January 23, 2014
Talks about the construction of the Western Bypass have been going on for years. One of the issues many have been speaking on is the change in air quality, but the Charlottesville based group Bypass29Now believes that isn't a problem and offered several studies.
“The air quality in Charlottesville is very good,” says Paul Wright, former chairman of the Albemarle Architectural Review Board. “This road, according to the VDOT study, is going to improve, because of truck regulations that have been passed by the federal government that will reduce pollution significantly in the future.”
Wright also explained the positives of the bypass during a press conference.
“Getting that traffic out of there will help pollution, will help traffic, it will help people trying to get in and out of places and I think it bypasses around our commercial corridor.”
However, not everyone in attendance agreed with the study. One person explained that six schools would be affected by pollutions from traffic on the bypass.
“These children have no choice; they have to attend this school,” says John Cruickshank, Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club. “It's not fair to put them in an environment that could be damaging to their health.”
Cruickshank also read from a study from the American Lung Association which explained that traffic pollution causes asthma attacks in children as well as other diseases.
“There's going to be a lot of diesel trucks, a lot of cars on this road and I feel it will impair the health of the children,” says Cruickshank.
During the press conference Wright also pointed out that the studies collected by people against the bypass were not done in Charlottesville and reflect pollution in larger cities. He says the air quality will improve if the bypass is built.