Parents Concerned about Bypass’ Proximity to Schools

Some opponents of the Western Bypass are concerned about its impact on students in nearby schools, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The road winds surprisingly close to Albemarle, Jack Jouett, Greer, Agnor-Hurt, and St. Anne’s Belfield. A 1993 environmental impact study and a 2002 follow-up said that the bypass “would not directly impact any of these schools,” which seems odd, given the road’s proximity to the schools. VDOT anticipates another Federal Highway Administration-mandated reevaluation of the impact of the road on kids nearby, looking at both noise pollution and air pollution and how they’ll affect the thousands of nearby students.

Some parents of kids in the affected schools are sending e-mails around to their fellow parents, highlighting studies on these topics. For instance, EPA has published preliminary, draft guidelines about where to site schools relative to highways, finding that recent research has found adverse effects on the health of children in schools near large roadways. But that research is unrefined, and no mandatory guidelines are yet in place, so this research will presumably play no role in the location of the bypass bypass. That, of course, is not making those parents feel any better.

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