San Diego’s Own Highline: Capping the I-5 at Barrio Logan for an Urban Park – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

San Diego’s Own Highline: Capping the I-5 at Barrio Logan for an Urban Park

| Posted in Climate Advocacy (AAP/Climate Reality/ClimateHealthNOW)

wildflowers from our farm.

September 22, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

Green spaces are important for human health. The proximity to parks especially those parks with trees, is highly correlated with improved health incomes especially cardiovascular and respiratory health. Through environmental health work, I’m realizing more and more how incredible fortunate some of us are and that is why life has turned out easier for us. If you live near lots of trees and parks and an area with relatively little air pollution, your life probably turned out better.

For the residents of Barrio Logan, someone who did not look like them nor lived in their neighborhood decided to put the I-5 right through their neighborhood and immediately changed the course of an entire neighborhood’s character and health. Some of the highest rates of asthma are in Barrio Logan. It is known as an environmental justice neighborhood. I have many close friends who are from Barrio and continue to fight for their neighborhood.

Sometimes when I think that I’m at the mid 700s to 1000 bags of trash that I’m at the end, and that my part in this fight is mostly done. But then super interesting issues come up that I’m able to have a say in, and I realize – this is still fun and I’m still needed.

SanDiego350.org reached out to get co-signatures for a SANDAG grant support letter to request 2 million for an I-5 Freeway Cap over Barrio Logan, that would create a large urban park and try to reconnect the community.

Text of the letter that we are co-signing to the federal government. So I texted our key members as part of San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air and also AAP San Diego Climate Change and Health Committee. One of our members asked really good questions, and I did a literature search on the air pollution levels of the proposed parks. This is not a new idea, and relatively non-controversial. There is already precedent in San Diego and throughout the country, namely the highline in New York City.

So I replied to SanDiego350.org with our agreement to co-sign that letter. It’s a powerful text group that I’m texting, even though my thought is that it’s just my friends. It’s a member of the San Diego Air Pollution Control Board, the head of the Child Abuse and Neglect committee, an executive member of the AAP San Diego leadership, two of our pediatric hospitalist, and head of pediatric after hours clinic. And I did more reading on it this morning, and feel 100% comfortable putting in our support. The deadline is October 10 and we are two weeks ahead of schedule.

I am so grateful for SanDiego350.org, what a powerful and well run organization. I am so grateful to SANDAG. And I’m mostly grateful to my friends who responded to my text message at 530pm. Can you imagine when and if San Diego get’s this grant? We’ll know we were a part of this all!!!

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