OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa title=
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa
14 Comments
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By Ernie Salomon
 
Here is one reason why we need new leadership in our city:
 
The address of this new apartment house is 501 W. Figueroa and it is on the Southernmost corner.  It is where Walnut and W Figueroa interdict.  I visited it yesterday during heavy traffic and I could smell the fumes.
 
These new apartments approved by the morons running our city will have adverse health effects on the lives of all who live there.
 
The recommended setback of dwelling units from high traffic streets and freeways is 650 feet or over two football fields, and even this is considered marginal by health scientists.  I did some measurements on Google and it looks like the property is within 100 feet of the 101.  The building itself is within 150 feet of the 101.
 
Anyone living in these apartments will suffer upper respiratory and heart problems.  It is only a matter of how long that they reside there as to the degree of adverse health effects. Children will be the most affected.  The fact that residents will get sick living there is a scientific fact!
 
The most dangerous aspect of living in these units will be microscopic particles from cars and diesel engines which settle in the lungs and never leave, as well as Carbon Monoxide and other poisonous gasses.
 
The people in our city government who approved these units, from the Planning Commission to the City Council should be forced to live in them for several years!
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a-1510998952 Aug 10, 2017 03:29 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Katie Katrina: From the LA Times 7/9/17 regarding filters for apartment houses close to freeways: "But even the highest-quality filters capture only some of the dangerous ingredients of car and truck exhaust, and to be effective, experts say, they must be frequently replaced and the building’s ventilation system must run virtually full time with all doors and windows closed." How can an apartment resident afford this while leaving all windows closed?

katiekatrina Aug 10, 2017 01:12 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

I appreciate the concern you have for the apartments that are located close to the freeway. For new construction, however, these apartments were likely required to have a noise study done and any new project within 250' of the freeway has strict building requirements based on noise - so upgraded windows and wall/roof construction. They also have increased mechanical system requirements with higher quality filters to provide cleaner air. Older homes and apartments that are close to the freeway did not have these provisions, but new housing has options available to mitigate the noise and pollution elements that are adjacent to the site providing a safe and healthy home for the new residents. I'd also guess that the proximity to the freeway and neighborhood will dictate the amount of rent that these units will go for.

a-1510998952 Aug 10, 2017 02:07 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Unfortunately the increase in "safety" you speak of is marginal to minimal at best. People do not spend all their time indoors at home, nor do they always keep their windows closed, especially in Santa Barbara. Living next to a freeway will never be healthy as long as we are driving combustion vehicles, no matter what types of air filtration one installs.

CivilEngineer Aug 10, 2017 01:12 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

LA recently passed rules that developments like this have to be designed so that the windows are always closed and they use filters with tiny openings to trap almost all of the particulates. Now their inspectors have to verify that the filters are being cleaned/replaced as specified. Pretty sure these apts don't have filters and aren't being designed like that. People are going to have to decide if living in SB is worth the health risk. And I bet those apartments won't be cheap, either.

REX OF SB Aug 10, 2017 12:19 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

And let's not forget those tiny housing bunkers that are directly abutting the northbound 101 around Salinas Street. Also, some city genius one time wanted to have residential units as part of at least one downtown parking garage. I can just imagine the lawsuits down the road from residents who developed horrible cardiorespiratory problems from being exposed to the direct emissions of many hundreds of cars directly beneath them daily.

a-1510998952 Aug 10, 2017 01:08 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Ban all cars, all streets and highways. MORE HOUSING! MORE HOUSING. If we get rid of the freeway, we can build tons of housing on it.

a-1510998952 Aug 10, 2017 12:13 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Goletaloc: What you say is true. But-There is no reason to add more unhealthy housing to the existing stock. The science is factual and proves that living this close to a high traffic freeway is dangerous to long-term health and eventually can be life threatening, especially to children. Mayor Schneider and the City Council just passed an outdoor public areas smoking ban. Living every day virtually on a freeway is much more dangerous than smoking outdoors is to passers by. Why did they approve these apartments?

GoletaLoc Aug 10, 2017 01:05 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Fair enough and for the record I'm not questioning the hypocrisy. That being said, we will always have people either living and working within 100ft the 101 corridor. Workers are going to spend 8+ hours a day in a building and resident's might spend a bit more. The comment you made about children is probably the most salient and if you were going to go to the City with this issue. That would be the selling point.

catwrangler Aug 10, 2017 12:03 PM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Isn't the issue not the apartments but the traffic? I can't believe how hard it is to convince people to carpool to work. Unfortunately I live outside the city (because I can't afford to live in the city) and can't do the clean-air shuttle because of my work hours. I hate being a single car commuter but it is so hard to find people who will carpool. We are such a car culture. Having lived in bigger cities - I love taking the bus and not dealing with having a car at all. If all I can afford is by the train tracks/HWY 101 - so be it. As any renter knows, housing is limited and expensive in the city.

tagdes Aug 10, 2017 11:45 AM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

No exaggeration... hum. 650' would mean all buildings from Bath to San Andres including a portion of Cottage Hospital and a huge area on the east side. There has been housing construction within those limits every since we've had any sort of highway traffic so what's being said here is we haven't had decent leadership for well over 50 years.

Roger Aug 10, 2017 11:41 AM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Wow I could Sue the City no wonder I'm always Hacking I live between the freeway and the Tracks my 401 K is realized if I live that long I probably won't...

GoletaLoc Aug 10, 2017 11:38 AM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

There are a more than 1000 units within 100ft of the 101 freeway between Las Positas and Montecito, not even including old town Goleta. Do we evict these people and tear down their homes? What is the solution you propose?

a-1510998952 Aug 10, 2017 11:18 AM
OP ED: Killer Apartments on W. Figueroa

Yup, living near the freeway/major roads is extremely bad for one's health. I came here expecting some crazy exaggeration from the title of the post, but absolutely none of it is exaggeration. Sadly, a lot of people cannot afford to live elsewhere.

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