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Air Monitoring at Peace Bridge

Still in limbo: PBA's Busti Avenue properties.

Years after West Side residents in the Peace Bridge area began to experience unusual respiratory and other health problems, the Public Bridge Authority and Assemblyman Sean Ryan and others announced last week that the Department of Environmental Conservation will conduct air monitoring upwind and downwind of the bridge.

DEC officers will also be checking sporadically and handing out tickets to truckers idling their rigs for more than five minutes while awaiting secondary inspections or while shopping at the Duty Free store.

The monitoring program will test for fine particulates, sulfur, and black carbon—what you can see spewing from diesel exhaust pipes especially upon engine start-up. A diesel engine starting up is a little like a two-pack-a-day guy clearing his throat in the morning, which is why shutting off a diesel engine only to have to start it up again after a short while is a little problematic.

A spokesman for the PBA said the plan is to monitor for six months prior to plaza renovations and six months subsequent to renovations, but did not interpret this to require postponement of the proposed demolition of houses on the east side of Busti Avenue, given court permission to proceed with the demolitions. A challenge to the demolitions proposal by the preservationist Campaign for Buffalo History, Architecture, and Culture is currently batting around between the state and federal courts to see which court should have jurisdiction on the matter.

Several months ago the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York held a march and rally to demand DEC air monitoring at the Peace Bridge.

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