Auto Dependence Is Central To Asthma Epidemic

Arlington, TX Mayor Robert Chuck is also a physician, acutely aware of the effects of ozone air pollution in his city. In this Q & A with Grist's Jonathan Hiskes, he describes ozone's causes and effects and his role as mayor.

In this interview with the Republican mayor of the seventh largest city in Texas, Mayor Chuck shows how automobile dependence affects public health, and how public health is not a partisan issue.

Mayor Chuck: "We're the largest city in America without a public transportation system. To get anywhere in this city, you have to use an automobile. And every summertime, we begin to see the ozone buildup. Ozone is very toxic to lung tissue. So I can predict, just by going through the ER every morning, how bad the ozone levels are."

"Q. Where is the most ozone pollution coming from?

A. Automobiles and trucks, by far. I suspect the average family here has two cars, maybe three depending on how old their kids are

Q. Once the city has been built around driving, it seems tough to lay down a bicycle network that's safe and comfortable. Are there other land-use steps or zoning changes you're trying to do?

A. Not yet. We were talking yesterday at our council meeting about having to change our perception of land use related to walkability."

From "Mayor, university promote Arlington as ‘College Town'":
"College Town is part of a vision for a renewed downtown Arlington. One with the research and educational powerhouse that is UT-Arlington at its core, but surrounded by performing and fine arts venues, sports, a first-class planetarium and a bevy of retailers and restaurants within an area networked with reclaimed spaces, pedestrian walkways, thousands of students in proximity and accessible linear parks."

Full Story: Robert Cluck: Texas doctor, Republican mayor, clean-air champ

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