Zwartz Talk

City Conceals Toxic Pollution Danger of Bike Lanes

Worldwide Consensus Against Bike Lanes on Major Boulevards Hidden from Angelenos

by Scott Zwartz

Thursday, June 11, 2015

toxic air#3

.     The City of Los Angeles’ Mobility Plan 2035 [MP 2035] has mislead the public and members of the City Council into believing that Bike Lanes on major boulevards are a health benefit rather than a serious health risk to the cyclists, many of whom are children, teens and young adults. Mobility Plan 2035 documents page

The 719-mile Backbone Network provided bicycle lanes along streets with high traffic volumes (arterials). Backbone streets would enhance bicycling over longer distances, especially beneficial for commuters.

The Mobility Plan 2035 redefines the Backbone Network as the Bicycle Lane Network (BLN). The 775 miles of streets on the BLN have been assigned to one of three categories: Protected Bicycle Lanes (264 miles), Priority Bicycle Lanes (324 miles), Planned Bicycle Lanes (187 miles).

.    The health risk, which the MP 2035 has concealed, is the significant danger from air pollution by riding in bike lanes which are on the major boulevards. On June 10 2015, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved Bike Lanes on the Hyperion Bridge without conducting any studies on the significant health (air pollution) dangers posed by having cyclists ride next to vehicle traffic.

 In order not to be misled,

we must identify the right issue

.    The Issue is:  Why won’t Los Angeles follow the worldwide consensus that Bike Lanes should not be on major boulevards?

.     MP 2035 evades this vital health issue.  Zwartz Talk wishes the omission were due to inadvertence, but years of experience has shown that deception underlies virtually all major projects in Los Angeles.  After carefully parsing the Final EIR, Zwartz Talk sees that the misleading of Angelenos had to be intentional.  As a result, all major projects actually present two issues: (1) The inadequacies of the project at hand, and (2) The intentional deceptions.  Hopefully, the City will soon cease relying on false data and wishful thinking to promote harmful projects.

.   The MP 2035’s major deception, which is characteristic of  Garcettism©, is the confusion of the overall benefit to society as a whole by reducing toxic automobile emissions with the unacceptable health dangers to individual cyclist from toxic auto emissions in Bike Lanes along major boulevards. Thus, Mobility Plan 2035 deceptively says that Bike Lanes are healthy because more cyclists mean fewer cars and few cars means less toxic emissions. That is not the issue. The proper focus is whether Bike Lanes on major boulevards are an acceptable health risk to the individual cyclists. The worldwide consensus is “No!”

.     Because there is a worldwide consensus that wherever possible, Bike Lanes should not be on major boulevards, Mobility Plan 2035 has a serious CEQA violation which requires yet another re-circulation of the Draft EIR. Whenever significant new data is presented after the EIR or after the Final EIR, the City has to re-circulate the Draft EIR. If the public knew of the air pollution danger to the cyclists, especially to children, they would oppose Bike Lanes on major boulevards like Manchester Ave, Reseda Blvd, Vermont Ave, etc.

.    Following is a partial list of articles and scientific studies showing the worldwide consensus against doing exactly what The Garcetti Mobility Plan 2035 proposes.

ON BIKE LANES and AIR POLLUTION: Bikers Suck Down Less Pollution When They Ride In Separated Bike Lanes August 15, 2014, Science Direct, Impact of bicycle route type on exposure to traffic-related air pollution, by Piers MacNaughton, , Steven Melly, Jose Vallarino, Gary Adamkiewicz, John D. Spengler [Abstract]

[The Abstract says that it used mortality rather than morbidity. The distinction is important as the use of mortality can understate the disease potential; morbidity is usually a better measure. This study still concluded that more separation from the air emissions the less inhaled pollution.] Don’t Like Pollution In Your Home? Plant A Row Of Trees And Breathe Easier By Half

[New science shows that even one or two extra trees on the street can reduce dust and allergens inside homes.] Quantifying The Economic Value Of Trees To Cities

[Us Forest Service’s i-Tree can calculate how many trees a city has and put a dollar amount on how much they’re making life better.] What is i-Tree? February 2013, American Lung Association, EPA’s Stronger “Soot” Standards Protect Public Health from Dangerous Air Pollutants, EPA, Integrated Science Assessment for Particulate Matter (Final Report), April 21, 2015, Science of Cities, Wearable Sensors Will Measure How Much Air Pollution City Cyclists Inhale, by Sarah Laskow

[More attention is being paid to the direct adverse health impacts of Bike Lanes on major boulevards. The average air pollution can understate the health risks as along the way, there can be very high albeit brief exposure to extremely toxic chemicals.

