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Old 12-12-2011, 03:12 PM
 
Location: central austin
21 posts, read 21,478 times
Reputation: 14

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trying to decide where to move.

for many reasons (including 2 little ones) air quality is a priority for us.

i know (i can tell) the air quality greatly varies from one zip code to the other. so many things affect it, are you west or east of a major highway (the way the wind tends to go means the east side gets the highway fumes)....in a valley or on a hill, etc.

i would love to find out where to get this kind of data. i would even measure it myself, but have no idea how to do it. (is there some contraption i could rent?)

right now its between the hyde park area and the barton hills area. which would you think had better/worse air quality? barton hills is surrounded with many large roads (and the horrible south lamar congestion) but has the greenbelt (and is, well, on a hill!)....hyde park is between i35 and mopac...but seems to be in a bit of a low point geographically...!?

thanks in advance for any insight!!

Last edited by wi2tx; 12-12-2011 at 03:15 PM.. Reason: got east and west mixed up, ha
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
14,421 posts, read 20,765,549 times
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Barton Hills would probably be better because it is on a hill and the greenbelt S & SE of it. The predominate breezes in Austin come from the SE. There is also very little industry in S. Austin or South of Austin. Both locations are going to have the most air pollution coming from automobiles. I don't expect there would be much difference between them in that regard. The cleanest air in the area is probably out south of Dripping Springs (SW) or Creedmore (SE).
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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wi2tx- I responded to your school question in a direct message. FYI.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:47 PM
 
287 posts, read 320,540 times
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we went through this with two asthmatic children... even backed out of a contract on a home because of it. i have so much research and data, feel like I have a PhD on the topic. Bottom line, and most important thing, is to be as far away from major (defined as heavy traffic) road or highway. The further, the better, but we ended up setting the minimum at 1/2 mile.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:42 PM
 
Location: central austin
21 posts, read 21,478 times
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thanks guys!

cptn, that is interesting about the SE winds!!

i really really love barton hills, but the south lamar traffic is seriously scaring me. it seems like north central has less traffic (comparing airport or north lamar on a friday with south lamar....?) i need to find some data on number of cars passing through, mopac vs 135, etc.


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Old 12-12-2011, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
6,840 posts, read 10,721,584 times
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My first thought is that unless you are specifically talking about seasonal allergies, the air quality inside your home will be much worse than it is outside, even next to a road.

Especially in older homes, which is what you'd find in either of the neighborhoods you mentioned. You'll undoubtedly have some mold, dust (even if you are a neat freak, it's in the vents and on your ceiling), off gassing from numerous sources -- from paint, to cookware, to soot in your chimney, to floor sealer, carpet material and padding, plastic items getting a bit too warm, furniture stain, etc... All that going on in a 50s-80s home built with little thought given to fresh air ventilation.

But would I worry about it? No.

Thus I would be even less concerned about the outdoor pollution difference between Hyde Park and Barton Hills. Now, if we lived near an aluminum plant, refinery, power plant, or industry of any kind that might be a different story. But there isn't anything like that in central Austin AFAIK.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,730 posts, read 17,974,236 times
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As long as you are several hundred yards from the major roads, you have dealt with the major problem. Ozone is an area wide problem (although not at serious or severe levels) and it is hard to dodge it within a small geographic area. Sometimes it is even related to pollution transported over long distances.

Monitoring networks are much too 'coarse' to assist in identifying a specific location for a home, but you can find quite a bit of data on the TCEQ website(Air Quality Data - Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - www.tceq.texas.gov), and a little further through the links you can find the monitors: Select a Monitoring Site in Region 11 (Austin) - Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - www.tceq.texas.gov
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:19 AM
 
Location: central austin
21 posts, read 21,478 times
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that tceq site has me geeking out, thank you!

i have seen an interactive map for the LA area, detailing differences between neighborhoods, and it is startling, the differences, at least out there.

i have also been stunned to see how many AISD elementary schools, even the "top" ones, are basically on top of highways
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
8,730 posts, read 17,974,236 times
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Quote:
i have also been stunned to see how many AISD elementary schools, even the "top" ones, are basically on top of highways
I have been involved in pollution and noise studies related to road construction projects, and for all but the busiest highways in the country, 100 feet or so gets you out of the worst of the vehicle pollution. In Austin, the only hours that may be of real concern will be peak rush hour - ~8 am (+/- 30 minutes or so) and 5 pm (+/- 30 minutes). The afternoon hours will have little impact on schools, since the kids will be gone (for the most part). Regarding the morning hours, if you are concerned, get your kids to school a bit early and inside. The pollution that affects asthma is usually ozone, and, to a degree, fine particulate. Ozone is essentially non-existent indoors and fine particulate in Austin is generally not a huge issue. Diesels produce fine particulate, but they tend to be on interstates and new rules are reducing the amount of fine particulate from those. Also, Ozone tends to be a problem slightly later in the day, when the sun begins to 'cook' the NOx and VOCs, and even then the levels are generally only high in the 'ozone season' (April 16th to September 15th).

You may have already looked at these, but just in case :
Fine Particulate (today): http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/cgi-bin/.../texas_pm25.pl

This one you need to play with a bit, but it can tell you A LOT about downtown particulate matter (PM):
Pollution History, CAMS326 (Zavala):http://www.tceq.texas.gov/cgi-bin/co...ry.pl?cams=326
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:47 AM
 
Location: central austin
21 posts, read 21,478 times
Reputation: 14
this study says at least 500 yards away is where you want/need to be for safety...also says living close to busy roads as a kid = decreased lung function for life. ugh.

i think both maplewood and gullet are closer than this.


Living By The Freeway | Freeway Air Damages Young Lungs - Los Angeles Times
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