Q&A with Alberto Ayala, Director of Sacramento’s Air Quality District, SacTown Magazine, June 4, 2022

Alberto Ayala discusses “the growing threat of wildfire smoke, the urgent need to move away from fossil fuel engines, the “scary” results from a new study about the impact of air pollution on our brain health, and why we need to rethink transportation as we plan for a better post-pandemic world.”

On transportation:

“I wrote an essay five years ago, in which I pointed out that of the 40 biggest cities in the country, Sacramento and Las Vegas were the only two without any protected bike lanes and with no imminent plans to build them, whereas cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago were racing to build hundreds of miles of protected bike lanes. And now five years later, we’re not much better off. And for reasons I don’t completely understand, the city just has not made that a priority when clearly, active transportation like biking and walking is going to be one of the ways that we move toward cleaner air. . . [and] where is the investment in transit? And how are we helping our public transit be the innovative transit of the future where you actually meet the needs of transportation for people?”

On the difference between ozone pollution and particle pollution:

“In Sacramento, like most urban regions, the most chronically difficult pollution problem is ozone pollution, not so much particle pollution, but clearly wildfires are changing that. Particle pollution is the smoke that you see from something like a wildfire, or the soot that comes out of a diesel truck. That black smoke is essentially a collection of these particles that come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Ozone pollution, in contrast, is the result of nitrogen oxide and volatile organic emissions often from the combustion of fossil fuels—fuel that burns in an internal combustion engine like in a gasoline car. In the presence of sunlight, they basically cook up in the atmosphere, and then they lead to ozone, also known as smog. So the difference is here we’re talking about gases, not particles.”

Click here to read the full article.

We’ve Got to Stop Requiring Parking Everywhere, Farhad Manjoo, NYTimes, Jun 2, 2022

Now California, the state that in many ways set the standard for America’s car-dependent lifestyle, could be on the verge of reforming parking statewide. One bill moving through the state Legislature would prohibit cities from enforcing most minimum parking requirements near public transit, while a competing bill would give developers greater leeway in avoiding the rules. I hope legislators in my state adopt the former. . .

Click here to read the article: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/02/opinion/california-parking.html?smid=em-share

Ready, Set, Trails!, SACOG, May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

VISION FOR A CONNECTED SACRAMENTO REGION

Imagine over 1,000 miles of trails connecting you to the region’s favorite destinations. Pretty cool, right?

The Sacramento Regional Trail Network will spark a new wave of walking, biking, and rolling to daily destinations throughout the region. Imagine a network of trails that makes it easy for families to ride to their favorite park, provides a safe route for children to get to school, and offers a simple way for residents to explore new corners of their neighborhoods and cities.

The network envisions reliable routes to the best places around the region for all ages, and abilities.

Click here to learn more: https://www.sacog.org/ready-set-trails

Sacramento’s Air Quality: A Passing Grade, Alberto Ayala LTE SacBee, May 22, 2022

Post:     Sacramento Bee, Letters to the Editor, May 22, 2022

AQI PASSING GRADE

RE: “Sacramento among California cities with filthiest air in the US, new study says. What to know,” (sacbee.com, April 22)

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2022” report does not specify that extreme but short-term impacts from wildfires cause high readings, resulting in a misleading picture of Sacramento’s air quality. Air quality and public health are absolutely impacted by wildfires, but to assign an “F” grade without naming the reason unnecessarily undermines public confidence and denies true progress tackling air and climate pollution. Thanks to innovative initiatives by the Sac Metro Air District and our regional partners and stringent rules and regulations, air quality in Sacramento (minus wildfires) has improved significantly over the past several decades and will continue to improve. Our region has made great strides in moving toward meeting strict health-based ambient air quality standards. That is no small feat for the public and private sectors and certainly worth a passing grade.

Dr. Alberto Ayala, Sacramento

https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article261627617.html#storylink=cpy