[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 45 (Tuesday, March 8, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12753-12755]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-5253]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[Account No. 3950-SZM]


President's Park--Environmental Assessment for Proposed Permanent 
Roadway Closures, Re-Design of Security Elements, and Preservation of 
Historic Landscape

AGENCY: National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment by the 
National Park Service and the United States Secret Service, and notice 
of scoping for re-designing the security elements and preserving the 
landscape within President's Park South, which includes a portion of E 
Street, NW., in Washington, DC.

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SUMMARY: The proposed actions are as follows: The United States Secret 
Service deciding whether to permanently close (1) the section of E 
Street, NW. between 15th and 17th Streets, NW., South Executive Avenue, 
and the Ellipse roadways to unauthorized vehicular traffic, and (2) 
State Place and West South Executive Avenue and adjacent sidewalks 
(contiguous to First Division Monument) and Hamilton Place and

[[Page 12754]]

East South Executive Avenue and adjacent sidewalks (contiguous to 
Sherman Park) to unauthorized vehicular and unauthorized pedestrian 
traffic, and to install durable, more aesthetic security elements in 
the area to replace the temporary, unsightly security elements 
currently in place; and the National Park Service deciding on landscape 
and infrastructure changes to the area that respond to the street 
closures and re-design of security elements to ensure the iconic 
historic nature of the landscape that is the White House and its 
environs and an important destination for visitors.

DATES: Comments should be received within 45 days of this notice.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted electronically through the NPS' 
Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) Web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/PRPA (The NPS preferred method of receiving 
comments), or by mail to: Office of the National Park Service Liaison 
to the White House, 1100 Ohio Drive, SW., Room 344, Washington, DC 
20242.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The NPS may be contacted at the Office 
of the National Park Service Liaison to the White House, 1100 Ohio 
Drive, SW., Washington, DC 20242, (202) 619-6344. To be added to a 
mailing list about the proposed actions, contact the NPS at (202) 619-
6344.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321, (NEPA), and applicable 
regulations and policies, the National Park Service (NPS) and the 
United States Secret Service (USSS), as joint lead agencies, are 
preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA will aid the USSS in 
deciding whether to permanently close E Street, South Executive Avenue, 
and the Ellipse roadways within President's Park South to unauthorized 
vehicular traffic, and State Place and West South Executive Avenue and 
adjacent sidewalks (contiguous to First Division Monument) and Hamilton 
Place and East South Executive Avenue and adjacent sidewalks 
(contiguous to Sherman Park) to unauthorized vehicular and unauthorized 
pedestrian traffic. The EA will further inform the USSS as it considers 
replacing existing security elements in the area, such as jersey 
barriers, provisional guard booths, canopy tents, bike rack, concrete 
planters and standing canine vehicles. These security elements, while 
effective, are visually unattractive and may detract from the iconic 
and historic nature of the area. The USSS would seek to install 
security elements that are both durable and more aesthetic at the 
vehicle checkpoints and along the street closures. The NPS will utilize 
the EA to assist in its consideration of landscape and infrastructure 
changes to President's Park South that respond to USSS security 
requirements and conform to the area's historic features, its iconic 
status and popularity as a visitor destination. The National Capital 
Planning Commission (NCPC) is a cooperating agency in this EA and is 
assisting in the development of potential alternatives by holding a 
limited competition for design concepts that integrate USSS security 
requirements and NPS cultural landscape preservation policies and 
guidelines.
    Other government agencies are invited to serve as cooperating 
agencies. Interested agencies are asked to contact the Office of the 
National Park Service Liaison to the White House at (202) 619-6344 at 
the NPS as early as possible in this process. Compliance with the 
National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), including NHPA Section 106, 
and other laws and requirements, will be coordinated with this EA 
process, and government agencies that are affected by the proposed 
actions or have special expertise will be consulted, whether or not 
they are cooperating agencies.
    This notice also serves as an announcement of scoping on both 
proposed actions, and comments are sought from the public, government 
agencies and other interested persons and organizations. Scoping is 
used to gain insight into the issues to be addressed and to identify 
other significant issues related to the proposed actions. For comments 
to be most helpful to the scoping process, they must be received within 
45 days of this notice.
    During scoping, a public meeting will be held on Thursday, March 
31, 2011, to present information and obtain input from attendees. The 
meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the White House 
Visitor Center located at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue South, NW., 
Washington, DC. At the meeting, the NPS and USSS will describe the 
proposed actions and how the planning will be conducted, and NCPC will 
describe the design concepts competition it is conducting. All comments 
submitted during scoping, including at the meeting, will be considered 
by both the NPS and USSS. If you require additional information or 
special assistance to attend and participate in this meeting, please 
contact the Office of the National Park Service Liaison to the White 
House at (202) 619-6344.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that 
your entire comment --including your personal identifying information 
--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask in your 
comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying 
information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    There is always the possibility that the NPS and USSS might proceed 
to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed 
actions instead of an EA. If this occurs, comments submitted now will 
be considered for any EIS that is developed.
    NEPA regulations and policies encourage agencies to collaborate or 
otherwise use the same NEPA analysis to avoid duplications of effort, 
to reduce paperwork, and to prevent delays in decision-making. The 
proposed actions grow out of needs identified by USSS concerning the 
level and type of security required for the White House. The NPS and 
USSS seek to re-design the security elements in this space and preserve 
the landscape to create a visitor and pedestrian-friendly, elegant and 
beautiful environment that is respectful of its historic context and 
iconic status, while continuing to meet USSS security needs. 
President's Park South is part of the National Park System unit and 
includes Sherman Park, First Division Monument, the Ellipse and its 
side panels, as well as the associated roadways in the area. These 
places, along with other site features, are listed on the National 
Register of Historic Places. The NPS manages President's Park South 
pursuant to its statutory authorities, regulations and policies, the 
Comprehensive Design Plan for the White House and President's Park 
(2000) (Plan), the Design Guidelines for the White House and 
President's Park (1997), and in light of the area's National Register 
status. The section of E Street, NW. within this park area is also 
administered by NPS.
    Following the events of September 11, 2001, USSS temporarily closed 
the section of E Street, NW. within President's Park South to 
unauthorized vehicular traffic. To secure this general area, USSS 
placed a line of jersey barriers along the southern edge of E Street 
and installed provisional guard booths, canopy tents, bike rack, 
concrete planters and standing canine vehicles at vehicle checkpoints 
at the east and west ends of E Street. A vehicle check point