Too often, the public is mislead by claims that Bike Lanes are healthy by referring to how much lower toxic emissions are when bicycle usage is a higher percent of transportation modalities. The City of Los Angeles, for example, will use these misleading statistics to cover-up the significant health dangers to placing Bike Lanes along major boulevards like Reseda or Westwood. The City of LA’s Mobility Plan 2035 also misleads the public by using studies from The Netherlands based on air pollution from Bike Lanes which have been located far away from the major boulevards.] September 26, 2011, LA Times, Bicyclists May Be Inhaling Twice as Much Soot as Pedestrians, by Jeannine Stein Bicycle BluePrint, Chapter 18: Air Pollution, a) Bad Air, Pollutants and Damage They Do Feb 16, 2012, ZD net, Are bicycle lanes really green? Dec 6, 2012, The Atlantic CityLab, People Trying to Reduce Air Pollution Might Be Inhaling Even More Pollution, Bicyclists and Public-bus Commuters in San Diego Are Exposing Themselves to a Whole Lot of Crap in the Air, According to New Research, John Metcalfe @citycalfe Dec 26, 2012

[“Bicycling to work might help reduce your carbon footprint, but may also be terrible for your heath.”] 2010, BikeRadar, Health: Air Pollution, the Invisible Threat Why Cycling in Traffic Can Be Dangerous for Your Health, 2013, Environmental Health, Cyclist route choice, traffic-related air pollution, and lung function: a scripted exposure study,

[“Conclusions: These results suggest that by selecting low-traffic Bicycle Boulevards instead of heavily trafficked roads, cyclists can reduce their exposure to vehicle-related air pollution. The lung function results indicate that elevated pollutant exposure may not have acute negative effects on healthy cyclists, but further research is necessary to determine long-term effects on a more diverse population. This study and broader field of research have the potential to encourage policy-makers and city planners to expand infrastructure to promote safe and healthy bicycle commuting.] June 30, 2010 Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Aug; 118(8): 1109–1116. Published online doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901747, PMCID: PMC2920084, Review, Do the Health Benefits of Cycling Outweigh the Risks? Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Jun; 118(6): 783–789. Published online 2010 Feb 25. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0901622 PMCID: PMC2898854 Research Commuters’ Exposure to Particulate Matter Air Pollution Is Affected by Mode of Transport, Fuel Type, and Route Air Pollution and Children’s Health, A fact sheet by Cal/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the American Lung Association of California, [02/28/02] [revised 11/26/03] November 2003, Air Pollution and Children’s Health, Ca VEPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment 2011 Determination of Personal Exposure to Traffic Pollution While Travelling by Different Modes, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Auckland, New Zealand 2013, Oregon Climate Smart Communities Scenarios Health Impact Assessment Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Oct; 119(10): 1373–1378. Published online 2011 Jun 14. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1003321, PMCID: PMC3230442, Article, Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Acute Changes in Heart Rate Variability and Respiratory Function in Urban Cyclists July 2007, Main page for Kaur, Nieuwenhuijsen, and Colvile, Fine Particulate Matter and Carbon Monoxide Exposure Concentrations in Urban Street Transport Microenvironments, Atmospheric Environment, Volume 41, Issue 23, page 4781, July 2007. October 28, 2010, Study: Separated Bikeways Mean Better Air Quality for Bikers, Walkers, Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 28th, 2010 at 1:10 pm Thursday, May 22, 2014, Sweet New Protected Bikeway On Beautiful Rosemead Blvd in Temple City, STREETS BLOG LA, by Joe Linton

End of List as of June 11, 2015

Individual Councilmembers Need to Act Now:

.   Now is the time for Los Angeles City Councilmembers to demand a re-circulation of the MP 2035 to incorporate the worldwide consensus. In the past, The City has obstinately refused to follow CEQA, leading to a series of disastrous and expensive courtroom debacles.


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