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Thread: Hospitals and highway proximity: ordinances?

  1. #1
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    Hospitals and highway proximity: ordinances?

    We are about to build some new mega-hospitals in Montreal, Canada.

    One of them will be placed directly downwind from the intersection of two highways (currently 300 000 vehicles per day, many of them trucks). The mega-hospital will include two children's hospitals at the closest point to this intersection, less that 500 feet away (200 metres).

    Are we about to make a big mistake?

    Any advice on ordinances, laws, regulations, guidelines etc that advise or prohibit locating hospitals next to highways, most welcome.

    Here is a link to the best reference we have found, to date:

    California Air Resources Board. Air Quality and Land Use Handbook. Published 2005.
    http://www.arb.ca.gov/ch/landuse.htm

    Top recommendation:
    "Avoid siting new sensitive land uses within 500 feet of a freeway, urban roads with 100 000 vehicles/day, or rural roads with 50 000 vehicles/day", with hospitals in their list of sensitive land uses.

    A handbook is one thing: hard-edged laws and ordinances are another. I am looking for the Hardest stuff out there that regulates proximity and sensitive land uses.

    Any help or advice welcome.

    For details on our Montreal debate, see: www.turcot.ca

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. I am a first-timer to this forum...!

    Jason Prince, Urban Planner
    Research Coordinator (CURA)
    McGill University
    School of Urban Planning

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JasonP View post
    We are about to build some new mega-hospitals in Montreal, Canada.

    One of them will be placed directly downwind from the intersection of two highways (currently 300 000 vehicles per day, many of them trucks). The mega-hospital will include two children's hospitals at the closest point to this intersection, less that 500 feet away (200 metres).

    Are we about to make a big mistake?
    ...
    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. I am a first-timer to this forum...!

    Jason Prince, Urban Planner
    Research Coordinator (CURA)
    McGill University
    School of Urban Planning
    Welcome.

    I can't contribute to your discussions with respect to ordinances, but I wonder if you can inform the discussion from the angle of cardiopulmonary = developmental issues that Los Angeles found with their studies of highway residential proximity to negative effects on lower SES kids. IIRC JAMA also had a study with similar findings on highway proximity. That is: if you can;t find a compelling legal angle, maybe the moral-ethical angle will work. Also, depending on the congestion (and thus speed, as noise is speed--dependent), there might be some negative association with decibel level. I know Washington State DOT did a study on mitigating the effects of noise from the Ship Canal Bridge in Seattle - the only detail I remember now was the duplex I lived in as a grad student there was literally the first building to the north out of the impact area on our street.

    HTH.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    One one hand, there are obvious advantages to locating a hospital proximate to a highway. You will have a lot of traffic, especially if it is a regional or specialty hospital, and you'd rather have those cars on the highway than clogging up local streets.

    On the other hand, there are some potential disadvantages to the location. Highways generate a lot of noise and vibration. When I was in grad school, my good friend was doing research on the affect highways had on sensitive archeological and historical sites. It was astonishing to see how many old New England graveyards were suffering just due to their proximity to a highway. I'd ask careful questions of the engineers about the affect that the vibrations might have on sensitive surgical procedures. Make them do the research and find the data and sell it (ie, convince) to you. No need to do it all yourself.

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