Air Quality & Health Impacts

The Nishi property is sandwiched between I-80 and the railroad. This is an unhealthy location for student and non-student housing alike. It is also an unhealthy location for the allowed uses at the site, which include daycare and outdoor exercise facilities. The City's own Environmental Impact Report concluded that even after mitigation, the location is associated with a "significant and unavoidable" increase in health risks. On one side of the property, residents would be exposed to soot from diesel trains, which has six times more carcinogens than diesel truck exhaust. On the other side of the property, residents would be exposed to toxic ultra-fine metals from brakes and fuel additives, which are associated with dramatic increases in asthma, permanent loss of lung function, cancer, heart disease, and prenatal developmental problems.

Even though the study cited in the City's Environmental Impact Report showed worse air quality than surrounding areas, measurements were taken only for 10 days and were not taken at the Nishi property itself but at a nearby site. Nishi is directly adjacent to a section of I-80 where traffic backs up, but the nearby measurement site is not. Three years ago air quality experts urged the developers to perform essential measurements at the Nishi site itself for a scientifically significant duration. Yet they still have not done the studies, studies that are both necessary and inexpensive.

Because of these health risks, the City has required the developer to implement mitigations, but they won't address Nishi's serious health impacts. At present, there is no residential air filtration system that can remove airborne hazards at the level the City specifies. Furthermore, the required tree screen would be only marginally effective due to the elevated freeway.

A 2008 San Francisco public health ordinance requires assessment of fine particulate matter (PM) levels at housing sites within 500 feet of busy roads. Mitigation is required if roadway fine PM levels > 0.2 µg/m3. The Davis EIR found 14.5 µg/m3 of the even more dangerous roadway ultra-fines at 400 feet from I-80 near Nishi. There is no way filters can handle such levels, and CalTrans would resist traffic controls, so we are left with alerting potential residents of potentially severe health risks. Or we could just vote No on Measure J.


Peer-reviewed studies

This ad appeared in the Davis Enterprise on May 13, 2018.


Davis Citizens for Democracy - No on Measure J - No on Nishi 2.0