Thursday, February 03, 2011

Hall Park Neighbors Now Bothered by Risk to Children

A couple weeks ago we got some comments on the blog about the recent substantial conformance appeal.

Most of the sports fields are in the potential adverse health effects zone where the children will be breathing the diesel and car fumes. That fact didn't seem to bother Council members Stocks, Bond, Houlihan, and Gaspar. 
And it was Stocks, Bond, Houlihan, and Gaspar who DECIDED not to talk about the toxic air pollution.  anon 12:15:What part of "children breathing toxic air fumes" don't you understand? Build the park so that the children won't be breathing diesel and car exhaust fumes.
This reflected the side that said if you were for sports fields you don't care about kids. Another, 
Toxic fumes? Please! This is a ruse to stop the park! Plain and simple. Scare people and delay the park ,that is what this is about. We are talking about exposure maybe two hours a day, two or three days a weeek a few times a year and your worried about it.  ... Oh yeah, what about all those citizens and children who live along the I-5 corridor, are you going to tell me they are going to have health issues too. 
This reflected the side that said if you brought up the health issue you must be full of crap and don't care about kids and only want to keep a park from being built.

And a quote from THE CITY OF ENCINITAS submission to Caltrans (which the city was happy to keep secret from most of the public), 
"At the request of the City of Encinitas, Scientific Resources Associated (SRA) has conducted a technical review of the Air Quality Section of the Draft EIS/EIR, and a technical review of the Air Quality and Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSAT) Analyses provided as appendices to the Draft EIS/EIR. General comments on the analysis are as follows:

• There is substantial evidence in published studies that demonstrate that residents and sensitive receptors, including children, experience adverse health effects from freeway air emissions. None of these studies were discussed or evaluated in the Draft EIS/EIR for the Interstate 5 North Coast Corridor. SRA has provided a list of current studies in the attached literature review that summarize the available evidence.
• The analysis does not address the potential for impacts to additional receptors to due the widening of the I-5 corridor, which will result in travel lanes placed from 48 to 73 feet closer to existing land uses in the vicinity of the freeway. The California Air Resources Board, in their Air Quality and Land Use Handbook, recommend that sensitive receptors not be sited within 500 feet of a freeway due to potential adverse health effects."
Does this mean the city administration both hates kids and wants to derail the Hall park?

Now, from Dr. Rothe's editorial in the Coast News makes it clear that there are legitimate health risks to living and exercising next to a freeway,
Studies by USC Keck School of Medicine indicate that, in areas polluted by vehicle exhaust, our most athletic children are three times more likely to develop asthma than inactive children....

In 2010, a new SDSU study measured UFP concentrations at 37 locations on both sides of I-5, just 3 miles south of the Hall site. These measurements contradict the erroneous assumptions on which the 2007 Hall EIR was based, namely that anyplace farther than 300 feet from I-5 is safe and that prevailing SW winds will put little pollution on the Hall site...
Another UCI research shows that children “are affected up to nine times more harshly than adults” by vehicular pollution. These results show that children exercising near freeways have a 27 times higher chance of developing asthma than inactive adults exposed to the same pollution levels. A 2000 Denver study found that children living within 800 feet of highways with 20,000 vehicles per day are six times more likely to develop cancer and eight times more likely to get leukemia.
The Hall sports fields are entirely within 800 feet of the expanded I-5...
We can't be too harsh on the city. Take a look at the alternate park plan offered up by CQL for a community park (CQL is the group Jerome loves to scapegoat for his inability adopt a balanced budget that funds the park).

Alternate plan for the park. Submitted by Citizens for Quality of Life to the City of Encinitas during the EIR process. The plan demonstrates two things: The group had a vision for BUILDING the park, and they wanted to put the sports fields close to the freeway


  1. Where are you going with this? I just see at the bottom from CQL and their proposal is that they left out the SKATE PARK and fewer fields. It looks to me that the designed fields are no farther away from the freeway. Anybody from the health effect side have anything to say about the Y. Kids are there all day long in the summer. Any of you concerned about them? No one has gone before the council and protested against the Y. The latest appeal is complete garbage. I think scare tactics to stall city projects is shameful. No one really knows who will get cancer or asthma. My own experience tells me that after living and raising two children next to I5. One who had asthma when we moved in and now he does not have it. I have lived on Dora and Birmingham for 5 years so I don't buy into the it's bad for their health propaganda. Let's pull together and build this park before my kids are grown!

  2. Instead of hall park we should call it boondoggle park.

  3. Sell it. Its more hassle then its worth. Lets have neighborhood parks.

  4. It's worthless. Only politicians spending someone else's money would buy it ... and they already did.


  5. Thank you for pointing out the logical fallacies in all sides' arguments. We all need to tone down the rhetoric, listen to each other and communicate like human beings if we want anything to get done.

    I like the CQL plan (full image: because it seems more like a community park: paths meandering through groves of trees, grassy meadows AND a few fields for sports. That doesn't mean that I specifically endorse that plan, I just think we don't need to dedicate the entire thing to one purpose like the city's version, which is mostly sports fields with a few token paths around the edges ( Even the eventual build-out of additional facilities ( doesn't help the regular person who just wants to enjoy some nature. I think anyone who's been to Kit Carson Park in Escondido would understand the advantages of including spaces for the average resident to enjoy instead of just the sports enthusiasts. It's really quite pleasant there. We don't have the same amount of space but we have enough to compromise. Sports aren't going to be played most of the time anyway, so why dedicate the entire thing to them? And why insist on massive amounts of lighting that the surrounding neighborhoods don't want? Tone it down a notch. There are other playing fields nearby. Humans also need places they can just be, and I bet dedicating a larger portion of the park to trees and other plants would mitigate some of the air quality issues. It could only help.

