Warehouses vs. Safety of School Children: Conflicts in Bloomington

San Bernardino County’s Bloomington residents and local advocates have packed recent School Board meetings over concerns regarding a logistics industry development project near two elementary schools. A 680,000 square foot warehouse project was recently approved by San Bernardino County’s Planning Commission and it is scheduled to be developed within 700 feet of Walter Zimmerman and Crestmore Elementary schools. The development of warehouses near schools concerns us for two major reasons. First, children exposed to particulates from freight truck exhaust (especially while trucks may be idle) experience higher risks of health problems such as asthma and weaker lungs. Second, children walking and biking to school will be at significant risk given high volumes of truck traffic going in and out of the warehouses.  

The Partnership has been working with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) to provide public testimony to the school board and the San Bernardino County planning commission. Public testimony from advocates and community members have included an action calling on the board to adopt a school board resolution. Efforts against the development of warehouse projects near schools was also opposed by Senator Connie Leyva, as her staff representative provided testimony on her behalf. The resolution would serve as an acknowledgement of air quality environmental hazards and traffic safety concerns of freight trucks routed near schools and encourage agencies to work together address concerns.

Two school board meetings on August 3rd and 17th have yet to result in any board action on the resolution. The board might feel pressure to react as the story has now received local and regional attention.

Bloomington area schools lacks a safe routes to school plan or any such programming that could help ensure the safety of children walking to and from school. Currently, San Bernardino County is working on a Countywide SRTS Plan that includes two Bloomington schools but are not either Zimmerman or Crestmore schools. We look forward to continuing to work with CCAEJ, community members and allies to strategize on uplifting policies to ensure the safety of schoolchildren and the health and well-being of all residents.  

 

Concerned parent testifies about her son’s safety.IMG_4516

IMG_4365Packed room for public testimony on Bloomington area schools at the August meeting of the Colton Unified School Board Meeting.

 

 

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