Clear the Air

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 25, 2005

The Globe and Mail reports that researchers from the University of Southern California have found "children living near major roadways were significantly more likely to have the respiratory illness than those who lived a farther distance away."

Children living within 75 metres of a major road were half again as likely to experience symptoms of asthma as children living more than 300 metres away.

As lead researcher Dr. Rob McConnell explained, "These findings are consistent with an emerging body of evidence that local traffic around homes and schools may be causing an increase in asthma."

McConnell's solution: "design cities to separate transportation corridors from where children live, go to school and engage in outdoor exercise."

Here's a crazy idea: design cities so that people don't need to drive everywhere, and hence reduce the air pollution that causes asthma for everyone, regardless of where they live.

That may be too radical for Southern California, but a compact city like Hamilton has no excuse to continue exposing its citizens to unnecessary risks.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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