Community Updates on Logan Airport’s CONRAC

May 15, 2013
By

Massport’s Anthony Guerriero updated the community on Logan Airport’s Consolidated Rental Car Facility or CONRAC Monday night.

Guerriero went over some of the future plans for the Maverick Street gate and how it will tie into the new traffic flow around the CONRAC as well as landscaping and buffering programs on the neighborhood side.

The Maverick Street gate will be altered slightly to allow for a more smooth traffic flow into and out of Logan for Eastie residents.

Massport will also create a green buffer along Maverick Street that will tie into a path that will lead along the backside of the CONRAC and connect to Memorial Stadium. This path will allow Jeffries Point residents to connect to the stadium and Eastie’s other park systems like the Greenway, Bremen Street Park and the future Greenway connector that will lead to Constitution Beach.

The CONRAC will open in the next couple of months despite the neighborhood’s best efforts to block its construction until Massport tested the ultra-fine particulate matter. For years leading up to construction of the CONRAC residents were concerned of what dangerous pollutants may spew from the proposed five-level, 2.8 million square foot, 9,000 parking space garage.

Massport has complied with every state and federal regulations concerning environmental impacts for the garage. However, those regulations did not require the Port Authority to test ultra-fine particulate matter.

Led by longtime Eastie activist, Mary Ellen Welch, the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association fought to have Governor and other elected officials in the state and federal government to halt the project until that study is done.

Welch long argued that the proposed garage is too big and will pose too much of an environmental impact on the neighborhood.

Ultra fine particulate matter (PM) from car exhaust has been shown to cause a wide array of adverse health impacts.

The large number of deaths and other health problems associated with particulate pollution was first demonstrated in the early 1970s and has been reproduced many times since. PM pollution is estimated to cause 22,000-52,000 deaths per year in the United States and 200,000 deaths per year in Europe.

The effects of inhaling particulate matter that have been widely studied in humans and animals now include asthma, lung cancer, cardiovascular issues, birth defects, and premature death. The size of the particle is a main determinant of where in the respiratory tract the particle will come to rest when inhaled. Because of their small size, particles on the order of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) can penetrate the deepest part of the lungs such as the bronchioles or alveoli. Larger particles are generally filtered in the nose and throat via cilia and mucus, but particulate matter smaller than about 10 micrometers, PM10, can settle in the bronchi and lungs and cause health problems.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that inhaling PM2.5 leads to high plaque deposits in the arteries causing cardiovascular problems.  Researchers suggest that even short-term exposure at elevated concentrations could significantly contribute to heart disease and concluded that traffic exhaust is the single most serious preventable cause of heart attack in the general public and is the cause of 7.4 percent of all heart attacks in the world.

 

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