How we get from one place to another is important. But usually when we talk about transportation we emphasize things like efficiency, access and economics. Rarely do we talk about public health. And we don’t mean the benefits of walking or biking.
Channel3000 managing editor Kyle Geissler put online yesterday a study from the University of Colorado Denver that used Madison’s Verona Road reconstruction project as an example of how transportation policies can disregard public health issues when built through lower-income neighborhoods. The study found that while some neighborhood concerns were addressed by adding bicycle crossings and a pedestrian bridge, other issues like noise and air pollution were ignored.
That seems dangerously short-sighted to us as well as unjust.
Like so much else, transportation policy is often more about politics than the common good. We need a little wider view when it comes to the health of folks affected by these policies.
Social justice needs to be considered as well.