Decatur’s Air Quality Worst Along South Candler & Scott Boulevard; Ponce Thru Druid Hills Has Area’s Worst Air Quality

air quality decatur

airquality legend

Check out this cool new map.  You can look at air quality (aka “Particulate Matter levels”) around Atlanta down to the street level!  As the ARC notes on its website…

Understanding air quality at the neighborhood level is also important in addressing land use and site planning- particularly for schools where children are most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. It can also help us identify communities that are affected, but may be underrepresented in local decision-making.

Not too surprisingly, the air quality is best in residential areas away from major traffic arteries.   So Decatur Heights, Oakhrust and Winnona Park all look pretty good.  School-wise, College Heights, Oakhurst and Winnona Park have the best air quality.

The worst areas aren’t necessarily those that host the most traffic, but the areas where congestion is the worst.  Around Decatur that means the intersections along Scott Boulevard and South Candler fare the worst.   But they are nothing compared to how poor the air quality is along Ponce de Leon Ave between Moreland and Clifton in neighboring Druid Hills(as you can see above), which sees regular congestion during the work week and even often times on weekends.  The other pop of red of the map is at the intersection of North Decatur and Clifton, which sees substantial backups in the afternoons when Emory students and staff get out of work.

And of course, nothing in the Atlanta area compares to the poor air quality around the Connector downtown, especially north of downtown.  Yikes.

Take a look at Decatur and the larger metro region yourself and let us know what you see!

13 thoughts on “Decatur’s Air Quality Worst Along South Candler & Scott Boulevard; Ponce Thru Druid Hills Has Area’s Worst Air Quality”


      1. Let me help. View it in the context of this sentence: “Around Decatur that means the intersections along Scott Boulevard and South Candler fair the worst.”

    1. hopefully- but right now the electric cars are fueled mostly by coal based electric plants, which just shifts the poor air quality somewhere else…

  1. I think if you look back you will recall that Georgia DOT had a hand in this neglect when it proposed the Stone Mountain Freeway extension through these neighborhoods. This “freeway” would have been built through Druid Hills and connect SMF with what is now Presidential Parkway. The proposal was defeated and now we have freeway-volume traffic loads creating dangerous conditions on residential surface streets. The results of this neglect are shameful. Tom Moreland’s Phony Freeway is how I remember it being described. This is a problem on other area streets, too. Road diet on N. Druid Hills would exacerbate problems on Scott, LaVista and Briarcliff. There are simple ways to change driving behavior, including education, business cooperation, reduced speed limits, and enforcement. — Toml, Decaturmetro, 7/2/2013 (add pollution to “dangerous conditions”)

    1. The problem is not the lack of a new freeway through a residential neighborhood, rather uncontrolled development along Clifton by the CDC and Emory, as well a new apartments, WalMart and shopping center along the exit route to the 285. All of these have been opposed in my neighborhood (Chelsea Heights), but the County Commissioners are either deaf, don’t care, or somehow connected to the development. Even now a new hotel is being proposed along Scott, and existing CDC plans include an additional few thousand parking spaces on their campus – making the traffic even worse. After N. Decatur is completely blocked all hours of the day, and all the kids in our neighborhoods have asthma, then this will all of a sudden be a big issue and we’ll have new tax increases to fix the problems WalMart, Emory, the CDC, and the owners of the shopping center caused.

      But that’s the American Way, right? The rich get richer and the poor pay for the infrastructure to support their wealth. Here’s a thought – no new construction at Emory and along Scott! Is anyone listening???

      1. Forcing no new construction in areas where fairly intense development is presently allowed would constitute a taking of development rights. The resulting litigation alone would be no less a burden on the poor than the present system. The best shot DeKalb has, IMO, is to further fine tune their vision and zoning to better deliver the kinds of outcomes that broaden housing and mobility options and put more commercial and recreational amenities within walking distance of residents.

    2. I’m confused by your comment. Are you saying that the air quality issues around Decatur and Druid Hills are due to NOT having a freeway running right through them? Because if you look at the overall Metro ATL map, the worst air quality is around the freeways.

      I found it interesting that the stretch of Ponce between Fernbank and Oakdale was showing up on the map, until I remember the old adage that at Paideia they have smoking lounges for both the teachers AND the students, which explains everything.

      1. Just stating that little has been done to effectively address a long-recognized situation. I’m for park-it, not pave-it.

  2. I wonder if adjusting the timing of the traffic light would help air quality at the portion of S. candler near College Avenue–I frequently have to sit through several light cycles even at non-peak times and the idling cars can’t be good for the people who live in the houses along that stretch (or Agnes Scott students).

    1. Wait until the new articulated MARTA buses are rolled out. They will have software that changes the lights in their favor. Perhaps drivers will form pace lines to follow them through intersections rather than changing lanes to avoid their frequent stops.

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