L.A. Officials Push for New Steps to Address Health Risks From Homebuilding Near Freeways

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In a new push to address health risks from a surge in residential construction near freeways, Los Angeles officials have requested a study of development restrictions, design standards and other steps to protect residents from traffic pollution.

Everett Smith, a resident of the Orsini apartments, looks out from his balcony at traffic on the 101-110 freeway interchange in downtown Los Angeles. (Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Planning, transportation and other officials should prepare “strategies to address the hazard of freeway pollution affecting residents of new and existing structures,” according to a motion filed this week by councilmen Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz. These could include buffer zones and barriers, air filtration requirements and regulations on building design.

The proposal cites a recent Los Angeles Times story that found the city keeps approving homes in high-pollution zones near freeways despite more than a decade of warnings from air quality regulators and scientists.

“I think it’s about time,” said Huizar, who represents a district stretching from downtown to Eagle Rock. “We’ve had report after report … about how living next to a freeway is detrimental to people’s health. We need to have a comprehensive study.”

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