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Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulations: Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways, NY

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION:

Temporary final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard has changed the drawbridge operation regulations that govern the operation of the New York City highway bridge, mile 0.8, across Mill Basin on Belt Parkway at New York City, New York. This temporary final rule will allow the bridge to remain closed to vessel traffic from 7 a.m. on February 24, 2003 through 5 p.m. on April 14, 2003. This action is necessary to facilitate the installation of median safety barriers at the bridge.

DATES:

This rule is effective from February 24, 2003 through April 14, 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, are part of docket (CGD01-02-143) and are available for inspection or copying at the First Coast Guard District, Bridge Branch Office, 408 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02110, between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Joseph Schmied, Project Officer, First Coast Guard District, (212) 668-7195.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Regulatory Information

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3), the Coast Guard finds that good cause exists for making this final rule effective in less than 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Any delay encountered in this regulation's effective date would be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest because the work to be performed under this temporary final rule is necessary safety modifications that are scheduled to be performed when the bridge receives the fewest number of requests to open.

On December 27, 2002, we published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Drawbridge Operation Regulations; Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways, New York, in the Federal Register (67 FR 79012). We received no comments in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking. No public hearing was requested and none was held.

Background and Purpose

The New York City highway bridge has a vertical clearance of 34 feet at mean high water, and 39 feet at mean low water in the closed position. The existing drawbridge operating regulations are listed at 33 CFR 117.795(b).

The bridge owner, New York City Department of Transportation, requested a temporary bridge closure to install median safety barriers between the vehicular travel lanes at the bridge.

The bridge presently has no median safety barriers between the vehicular travel lanes that pass over the moveable lift spans at the bridge. There have been many serious head on automobile accidents at this bridge as a result of the absence of median safety barriers.

The average traffic count is 140,000 vehicles a day. There have been seven (7) head-on travel lane crossover accidents over the past several years, four (4) resulting in fatalities. These accidents resulted from the absence of a median safety barrier separating the opposite vehicular travel lanes.

The installation of the median safety barriers is considered necessary safety repairs that should be performed without delay.

In order to facilitate this structural work the bridge must remain in the closed position for the passage of vessel traffic from 7 a.m. on February 24, 2003 through 5 p.m. on April 14, 2003.

The time frame requested to perform this necessary safety work, February 24, 2003 through April 14, 2003, is the best time to perform this work because the bridge has historically had very few requests to open during that time period. In 2001 only one commercial vessel transit required a bridge opening and in 2002 only three commercial vessel transits required bridge openings between February 24 and April 14.

During the last ten days of the above closure the bridge will be balanced and tested. A limited number of bridge openings would be available for the passage of vessel traffic during the time period the bridge will be balanced and tested.

The Coast Guard believes this temporary final rule is reasonable because this work is essential for public Start Printed Page 9891safety and will be performed when the bridge has the fewest number of requests to open.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

The Coast Guard received no comments in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking and as a result, no changes have been made to this final rule.

Regulatory Evaluation

This rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3), of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not “significant” under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 FR 11040; February 26, 1979).

This conclusion is based on the fact that the waterway users who normally navigate Mill Basin are predominantly recreational vessels. There are four commercial facilities, two recreational vessel marinas, and two recreational/commercial vessel repair yards upstream from the bridge.

The time period the bridge will be closed is historically the time period during which the fewest requests are made to open the bridge. Between February 24 and April 14, 2001, only one commercial vessel transit required the bridge to open. Only three commercial vessel transits required bridge openings during the same period in 2002.

Vessels that can pass under the bridge without a bridge opening may do so at all times.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), that this rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

This conclusion is based on the fact that the waterway users who normally navigate Mill Basin are predominantly recreational vessels. There are four commercial facilities, two recreational vessel marinas, and two recreational/commercial vessel repair yards upstream from the bridge.

The time period the bridge will be closed is historically the time period during which the fewest requests are made to open the bridge. Between February 24 and April 14, 2001, only one commercial vessel transit required the bridge to open. Only three commercial vessel transits required bridge openings during the same period in 2002.

Vessels that can pass under the bridge without a bridge opening may do so at all times.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-121), we offered to assist small entities in understanding the rule so that they could better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking process.

Small businesses may send comments on the actions of Federal employees who enforce, or otherwise determine compliance with, Federal regulations to the Small Business and Agriculture Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and the Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards. The Ombudsman evaluates these actions annually and rates each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on actions by employees of the Coast Guard, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247).

Collection of Information

This rule calls for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Federalism

A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, Federalism, if it has a substantial direct effect on State or local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have implications for federalism.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal government, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

Taking of Private Property

This rule will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule is not an economically significant rule and does not concern an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This final rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it does not have substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. It has not been designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

Environment

We have considered the environmental impact of this rule and concluded that under figure 2-1, paragraph (32)(e), of Commandant Instruction M16475.1D, this rule is categorically excluded from further environmental documentation because Start Printed Page 9892promulgation of changes to drawbridge regulations have been found to not have a significant effect on the environment. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket for inspection or copying where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

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Regulations

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Coast Guard amends

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PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

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1. The authority citation for part 117 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 49 CFR 1.46; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); section 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.

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2. From February 24, 2003 through April 14, 2003, in § 117.795, paragraph (b) is temporarily suspended, and a new temporary paragraph (d) is added, to read as follows:

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Jamaica Bay and Connecting Waterways.
* * * * *

(d) The draw of the New York City highway bridge, mile 0.8, across Mill Basin on Belt Parkway, need not open for the passage of vessel traffic from 7 a.m. on February 24, 2003 through 5 p.m. on April 14, 2003.

Start Signature

Dated: February 10, 2003.

John L. Grenier,

Captain, Coast Guard, Acting Commander, First Coast Guard District.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 03-4761 Filed 2-28-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-P