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The road to poor health runs through your neighborhood

Roads running through predominantly low income neighborhoods pose serious health threats according to a new study from University Of Colorado Denver.
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DENVER - Roads running through predominantly low-income neighborhoods pose serious health threats, according to a new study from University Of Colorado Denver.

"The public health effects of heavy traffic are broad," study author and assistant professor at the CU Denver College of Architecture and Planning Carolyn McAndrews, PhD said. "Studies have found associations between high-traffic roads and high-mortality rates, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, poor birth outcomes and traffic-related injuries."

McAndrews' study focused on Verona Road, a busy thoroughfare that runs through a low-income community in Madison, Wis. and connects the northeastern part of the state to Iowa.

"Verona Road carries 50,000 to 60,000 vehicles a day, 10 percent of which are heavy trucks. Similar roads exist throughout the country," according to a CU Denver press release. "The neighborhood is home to about 2,500 people, many of them lower income. Households in the poorest areas earn less than $15,000 a year and 90 percent of residents are minorities."

According to the press release "McAndrews found Verona Road posed numerous hazards. Not only was walking across it dangerous, it also suffered from blight, crime and pollution."

McAndrews asserts "hazards surrounding [like the ones along] Verona Rd. are common nationwide. Unfortunately, neighborhood concerns about the public health effects of these high-traffic roads rarely change the direction of the planning process."

The Journal of Planning Education and Research published McAndrews' study this month.

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