The top of the story:
The skies are clearer and cleaner now: The number of unhealthy air days in Southern California has been cut in half since 1976. And there hasn’t been a smog alert in over a decade. “We have done miraculous things through cleaner cars, better fuels, cracking down on refineries,” says Joe Lyou, who heads the nonprofit Coalition for Clean Air. The progress comes despite the region’s topography and growing population, both conducive to smog.But — cough, cough — many of us are still breathing bad air, and changing that will require even greater efforts to clean up the way we live, commute and do business in Southern California. The metropolitan L.A./Riverside/San Bernardino area continues to have the nation’s most severe air pollution problem (tied with the San Joaquin Valley). In 2012, the region exceeded federal health standards for ozone on 111 days. The state estimates that, every year, Southland smog — primarily ozone and particulates — causes 5,000 people to die prematurely, shortening some lives by as much as a decade. The monetary cost in lost lives, hospitalizations, lost workdays, etc., is estimated at a hefty $14.6 billion.
As the article goes on to note, the big challenge is that officials here can’t directly regulate “the diesel-spewing goods-movement industry” whose trucks, ships and trains are considered one of the region’s biggest sources of pollution.
I think this is one of the best articles yet on the re-emergence of downtown Los Angeles as a place that is beginning to matter. It’s a long story that I think manages to capture the nuances — the fact that some of DTLA has come around, while other parts haven’t and some of the reasons why.
The story also eloquently makes the point that downtown L.A. pretty much has to make a comeback — that endless sprawl and the traffic/pollution it has produced has not served the region well. Curiously, however, the article makes little mention of transit and the fact that it works better in dense urban areas such as downtown. Of course, it’s also a pertinent topic because DTLA is the transit hub of Southern California.
A nice look at some big transit and water tunnels being built across the country. Metro should be joining the ranks soon when tunneling gets underway in the next few years for the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Purple Line Extension and the Regional Connector — all three projects being funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.
Categories: Transportation Headlines