The constructions of new housing units near freeways in Los Angeles are still going on even after concerns were raised on the public health risks. Building homes within 500 feet of freeways have been discouraged by the air quality officials of California, but their advice has fallen on deaf ears. The primary reason that made them offer this advice is that there has been a surge in various diseases like miscarriages, lung cancer, strokes, heart attack, and asthma. It has also been noted that there have been increased cases of dementia, autism, and childhood obesity. Despite the warnings that have been raised over time the civic leaders keep on approving new building units in areas near the freeways. In 2015 for example, the city issued permits for 4,300 homes near the freeway and further issued building permits for 3,000 homes in 2016 in the same region. Public funds are being used in the development of a new housing unit in the areas near the freeways. We will explore the reasons why the construction is still taking place near freeways and being approved by the city given the risks that are involved and the risks that the same possess to the general population.
According to the City of Los Angeles, the construction near freeways is still going on given the risks because the population is rising. We have more people who are moving in Los Angeles on a yearly basis, and one of the basic requirements that they need is proper housing. Building housing units near the freeways is one of the ways of housing these people since houses in these areas are affordable as compared to the other regions. The housing units near the freeways have affordable rent which means a huge section of the population can afford. These residential units are also near restaurants and shops which is convenient for many families. Secondly, according to the City of LA, there are better ways of reducing the risks that building near the freeways poses to the residents. They believe that public health concerns that have been raised could be addressed through the tailpipe emission, air filtration, and proper building designs. The officials of the City of Los Angeles also believe that since the freeways are part of the city, prohibiting the housing schemes near them is not well-thought. They allege that restricting the building of houses in these areas will lead to a housing crisis in the city.
Yes, the development is occurring near the freeways because of the shortage of land in Los Angeles. It is important to note that freeways are some of the things that best describes the city. The city is severely crisscrossed by the roads which mean that there is no sufficient land in the city to build housing units. Building in the less populated parts of the city is expensive and thus few people could afford to purchase or rent those housing units. According to the housing and planning experts, the rezoning areas that have heavy traffic are another alternative that cities could pursue to exclude the development of residential units. Unfortunately, the civic leaders in Los Angeles are not taking the advice of the professionals seriously. This is one of the ideal ways since the developers would be compelled to come up with the proper building designs that will limit the exposure of the residents to the polluted air.
The business groups are the other stakeholders that have always opposed the suggestions of restricting developments in areas that are near the freeways. Since businesses thrive in areas where they are clients, they believe that this move will worsen the housing situation in Los Angeles bearing in mind the number of people that immigrate to these areas on an annual basis. They thus believe that residential units need to be continually built in these areas to help in averting the housing crisis. Going by the current trend, it is projected that the population of people living near the freeways in Los Angeles will increase by 250,000 by the year 2035. This is raising eyebrows because it is likely to lead to improved health complications. The other reason why the developers are not building in the less polluted parts of the city is the fact the population is fast increasing in the areas near the freeway than any parts of the city. It means that the regions near the roads have more demand for housing than the areas that are further away. Since the developers are investors and would wish to recoup their investments, they choose to build in areas near the freeways. The housing developers also believe that by concentrating the new housing units near the transportation hub will lead to an increased human density which will assist Los Angeles to meet its targets for the greenhouse gas reductions.
Air pollution has been for a long time associated with premature deaths. Pinpointing the critical components in the traffic pollution is hard because it contains various components like the compounds from tires, dust from the brake pads, soot particles that are microscopic, and poisonous combustion gasses. The ultra-fine particles that are emitted from the vehicles have been identified as one of the critical components since it is typically between five and ten times higher when near the transportation hub. Concerns have been raised by the emerging science that the government regulations that are meant to prevent smog in the urban areas are not sufficiently tailored to address the local problem to do with the transportation pollution. It was also established recently that the diesel soot and other components that are emitted in the vehicle exhaust exposes individuals to cancer risks than it was previously believed.
The political will is all that is required to sort this problem out. There have been considerable efforts to sort out this problem, but it has been challenging to find a solution since the political class, and the business owners are against these plans. The housing and planning experts have already recommended rezoning areas that experience heavy traffic to be excluded from the new residential projects. They believe that prohibiting the development of housing units in these areas will reduce the number of people who are exposed to roadway pollution. This will significantly help in reducing incidences of public health concerns. The city officials could adopt moratoriums or ordinances on the new housing projects. It is a high time that the political class took the advice of professionals seriously and stops politicking with the lives of the public. When zoning is applied correctly and developer compelled to build houses that will limit their exposure to pollutions, public issues to do with the roadways pollution will be significantly reduced.
From the above discourse, it is apparent that proactive actions have to be taken on the construction of freeways in Los Angeles. The number of health application that residents in these areas are suffering from cannot be ignored. The political class and business groups should put their acts together and come up with legislation that will help in the rezoning the areas that have a high traffic of people. `