Study: Rise in South Bronx traffic congestion contributing to further health problems
A study by Columbia University in collaboration from South Bronx Unite, found that traffic congestion worsened in the South Bronx between 2017 to 2019 and contributed to health problems that came along with pollution, such as high rates of asthma and other illnesses.
The study began following the opening of the Fresh Direct grocery warehouse in 2018. Researchers say they mounted traffic radar devices on light posts in the South Bronx to assess the impact of the opening of the nearby grocery warehouse.
They found traffic had increased primarily at night in areas south of the Major Deegan Expressway where many people live. This then caused an increase in air pollution in the Bronx, which has one of the highest rates of asthma.
Researchers were concerned with the overall health of Bronx residents living in the area as new developments continue to be built.
Some solutions they proposed included congestion pricing, reducing emissions, and capping the Cross Bronx Expressway.
"We would cap this highway so that the pollution cannot get out. Something like that has been done in Boston. And right now, something similar is proposed for the Cross Bronx Expressway," said Markus Hilpert, Associate Professor at Columbia University.
Researchers also suggested allowing the community to have access to the waterfront, to keep them from congregating on the roadways. South Bronx Unite said that time is of the essence.
"We'll continue to lose lives. Our children will suffer. The community will have more and more respiratory problems and COPD and the next pandemic or virus or infection like coronavirus will adversely affect us even more," said Mychal Johnson of South Bronx Unite.
South Bronx Unite is working on getting the word out, and getting support from elected officials to come up with solutions.