The issue in this appeal is whether the City’s application included sufficient information in accordance with program guidance to support its funding request to construct a safe room.
The relevant section in the HMA Guidance, Part IX., Section C.4.1.2 Population at Risk from Tornadoes states in part:
The distance from the safe room for the at-risk population is based on a maximum walking travel time of 5 minutes or a maximum driving travel distance of approximately 0.5 mile. When considering a single- or dual-use community safe room, the 5-minute walk time or the equivalent 0.5-mile driving distance must be calculated by the actual travel route or pathway a pedestrian or a driver will be required to follow. This pathway should not be restricted, bottlenecked, or obstructed by such barriers as multi-lane highways, railroad tracks, bridges, or similar facilities or topographic features. Traffic congestion (including parking constraints) during the movement of the potential at-risk population to the safe room once a storm watch/warning notification is issued should be considered when defining the at-risk population for the community safe room. In either case, whether walking or driving, prospective safe room occupants must be able to safely reach the facility within 5 minutes of receiving a tornado warning or notice to seek shelter.
Travel Time Consideration – The proposed safe room is to provide shelter for up to 1,364 occupants that would need to reach the facility within 5 minutes of receiving a tornado warning. The majority of these prospective occupants have to cross a 4-lane divided highway, in order to reach the safe room. If prospective occupants were to drive to the facility, the amount of time required for driving, parking and walking to the facility for such a large population would also expose people to additional risk.
Population Protected – There is insufficient documentation to clearly identify the entire at-risk population that would utilize the safe room facility. Also, the subapplicant identified areas beyond the standard 0.5 mile radius from the facility as being where prospective occupants may come from. Areas beyond this 0.5 mile radius are generally considered too far and expose people to additional risk when trying to access a safe room facility and are therefore not acceptable as per HMA Guidance (C.4.1.2 – Population at Risk from Tornadoes).