Senator Decries Bronx Asthma Crisis Then Rejects Pricing

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It turns out that pollution-related heart and lung problems aren’t just for poor kids in the Bronx anymore. From yesterday’s New York Times:

A study that used the mass of data included in the Women’s Health Initiative found that women who lived in communities with relatively high levels of air pollution in the forms of tiny particles — aka soot — were far more likely to die because of heart attacks than women who lived in cleaner air. Results were published in February in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Cars, trucks, and diesel buses – the main culprits in the creation of particle pollution – spew untold millions of the microscopic pollutants into the air daily. Exercisers should take precautions against particles, experts said, by not exerting themselves near traffic, or, if they must use a path next to a highway, staying a few hundred yards away from vehicles.

Meanwhile, in related news, Bronx State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Richard Lipsky’s Neighborhood Retail Alliance are holding a press conference on the steps of City Hall this Sunday, 11:30 am to protest "the failure" of Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion picing plan "to address the air quality in those neighborhoods that are experiencing a severe asthma problem." Diaz, Sr. says:

With all due respect to environmentalists, I cannot understand how these plans can be made without an environmental impact study being conducted first. There are many questions that have been left unanswered, and we need to have a thorough review of the matter before implementing any plan of action.

Photo: Richard Perry/The New York Times

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Yeah, Lipsky’s blog is a trip. Why would anyone take seriously a guy who writes that kind of nasty crap? Did Ken Livingstone kill his dog or something?

  • Anon

    As an asthmatic mom who has asthmatic children – we live in the Bronx – I can’t thank Senator Diaz and Richard Lipsky enough for opposing this awful congestion pricing plan which won’t help my family breathe better and will only cost us more to enter the elite borough of Manhattan.
    It is so sad that any parent of an asthmatic child can be tricked into speaking on any commercial in support for this plan. It is a horrible plan.
    I hope lots of parents go to the rally on Sunday and speak up.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    As the father of an asthmatic son, and someone who used to live in the Bronx, I think it’s shameful how Diaz and Lipsky are spreading misinformation about this plan. Where do you think all those cars on the Bruckner, the Major Deegan and the Henry Hudson are going, anyway?

  • Dan

    This is the link to the leaders of NYC’s major health organizations calling for the passage of congestion pricing. But hey, if it’s going to inconvenience some folks in the Bronx and Westchester we can just keep doing what we’re doing right now, after all, it works so well.

  • Manhattan resident

    Some of the traffic on the Cross Bronx and Deagan are going to Manhattan, but many of them are going through the region – especially big trucks traveling to New England and Long Island. Ninety percent of the city’s freight enters the city by truck via the GW Bridge, according to Jerry Nadler. They should move faster if we can get rid of some of the cars, but it’s indisputable that we need more solutions for traffic and pollution than congestion pricing. We shouldn’t fool anyone that this will be enough.

  • Anon

    Does anyone really believe that the Mayor – who fought to build a stadium in Manhattan which would have caused HUGE addtions to NY’s pollution problem really cares about cleaning the air – or do people think that he’s a businessman and has conjured up another way to charge the lower middle class NY’ers and keep the non-elitists out of Manhattan?

    Sorry to contradict some of these bloggers, but the congestion pricing plan isn’t good for Bronx families who suffer from asthma. We already have the highest rate of asthma in the nation. Maybe Manhattan won’t have as much traffic, but our borough will have certainly have more traffic and more pollution from this plan – but who cares? The Mayor?

    Look at the number of waste treatment plants in our borough. The City keeps renewing these contracts without any concern about their health hazards for anyone who wants to breathe.

    I really hope we can find a better solution than the one that they have floating around out there now. Maybe one that will include, as Senator Diaz said, an environmental impact study BEFORE anything is agreed to.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Can we stop the argument ad hominem? There’s objective data showing that a good chunk of the cars that pass through the Bronx during rush hours are on their way to Manhattan, and that if you charge the drivers money, many of them will take the train instead, thus reducing traffic and pollution in the Bronx.

    This comes from reputable, trustworthy sources independent of the Mayor, and I’m not going to disbelieve it just because you say the Mayor’s a schmuck.

    Maybe you’re right and the mayor is a schmuck. But a broken clock is right twice a day, and calling the mayor a schmuck proves nothing.

  • Manhattan (former Bronx) resident

    Angus,
    You are right that there will be a reduction of Manhattan-bound cars passing through the Bronx. You are on hypothetical, hopeful ground when you assure Bronx residents that they will not get more pass-through traffic and parking-lot traffic. They deserve real hand-holding through this, and real concessions.

    The Bronx just had the Croton Filtration Plant built in Van Cortlandt Park and the new Yankee Stadium built replace a beautiful park with hundreds of 200-year old oak trees. Forgive them their skepticism. Put the money on the table. Give them something of real value – like covering the Deegan with a park to the Harlem River, decommissioning the Sheridan, subsidized ferry service. Make it big.

  • P

    M(fB)r:

    I (and PlaNYC) agree that improved ferry service is a good idea. …now if we could just think of a new revenue stream that would could use to fund this.

    Does ‘something big’ include improved transit funded by congestion pricing?

    Couldn’t every borough in the city claim that nothing should be done on the grounds that city government has treated them poorly in the past?

    Lastly- decommissioning the Sheridan is in the hands of the State DOT.

  • Dan

    The point I’d like to make here is that arguing against congestion pricing is arguing for the status quo(or worse). Without congestion pricing, asthma rates will go UP, tansit fares will go UP, traffic will be WORSE, and there won’t be any money left to fund any of the improvements in any borough that would make a real difference.

    The Mayor is finally doing something that will benefit all the citizens of the city and all it requires is some people who can afford it to pay their share.

  • Manhattan (former Bronx) resident

    Exactly the point that congestion pricing is the revenue stream for these improvements — but so far the plans for improvements have offered the most to Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, and even Manhattan (the 2nd Ave line). There are a couple of new BRT lines in the Bronx, but nothing that comes close to what this borough deserves out of this. Bronx residents have the lowest rate of car ownership, the lowest rate of commuting to Manhattan for work, and the highest rate of asthma.

  • jmc

    The Bronx definitely needs more express buses, more BRT lines, and additional MNRR stations with additional trains. Congestion pricing will give the money necessary for this.

    As Bronx residents we should lobby for more money and better service and not against congestion pricing!

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Right you are, JMC. Specifically, Metro-North stations at Co-Op City and Parkchester. And 21 new express buses.

    It’s not as much as the Bronx deserves, especially given the shady and exploitative Yankee Stadium deal. But it isn’t nothing either.

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