    @loser leucadian: The YMCA has existed for 23+ years. It's not a part of this discussion. Also the intersection of Dora and Birmingham is quite a bit farther from the freeway than the proposed playing fields. Even if it were closer, your child's health is not indicative of the larger patterns observed by the professionals who did the studies. Statistics don't define who gets sick; they're a calculation of probability based on scientific observation. But who knows, your kids could still develop something. Some others probably will.

  6. Ensign-

    What are you talking about?

    The Y is totally a part fo the conversation. Kids have played right east of the freeway for 23 years. which received the prevailing winds from the freeway exhaust 95% of the time. Is this bad for their health? I am sure parents want to know.

    Its the same thing as watching kids play in the sewage at the end of a drain pipe.

    Healthy air and water. Healthy life.

  7. If the issue is about health and safety of children then the YMCA is absolutely relevant to the conversation. If this is just about the Hall park then it leads more credence to this being brought up as a way to delay the Hall park construction, or way to change the adopted plans.

    Until the air is monitored at the YMCA I'll keep my children from exerting themselves there. This has always been the case. Even when we lived next to the YMCA many years ago, which is why we became thoughtful of the air pollution potential.

    Nobody has claimed that living a few blocks will result in obvious repercussions for all. heavy exercise in the polluted air seems to make the RISK of bad things happening go up. Nobody knows who will get a disease, but we sure can identify certain risks factors that increase the probability of disease.

    It is silly to say, hey I had that same exposure and I'm find (now), so there is no risk.

    A lot of people can say they smoked for years, or were exposed to lead and they feel fine. It turns out that there is no level of lead exposure that has no bad effects. Those effects might be small and difficult to "feel" but they are there.

    On the other hand, the risks aren't so obvious and pronounced that Rothe placed soccer fields close to the freeway.

  8. The park design of the city's adopted 2008 plan and the CQL plan are both variations of the original RJM plan from 2002/2003. One emphasizes a Special Use Park and the other a Community Park, with the city's plan closest to the original design.

    The property has always been along the freeway, and Caltrans has been holding meetings on I-5 expansion since at least 2003. There is no news here. What has changed is the increase in traffic on I-5 and the potential huge change in traffic
    with expansion and the effect this will have on air quality. These are the reasons the city brought forth Substantial Conformance. The council majority had the votes to deny the appeal and find conformance. They didn't. In a sense they confirmed the validity of the appeal.

    To call the appeal "complete garbage" ignores a growing body of research of the dangers for young children doing strenuous exercise close to busy freeways. This research is no different than that done for asbestos use, lead in gasoline, cigarette smoke in closed spaces, and outdoor activity with heavy smog or wildfire smoke. It takes time to document it and make the public aware. The trend of the research was always clear.

    I agree that the YMCA needs to be part of the conversation, as does the whole I-5 corridor. At minimum the city, SANDAG, or Caltrans should be setting up air monitoring equipment. Since the city is going first, it seems they have the immediate responsibility.

  9. Certainly, the issues raised should not, resonably, be ignored. The city has a track record of attempting to ignore pertainent health issues in the past on this site. It took a citizen's lawsuit to force an appropriate EIR on the former greenhouse land. The city has ignored Planning Commission recomdations and deceived the public, saying the Planning Commission approved and certified the EIR.

    Is it the responsibility of our city leaders to inform and research the enviornmental impact of taxpayer's funded civic projects? Of course.
    The city staff acknowledge that there are valid concerns. Mr. Stocks does not feel you, the public, should be made aware of the facts.
    What is the answer? A scaled down day use community park for all. And let the public know the truth.
    Everyone want a park built.

  10. The property is not a good place for a sports park no matter where you put the fields. Pollution is a huge concern for health. Why continue to build parks next to freeways? We have got along fine without the sports complex, why continue to pursue a plan that will subject children to contaminated air and contaminated soils -- don't forget the soil is contanimated -- the EIR simply concluded that a few hours a week exposure playing on the fields won't cause 8 year old Sally any problems. This is a "Play at Your Own Risk" park.

  11. For the sake of our children, we should unboondoggle this. Here's how...

    Put 100 beige stucco mcmansions on that land. Sell'em for $800k each. The city pockets $200k profit on each house, grossing $20 million.

    That $20 million will cover the cost of the land and most of the ensuing stupidity that occurred over the last decade (hiring worthless lawyers, developers and "environmental" assessments, excuse me while I vomit).

    The city will receive an infinite stream of property taxes from the beige stucco mcmansions... $500k per year, almost enough to cover the pension expense of a single part-time fire fighter... but hey, that's a start.

  12. In saying the Y is not part of this discussion I was responding specifically to the part where @loser tried to brush off health concerns by implying that if folks were truly concerned about air quality they would be protesting the Y. It's the same kind of logical fallacy pointed out multiple times in the original post. The Y's not being disputed because it's not being built now. It's been there for two decades. Using it to study freeway pollution, on the other hand, is fair game.


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