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Air Quality Concerns Around Embarcadero & El Camino

Original post made by Concerned Citizen, Palo Alto High School, on May 22, 2014

I would like to raise awareness about the air quality around the intersection of Embarcadero Rd. & El Camino Real.

When across the street at the high school, a thick cloud of heavy smoke can be seen over the shopping center. The air smells like a combination of grease and burning wood beginning in the late afternoon.

The air quality around this busy intersection is already heavily impacted from vehicle emissions, but has markedly worsened over the past year.

With a record number of "Spare the air" days this year, and new regulations to control emissions on diesel trucks and buses, we should require restaurants to install scrubbers (air filters) on their exhaust fans.

With increased growth and densification of our area, the quality of air is more likely to worsen than get better.

Comments (4)

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Posted by more than just cars
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm



Paly also is the path for all airplane traffic. Planes are flying at lower and lower altitudes to save fuel, so it's not just cars.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Sounds like a Gott's Roadside and Kirksburgers, plus the restaurants at Town and Country,


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Posted by Really.
a resident of Barron Park
on May 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Fisrt, Please quantify this statement you made:
"The air quality around this busy intersection is already heavily impacted from vehicle emissions, but has markedly worsened over the past year."


About scrubbers on all restaurants:
To do that would likely mean to shut them all down. Are you expecting a huge increase in hamburger joints to suddenly occur?
After we chase all our favorite restaurants out of town we can mandate scrubbers on our own kitchen exhausts and our backyard grills.
Oh yeah!

Thankfully, air quality changes with every passing breeze. Relax, its Summer time and you're going to have to smell cooking food and bbq's now and again. It will not end you or this world.


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Posted by Asthma Sufferer
a resident of Professorville
on May 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I agree with the resident concerned about the noticeable air pollution around this area. I recall a study on particulate pollution from char broiled food. The study estimated that you would have to drive a new diesel truck 143 miles to equal the mass of particles produced by char broiling one burger or 10 miles on an older model diesel truck.

It is clear (although not from the air) that restaurants with char broilers and wood burning brick ovens contribute significantly to our particulate emissions.


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