Pioneering Air Pollution Policy Initiatives for Environmental Justice

Policy Recommendations for Freeway Corridors and Industrial Zones Adjacent to Residential and Sensitive Land Uses

This page contains selected policy recommendations and pioneering policy strategies appropriate for local governments to utilize in developing SB 1000 environmental justice general plan policies specifically addressing air pollution.

The primary focus of these policies is to introduce “best practice” health-protective air pollution mitigating strategies to the interface zones between industrial land uses and/or high-trafficked freeway “goods movement” corridors with residential/sensitive receptor zones and land uses.

Overall, these recommendations are intended to create carefully targeted buffers and mitigations from polluting sources to minimize exposure-impacting sensitive land uses, and not to prohibit certain commercial/industrial development altogether if properly located.

Structure of Recommendations: Policy Overlays and Specific Policy Strategies

Two types of recommended land-use overlay pollution exposure zone or “buffer” policies are first presented (Policy 1 and Policy 2) below. These overlays are for mapping and designating identified freeway/residential interface and industrial/residential interface areas of concern respectively.

Second, a menu with five distinct health-protective policy strategies is then introduced where the suggested policies can be applied within the above buffer overlay zone areas.

Each policy contains background descriptions of relevant case study efforts; not only those in which the Air District has been directly involved, but also policies that other agencies across the state or nation have been implementing. Some of these policies may be quite familiar to local planners in a general sense, but often are not calibrated or designed specifically enough for mitigating the impacts of freeway or industrial air pollution. Too often, such policies are not typically focused strategically together to target high-pollution cumulatively impacted “environmental justice” areas as a concerted and complementary effort.

Finally, as this site develops, it will also serve as a repository or library of best practice and innovative SB 1000/environmental justice working policies for air pollution. Local jurisdictions are welcome to forward specific policies to be included. 

Policy Template Examples

General Land-Use Overlay/Zone Policies - mapping approaches to identify and designate areas of air quality concern:

  • Policy 1: Air Pollution Exposure Zone (APEZ) Overlays - along Freeway/Goods Movement Corridors (San Francisco*)
  • Policy 2: Industrial-Residential Interface Zone (IRIZ) Overlays (Detroit, Oakland*)

Specific Policy Strategies to minimize air pollution exposure for application within above overlay zones: 

  • Strategy A: Vegetative Buffers (East Oakland*)
  • Strategy B: Amortization of Polluting and Nonconforming Uses (National City, Oakland*)
  • Strategy C: Development Patterns and Building Specific Tactics
  • Strategy D: Local Street Green Infrastructure Public Investment Strategies (Oakland*)
  • Strategy E: Freeway Right-of-Way Greening and Green Infrastructure Retrofits

Note: Asterisks (*) indicate policy implementation case studies the Air District has supported or piloted.

Other Policy Resources

Local jurisdictions should refer to regional and state funding sources that could provide financial support for SB 1000 objectives.

  • State: Climate Investment Initiative Funds administered through the Strategic Growth Council; California Department of Transportation (e.g. Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants); California Environmental Protection Agency (Supplemental Environmental Projects and EJ grants)
  • Region: Bay Area Air District Strategic Incentive funding; Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) One Bay Area Grants

The Air District may be potentially available to consult and support local jurisdictions on applying for regional, state, or federal grants that directly address air pollution mitigation strategies such as those outlined in this technical assistance. 

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Christy Riviere
Planificadora principal de medio ambiente


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Last Updated: 03/08/2021