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Stop Sprawl
Sprawling Cities, Spreading Malaise

CDC Researchers Find Asthma, Obesity, And Other Illnesses Increase With Sprawl

A new report by doctors and researchers from the federal Centers for Disease Control (published by the Sprawlwatch Clearinghouse) links sprawling development to a wide range of public health problems.

Did you know:

  • Longer Commutes Cause Significant Stress

The average American driver spends 443 hours per year behind the wheel, the equivalent of 55 eight-hour work days, or eleven work weeks. If you've ever been stuck in traffic (who hasn't?), you know the effects this can have on your blood pressure and stress levels.

  • Traffic Exacerbates Asthma Events

In 1996, Atlanta area authorities implemented traffic reduction plans for the summer Olympics. As a result, weekday morning traffic counts decreased by 22.5 percent, and asthma emergency medical events decreased by 41.6 percent. Non-asthma medical events did not drop during the same period.

  • Development Threatens Water Quality

The amount of stormwater washing off a one-acre parking lot is 16 times greater than that of a comparable-size grassy area. More than 50 percent of waterborne disease outbreaks from 1948 to 1994 were preceded by extreme rainfall events.

  • Poor Urban Planning Endangers Pedestrians

Americans make less than six percent of their trips on foot, yet pedestrians account for 13 percent of traffic fatalities. The most dangerous areas for walkers are "newer, sprawling, southern and western communities where transportation systems are more focused on the automobile at the expense of other transportation options."

You can read about the study on the Sprawlwatch website, or download a full copy here.

The Sierra Club believes we should:

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