NRHP-listed, or NRE properties identified in this section of the Preferred Alternative.
Elements South of New York City
Elements North of New York City
As noted in the Tier 1 Draft EIS (Volume 2, Chapter 7.9, Section 7.9.4), the FRA did not identify property-specific tribal resources, but did identify several counties within the Study Area as having tribal resources. The FRA has initiated government-to-government consultation, and through the Section 106 process for subsequent undertakings, consultation with identified tribes would continue regarding tribal resources. Table 7.9-3 identifies the tribes that, based on available data and government-to-government consultation, have interests in counties through which the Representative Route of the Preferred Alternative runs.
The Preferred Alternative includes continued service to existing stations along the NEC, modifications to existing stations, which may require an increase in the station footprint, and new stations. Many of the existing stations along the NEC are themselves either NRHP listed or NRHP eligible.
Adverse effects may occur to historic properties where physical modifications are proposed, or to adjacent historic properties if there are changes in the setting caused by increases in the station footprint (i.e., expansion of or improvements to stations and associated facilities and amenities); such adverse effects could occur as part of implementation of the Preferred Alternative and would be assessed through the Tier 2 project analysis and Section 106 consultation process. Proposed new stations could result in adverse effects if they are located near NRHP-listed, NRHP-eligible, or NHL properties. Table 7.9-4 identifies which modified or new stations may affect historic properties, by station ID. Appendix EE.09 provides detailed support data for Table 7.9-4 .
|State||County||Station ID||Station Type||Station Name||Type|
|MD||Cecil||23||New||Elkton||National Register of Historic Places|
|NJ||Mercer||61||Modified||Princeton Junction||National Register eligible|
|Middlesex||62||New||North Brunswick||National Register eligible|
|64||Modified||New Brunswick||National Register of Historic Places|
|68||New||Metropark H.S.||National Register eligible|
|Hudson||76||Modified||Secaucus||National Register eligible|
|Existing Hartford / Springfield Line|
|CT||New Haven||157||New||North Haven||National Register eligible|
|Hartford||161||New||Newington||National Register of Historic Places|
|163||Modified||Hartford||National Register of Historic Places|
|186||New||West Hartford||National Register eligible|
|187||New||Enfield||National Register of Historic Places|
Environmental Consequences for stations in the Preferred Alternative would occur primarily from proposed modifications to existing stations that could result in an adverse effect. The construction of new stations would affect far fewer historic properties since the new stations are proposed in locations where fewer historic properties have been identified.
The Context Area allows for qualitative evaluation of potential shifts in the Representative Route. It contains numerous geographic areas where there are high densities of NRHP properties and NHLs; these areas are mainly in urban locations. The number of properties in the 5-mile-wide Context Area outside the Affected Environment is drastically greater than the number of properties identified in the narrower Affected Environment because of the much larger Context Area. Table 7.9-5 identifies the total number of properties within the Preferred Alternative Context Area, with support data presented in Appendix EE.09.
|Context Area (excluding Affected Environment)||256||2,142||2,398|
NHLs within the Context Area are of particular concern because the NPS designates NHLs as nationally significant properties. As a result, they require the additional consultation under Section 106 of the NHPA to resolve adverse effects. In addition to the NHLs otherwise highlighted in this chapter, prominent NHLs in the Context Area for the Preferred Alternative include the following:
The Preferred Alternative improves the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line and incorporates new segments in several locations. It is similar to and improves upon Alternatives 1 and 2. Volume 2, Table 7.9-4, reports 4 NHLs and 142 NRHP-listed sites in Alternative 1, and 5 NHLs and 171 NRHP-listed properties in Alternative 2, and the Preferred Alternative reports 5 NHLs and 142 NRHP-listed and NRE properties in the Representative Route.
The FRA modified the construction type of the Representative Route of the Preferred Alternative from Alternatives 1 and 2 to avoid disturbance to several historically important locations, specifically historic districts in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme, CT. Based on public comments and correspondence with representatives from Old Lyme, the FRA modified the construction type for the Old Saybrook-Kenyon new segment to avoid the use of an aerial structure in the historic district of Old Lyme to minimize impacts. In other locations, the Preferred Alternative utilizes existing tracks that run parallel or split from the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line to minimize disturbance to identified resources relative to the Action Alternatives. Proposed enhancements to existing track maintain existing construction types where feasible.
In other locations, the Preferred Alternative uses existing tracks that run parallel or split from the Existing NEC + Hartford/Springfield Line to minimize disturbance to identified resources relative to the Action Alternatives. Proposed enhancements to existing track maintain existing construction types where feasible.
Potential mitigation strategies, or treatment measures developed as part of resolution of adverse effects during the Section 106 consultation process, depend on the type of cultural resource or historic property affected and the type of impact(s). The Programmatic Agreement presented in Appendix GG lists standard treatments, stipulations, and methods to resolve adverse effects. With respect to Tier 2 project studies, the Programmatic Agreement lays out roles and responsibilities as well as guidance for Tier 2 project-level identification and evaluation of historic properties, and mitigation.
For the development of the Preferred Alternative, the FRA identified some examples of measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to cultural resources and historic properties that were presented in Volume 2, Chapter 7.9, including modification of construction type and shifting location. Other recommended mitigation strategies include the following:
The FRA prepared a Programmatic Agreement in coordination with the FTA, the ACHP, and involved SHPOs to ensure that the Section 106 process is carried out fully for undertakings evaluated in subsequent Tier 2 project studies. For each subsequent undertaking, the lead federal agency for the undertaking will be responsible for the following:
Effects to the more thorough and complete listing of cultural resources and historic properties will be determined through field surveys as appropriate, and consultation with each relevant SHPO and/or tribe or Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, local government, and other consulting parties. Counties of interest to the federally recognized tribes identified in Section 126.96.36.199 exist within the Study Area; therefore, any subsequent undertakings involving these counties will require the lead federal agency to consult with those tribes regarding tribal resources that may be present and/or affected by the undertaking. Property-specific treatment measures and designs will be developed to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects on cultural resources and historic properties. The analyses will comply with federal and state regulations identified in the state-specific appendices of the Programmatic Agreement (see Appendix GG).
1 The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is an independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation's historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy. http://www.achp.gov/aboutachp.html
2 The Council on Environmental Quality coordinates federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. https://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/
3 Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 239, 36 C.F.R. § 800.16(l)(1) (December 2000). Accessed at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2000-12-12/pdf/00-31253.pdf#page=29
4 Council on Environmental Quality and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. (March 2013). NEPA and NHPA, A Handbook for Integrating NEPA and Section 106. Retrieved from http://www.achp.gov/docs/NEPA_NHPA_Section_106_Handbook_Mar2013.pdf
5 36 C.F.R. § 800.16(y)
6 This determination is based on FRA's role in sponsoring and funding the development of the NEC FUTURE investment program and the likelihood that decisions made by the FRA as part of NEC FUTURE will be used to guide future federal funding decisions for projects on the NEC over a period of many years.
7 The consulting parties during Tier 1 included the SHPOs from the District of Columbia and Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.
8 NHL and NRHP counts differ from the published Tier 1 Draft EIS. Volume 2, Table 7.9.2, includes revised tallies due to database corrections.