Zwartz Talk

Garcetti’s Cigarette Defense of Bike Lane Air Pollution

Everything Except a Doctor’s Recommendation That Air Pollution is Good for Kids

Cigarette #1

.     After Angelenos complained that putting Bike Lanes in heavily trafficked thoroughfares like Westwood Boulevard and Reseda Boulevard, Mayor Garcetti has countered with the old defense from the 1950’s that Cigarettes are Good for You. Or, at a minimum the science is “inconconclusive.” This time it is not cigarettes but toxic emissions from automobiles are A-OK for our kids as they peddle in Bike Lanes on our major streets.

.    Most people thought that it had been established that air pollution from vehicle exhaust was a significant health risk to everyone, but that the danger was especially harmful to children.  Apparently, we were all wrong.  According to Mayor Garcetti’s team of experts on the health impacts of air pollution:

The research efforts that aim to study direct air quality impact on the choice of urban cycling routes’ is inconclusive, as identified in those studies, the research methodology is still evolving in tracking differentials in pollution intake. 2015-8-4 City Response re air pollution & bike lanes

   The Amazing News from the World of Garcetti Science.

.     Young children breathing in toxic fumes from trucks, buses, diesel engines and regular vehicle emissions has not been shown to be harmful to children!  WOW!  Will the wonders of  Garcettism never cease?

The Rest of the World must be Wrong!

.   The worldwide consensus that Bike Lanes in busy thoroughfare pose a serious health risk must be wrong.  Councilman Koretz must be wrong, and the health studies to which Garcetti was responding must all be wrong.

BIKE LANES and Air Pollution:

.      Following is a list of some of the studies which show that Bike Lanes in major streets pose a serious health risk to children, but that the danger can be substantially reduced by moving the Bike Lanes away from the heavily trafficked thoroughfares. 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 Synonym.Com, What Do Trees Do to Air Pollution?, by David C. Laine, Demand Media

Why The On-Going Deception

.    Those who are familiar with Garcetti’s modus operandi know that everything is based on justifying more extremely high density projects where Garcetti’s developer buddies make billions of dollars without regard to the impact on Los Angeles. Because mixed-use projects always attract considerably more vehicle traffic, Garcetti proposes the use of bicycles on major routes leading to the Transit Oriented Districts [TODs].  Then, Garcetti pretends that all those theoretical bicycles represent cars no longer on the streets.  Next, Garcettism translates the illusory claim that bikes = fewer cars into less traffic near TODs.  Then, he claims that we can add more highly dense projects. That is the major motivation behind locating Bike Lanes on major arteries leading to his beloved TODs.

.    As Judge Goodman, Judge Chalfant, Judge Jones, and Judge Fruin have all ruled — Garcettism is based on fatally flawed data, wishful thinking, and evasion of the law.  Less polite people use the more common words, “prevarications, lies, myths, falsehoods, delusions, gobbledygook.”

.    We saw a recent version of Garcettism on a Chris Hayes MSNBC News special report where the mayor debunked the notion that Los Angeles has a drought problem, but instead Los Angeles has ample water supplies to easily add thousands upon thousands of new apartments and condos.   When it comes to Garcetti’s billionaire developers, there is more than enough water, but when it comes to a family of four, there is so little water that they should rip out their lawns.

Garcetti’s use of the Old Cigarette Defense

is Nothing New For L.A.

.    There is nothing new about Garcetti’s denying toxic auto exhausts are not harmful.  This has been his standard practice since he was first elected.  In 2006, then Director of Planning Gail Goldberg warned that Garcetti’s habit of letting developers set the zoning requirements for their projects would result in a disaster. 2-27-08 LA Weekly, How Density Hawks Changing LA, Steven Leigh Morris, LA Weekly

.    The predicted disaster has arrived in spades. March 25, 2015, Zwartz Talk, Power Corrupts; Corruption Destroys – Power and Corruption at Los Angeles City Hall

.     The question is: How much longer will Angelenos allow Garcetti to run Los Angeles into ruin before they take effective action?


2 comments on “Garcetti’s Cigarette Defense of Bike Lane Air Pollution

  1. Michael

    you’re so confused, steeped in conspiracy. I’d be happy to discuss the future of Los Angeles and how your perception of happenings in LA is deeply misguided. Seriously, email me or lets engage in dialog on your blog.

    TOD and multimodal transit are the only saviors for our city.


    • scottzwartz

      There is something akin to a True Believer [Eric Hoffer] when people talk about “only saviors.” How did you become so expert in Los Angeles and Hollywood at Fordham University? We’ve got well over 50 years of experience with Los Angeles, its government, its land use policies, the legal cases, and the actual results of Smart planning and TODs. So, let’s hear about your background — e.g. how many years have you spent in Los Angeles, would be a start.


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