The Real Deal Los Angeles

More Angelenos are living by freeways despite health warnings

L.A. officials approved thousands of new homes in high pollution zones in past two years
March 06, 2017 08:30AM

The 101 freeway (credit: Getty Images)

The number of Angelenos living within 500 feet of a freeway is skyrocketing despite warnings that the air quality leads to higher rates of asthma, heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and pre-term births, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times.

L.A. officials approved thousands of new homes near freeways over the past year — permits for 4,300 new homes were issued in 2015 plus another 3,000 last year.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people living within 500 feet of a freeway grew by 3.9 percent, according to the most recent data available.

Politicians are split on the issue, since clamping down on residential construction near freeways could impact the ability to build affordable housing.

A spokesperson for Mayor Eric Garcetti noted that a ban on construction within 1,000 feet of freeways would eliminate 10 percent of L.A. land currently zoned for residential use.

But Council member José Huizar said it’s important to establish “buffer zones” and called for a “comprehensive, citywide study of development near freeways that would analyze all impacts of limiting development around freeways.” [LAT] — Katherine Clarke