Environmental Justice and Transportation Issues and Concerns

Kirk Ave Bus Depot, Cherry Hill, Lexington Market and Highway to Nowhere

Kirk Ave. Bus Depot

The Kirk Avenue case study demonstrates a microcosm of the bigger implication of transportation routes and distribution of burdens. The Kirk Avenue community is characterized as a predominantly low income and minority community. At the micro scale, analysis of the community revealed that the benefit in terms of connectivity provided by the Kirk Avenue station has been far outweighed by the negative externalities in terms of significantly above standard noise pollution and increased pollutant concentration (for instance, BC and PAH), decline in property values, and potential health effects. This poses key policy issues that need to be addressed:

In the face of evidence that the distributional impact of transportation system is outweighed by environmental, health and property value impacts, what corrective action can be taken to mitigate environmental and economic inequality of the current system?
What lessons can be taken from the Kirk Avenue study to incorporate environmental justice and economic impact considerations, particularly on minorities, in transportation planning?
What damage assessment fees communities can consider imposing on transportation systems that disproportionately impact communities?
Scaling upwards, how can the overall environmental justice concern of minorities be addressed within the existing transportation system? What practical solutions can be implemented?
How can future transportation systems be designed in a way to facilitate movement while minimizing distributional economic, environmental and health outcomes across communities?
The above are key policy issues that need to be considered and discussed in addressing micro level and system wide concerns of transportation in relation to its distributional impacts. At the local level, the Kirk Avenue community deserves a fair hearing and legitimate mitigation program from the MTA. To fail to provide this acknowledgement and dialogue would be tantamount to environmental injustice.

Cherry Hill

In the face of decline in transit service quality and frequency, what is the associated impact on community socioeconomic performance?
What lessons can be learned from Cherry Hill study to integrate in transit service decisions the socioeconomic impacts of route decisions?
How can the socioeconomic impact concerns of communities be addressed through participatory public transportation system decision-making process?
How can future transportation service delivery decisions be made explicit to consider both services to communities and address potential economic impacts of proposed changes to communities?
How can transportation service delivery decisions be broadly considered to integrate regional economic opportunity access to communities and minimize undue economic impacts due to poor transportation system design and implementation?

Lexington Market

What are potential distributional impacts of transit stop changes on minorities and low income riders?
How can potential community concerns with transit stop changes be addressed through participatory public hearing?
What are the long-term impacts of transit changes on users and long-term uses?
How do transit changes impact local businesses through impact on volume of passengers to a particular location?

Highway To Nowhere

Assessment of distribution of burden of proposed road projects needs to be communicated to communities to generate public support. What are the mechanism through which proper information on the distribution of burden associated with new road projects be communicated to communities?

How do transportation planners and decisions makers integrate potential economic and environmental distributional impacts of transportation systems in to their decision making?

How can communities be engaged and well-informed to make choices about transportation routes in and near their communities?