Editor's note: Rossmoor Homeowners Association President Gary Stewart sent the following letter to Los Alamitos Unified School District Board of Education President David Boyer and Superintendent Sherry Kropp. Stewart calls on school district leaders to protect the health of students by opposing the proposed truck terminal in Cypress at the Los Alamitos border on Katella Avenue.
The Rossmoor Homeowners Association is deeply concerned about the potential health and safety risks that would affect students at the Los Alamitos Unified School District as a result of the proposed Prologis warehouse in Cypress. RHA hopes that the school district joins us in opposing this project as it is current designed. Such a massive industrial facility has no place in a neighborhood that has residential streets, churches, a nursing home, a hospital, a large park and many restaurants, all of which would be negatively affected by the project. But it is the schools and their students and staff that we are most concerned about.
The few details that have been disclosed about the project make it clear that it will cause a dramatic increase in the amount of heavy truck traffic on one of the busiest pedestrian routes that students use to get to various campuses in our community.
The 33-acre site for the proposed 177,000 square foot warehouse is on the north side of Katella Ave., east of Enterprise Dr., just inside the border of Cypress. We believe it is particularly cynical that the city would place this development on its border with all of the traffic headed immediate into the adjacent city of Los Alamitos and your school district.
Neither Cypress nor Prologis have so far defined how many truck trips would occur each day. However, we believe that the facility is likely to generate as many as 3,596 trips per day, which would mean hundreds of trips per hour along current school crossings. A significant increase in diesel emissions would occur, as well, concentrated along the very route where students are now walking.
We base this estimate on a South Coast Air Quality Management District model that was created specifically to estimate truck traffic at warehouses. Even using the smallest potential parameter of the AQMD model, there would be at least 123 truck trips per day or 10 per hour during a 12-hour working day. We are happy to share the details of that model and our estimate with you.
It is our belief that hundreds of your students cross Katella Avenue every day to attend Oak Middle School and Los Alamitos High School, many at the intersection of Wallingsford Road. The intersection is already very busy, requiring students to cross seven lanes of traffic. The school district’s concern for that intersection has led it to station a crossing guard there.
The potential hazards will clearly increase for every student and particularly handicapped students when big rig trucks with much longer emergency stopping distances than passenger vehicles will be barreling down the road in rapid succession.
There are many important questions to answer. How many handicap students currently cross Katella? How many of your students already have a diagnosed condition of asthma? How much would respiratory ailments be exacerbated if the students are exposed to large amounts of small particulates while walking to school and sitting in classrooms near the truck routes?
Depending on the prevailing winds, residents of Leisure World, College Park West, Park Estates, El Dorado Park Estates, and Hawaiian Gardens will also be breathing an excess of diesel exhaust. The owners and employees of area businesses and their customers, and anyone passing through, will pay a price for time spent in our neighborhood.
We are raising these concerns because our residents comprise one of the largest student populations in your schools and our community has the largest number of your campuses within our borders. We believe Rossmoor shares a unique and close tie to the district, not only in our physical proximity to your schools but in the support we provide to the district. The RHA is a volunteer organization, representing more than 1,000 dues paying households in the Rossmoor community and has financially supported the school district through the nonprofit LAEF.
We believe it is important that we closely monitor this project, even if we fail to completely stop its development. While it will be impossible to mitigate all the impacts on our community from the diesel exhaust, noise and safety problems, we must still be aware that the project could be amended in ways that limit some of the worst impacts. We hope to explore those issues with you and coordinate our efforts.
Rossmoor Homeowners Association