222318 Public health through public participation: Reducing impacts from the largest freeway expansion project in the U.S

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Angelo Logan , East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Commerce, CA
Jocelyn Vivar, MPH , East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Commerce, CA
The Long Beach Freeway (I-710) is one of the most truck-congested freeways in the U.S., with trucks carrying containers to rail facilities from southern California Ports. The freeway currently has 42,000 trucks a day and plans are underway to triple that number by adding more lanes, including elevated truck lanes. The expansion's purpose is to facilitate enlarging the Ports so that more containers can travel on trucks to the local railyards and then placed onto trains for travel to their final destinations elsewhere in the U.S. Thus, residents living along the 18-mile route (>75% Latino) suffer impacts from international trade that benefits consumers in other parts of the country. Air pollution, noise, nighttime lighting, and trucks on residential streets impact residents' quality of life. The original transportation planning process excluded public participation from residents along this major corridor. Through a major upheaval in the process, demanded by local community organizations, a new “community participation framework” was adopted. This presentation highlights how the public helped to frame the public health issues and get policymakers to accept community concerns in this huge infrastructure project. A committee of residents, elected officials, scientists and environmental justice advocates issued a report stating that “improving health along the corridor” and “reducing air pollution” were the top priorities in expanding the freeway. A network of local committees and policy committees set up by decision makers continues to meet. Already, a major success has been incorporation of a Health Impact Assessment into the environmental review process.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the public health impacts of residential proximity to major freeways. Describe how a Health Impact Assessment can add public health considerations to the environmental review of a transportation project.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the director of the community organization East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice and am the lead on the community organizing efforts to protect health around the 710 freeway.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.