[[Page 12755]]

was also placed at the 16th Street and Constitution Avenue entrance to 
the Ellipse. Since that time there has been a continued, temporary 
closure of the roadways to unauthorized vehicular traffic. The USSS 
will determine whether to change the status of the closure from 
temporary to permanent and to integrate durable, more aesthetic 
security elements in place of the temporary security elements 
identified above.
    The intent is to integrate durable, more aesthetic security 
elements that not only help satisfy the requirement to maintain the 
historic and iconic character of President's Park South, but also 
improve the experience of visitors moving through the area to enter or 
view the White House and its grounds.
    The EA will assess a range of alternatives establishing a permanent 
closure of E Street and associated roadways and the installation of re-
designed security elements resulting in changes to the area, along with 
a no-action alternative for continuing the current closure using the 
existing, temporary security elements. The Plan was developed as an EIS 
and it will serve as a foundation for this EA, and the EA will also 
review the Plan's treatment of President's Park South.
    In 2008, the NCPC Security Task Force recommended, and the NPS and 
USSS agreed, that NCPC, through its Task Force, would manage a limited 
competition to generate creative and thoughtful design concepts that 
incorporate necessary USSS security elements while improving the 
experience of visitors moving through the area to enter or view the 
White House and its grounds. The NCPC is a Federal agency whose mission 
includes serving as the central planning agency for the Federal 
activities in the greater Washington, DC area. The design concepts 
generated through this process may become alternatives in the EA.

    Dated: December 22, 2010.
Peggy O'Dell,
Regional Director, National Capital Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-5253 Filed 3-7-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-54-P