The HIA addressed the Pittsburg Railroad Avenue Specific Plan, which included a new commuter rail (BART) station located in the middle of State Highway 4. The proposed station would be surrounded by “transit-oriented development,” which would include almost 1,600 housing units, 450,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and pedestrian and bike improvements. All new construction would be within one-half mile of the proposed BART station. Some of the health issues considered included changes in access to affordable housing, jobs and livelihood, transportation, retail and services, air quality, and noise, as well as the impacts on health issues such as asthma, obesity, injury and mental health. The HIA recommended allotting more affordable housing in the project than the current zoning ordinance called for; including high-quality ventilation systems in any housing within one-half mile of the freeway, along with a maintenance plan for them; installing triple-paned windows to protect from noise; hiring local residents for the construction phase of the project; implementing transportation strategies (parking, bus routes to BART, etc.) to encourage use of BART and decreased use of cars.
The Station Area Plan has been approved by the City Council, and included some recommendations from the HIA. The Planning Department used results from the HIA to save affordable housing sites originally in the plan that were facing opposition, require air quality and noise mitigation measures, and improve pedestrian and bicycling facilities. The HIA process also engaged community residents in data collection and partnered with a local health clinic.
This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.