The final full walkthroughs of the McAnulty neighbourhood have been completed, with fairly similar trends to the other collected data.
Tuesday July 25thWednesday July 26thTuesday August 1stWednesday August 2ndAveraged Map: (Combination of all data from myself, other volunteers, and previous INHALE data)Tree Map
Potential methods to reduce public exposure to elevated levels of PM2.5 include controlling dust-out conditions on the entrance and exits of the industries in the area – especially those very close to populated areas such Dofasco on Beach Rd. This needs to be a combined effort on behalf of the City and the industries. Street sweeping needs to become more commonplace in these areas, and the industries also need to take ownership of their contribution to the dust-out problem and look into ways to mitigate it’s impact on their neighbourhood – whether that be through better paving of internal roads, washing of transport vehicles, etc. Another idea gotten from passing industries along Kenilworth Ave. is fine-mesh fencing, like this:
Further industrial implementation of this style of fencing could prevent or reduce the spread of dust from high winds.
The planting of trees in key areas can help reduce residential exposure. Most of the McAnulty neighbourhood is in need of more trees (there are over 3 times as many trees in the Centre on Barton, surprisingly) but of particular note are open spaces on Beach Rd. :
The grassy bit between Grenfell and Beach could easily have trees planted, and a significant section of the mainly unused Dofasco parking lot just to the east could be converted into some sort of vegetation as well, acting as a barrier between industry and residential lands as well as improving aesthetics.
The area under Nikola Tesla Blvd. produced some of the highest readings, and being under a bridge, is also a wind tunnel. Several times during my walks over the course of the summer, I encountered dust clouds that pretty much punched me in the face, leaving me literally tasting the grit. There are piles of dust, sand, and debris from passing trucks thick enough to kick in the centre of the Boulevard:
A volunteer and I had a chat about what would be the best option. Vegetation and trees are likely out of the question – the area doesn’t receive a lot of sunlight. The best bet to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in particular is to clean up the piles and put something porous down on the ground. The volunteer suggested woodchips or rocks – pretty much anything to slow or inhibit the wind tunnel effect, and preferably one that is somewhat porous (to allow drainage) and isn’t too harmful to the environment either.
Surprisingly, one of the places with the consistently best air quality in the McAnulty area was Barton St. This could be related to it’s distance from the industry and lack of drag-out and extensive use from industrial vehicles, but it’s still quite impressive considering that it is definitely the busiest road in the region, and contains the very flat and fairly bare Centre at Barton, which conceivably should make the movement of dust easy.
However, more regular street sweeping and a double-layer of trees along the western 2/3rds of the Ottawa – Kenilworth stretch may be reasons why the air is comparatively quite good. This is promising – it shows that simple steps can be taken to reduce particulate pollution in urban areas with high vehicle traffic. More trees could be planted to complete the eastern section (closest to Kenilworth) with a double layer – the boulevard has the same amount of planting space here as the other sections further west.
I’d like to thank volunteer Craig for providing some really good suggestions on possible solutions.
A reminder that if you’re living in the lower city, particularly in Crown Point, McAnulty, McQuesten, or the Beach Strip neighbourhoods, and would like to receive a free tree for your property in September – click here.
The Trees Please team will continue meeting in Crown Point and McQuesten in the coming weeks: check out the schedule and meeting locations here.