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39 Queens Public Schools are Near Heavily Polluting Roads: Report

Hunter’s Point Community Middle School (Photo: Inside Schools)

Sept. 3, 2019 By Allie Griffin

As if lead paint inside classrooms wasn’t worrisome enough, a new report shows that 39 public schools across Queens are near heavily polluting roadways.

Booming residential development, coupled with overcrowded school districts has made it difficult to find spaces large enough to build new schools, often leading the city to build on less-than-desirable lots near heavily trafficked roads.

These busy roads can potentially expose children and educators to high levels of pollution and possible health effects.

According to a new analysis from home search platform, 244 public schools across the city are located within 500 feet of major highways and more are being built.

This week, P.S. 398 in Jackson Heights welcomes 476 students to a new $60 million five-story building that is just 200 feet from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, according to the study.

In general, pollution levels are highest in areas within 500 feet of major roads and prolonged exposure to vehicular air pollution is linked to negative health effects such as impaired lung development in children and increased cancer risk, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“When parents debate how to rank their child’s pre-K programs or elementary schools, they often pay attention to the quality of the teaching, what kinds of art and enrichment is available and whether there’s a nice outdoor playground,” said Liat Halpern, an urban planner at

“They might not pay attention to hidden hazards of air quality, even though pollution could have a big impact on their children’s ability to learn. After all, kids attend city schools 180 days a year, often running around at recess every day, breathing in the air — and potentially toxic fine particulate matter,” Halpern continued. “We think it’s important for parents to have this kind of information when they’re making decisions about where to live because often their choices are linked to nearby schools.”

A recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research hypothesized that students who switch to schools with higher levels of traffic pollution tend to experience declines in test scores, increased behavioral incidents and greater absences.

The EPA recommends reducing traffic-related pollution exposure by upgrading filtration systems in classrooms.

The 39 schools in Queens with pollution risk according to’s analysis are listed below:

1. P.S. 152 Gwendoline N. Alleyne School

2. J.H.S. 74 Nathaniel Hawthorne

3. George Washington Carver High School for the Sciences

4. P.S. 143 Louis Armstrong

5. P.S./I.S. 266

6. P.S./ IS 178 Holliswood

7. Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and the Sciences

8. Queens Preparatory Academy

9. P.S. 220 Edward Mandel

10. Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School

11. P.S. 206 The Horace Harding School

12. The Riverview School

13. Queens Academy High School

14. Success Academy Charter School – South Jamaica

15. P.S. 38 Rosedale

16. P.S. 159

17. High School for Arts and Business

18. Community Voices Middle School

19. Preparatory Academy for Writers: A College Board School

20. P.S. 79 Francis Lewis

21. P.S. 131 Abigail Adams

22. P.S. 196 Grand Central Parkway

23. The Gordon Parks School

24. P.S./I.S. 208

25. P.S. 143 Louis Armstrong

26. Excelsior Preparatory High School

27. Academy of the City Charter School

28. P.S. 124 Osmond A. Church

29. J.H.S. 216 George J. Ryan

30. J.H.S. 202 Robert H. Goddard

31. Maspeth High School

32. P.S. Q004

33. P.S. 377

34. Academy for Careers in Television and Film

35. Collaborative Arts Middle School

36. Francis Lewis High School

37. Hunters Point Community Middle School

38. Robert H. Goddard High School of Communication Arts and Technology

39. P.S. 251 Queens

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More silly hysteria based nonsense: Sounds like a friend of somebody (Bill, Chirlane or Dept. of Education) has an air filtration system they need to sell and this is the warm up article to bilk and defraud the taxpayers by Billions.
Air quality is a problem everywhere –What’s the air quality of the subway? These children, educators and let’s not forget the rest of US –we all live near or in “high levels of pollution and possible health effects.”


plant more trees, stop erecting so many buildings which brings more people and moves some people to certain areas promoting overcrowding.
Also, Jimmy Van Bramer just gave Lions Group a sweet deal for more air rights in exchange for putting a school and playground under the BQE overpass which runs through LIC.
HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANYONE HAPPY? What kind of a monster puts a playground under a highway overpass?
Shame on you JVB and supporters alike. You’ve been drinking the Kool Aid for too long and your precious pocket of Queens has been devoured by over development, stale glass towers and high prices. Your neighbors are gone because they either sold or have been priced out. The transient nature of the area continues to skyrocket because developers and certain firms alike don’t give a shit if you can’t afford to live there………I was sad to leave Astoria, and NYC overall. There is a sense of longing I have for beautiful NYC every single day. Mainly for food, culture, meeting new people, classic and some new architecture, being able to hop on a train and be in the center of the world in 20 mins. I miss a lot of amazing people who make that city what it is. What I will not miss is the lack of accountability and enforcement the city provides to make sure it’s character and longstanding residents can survive. You give billionaires tax breaks while the working man and woman who erected those stale ugly billionaire’s row towers is forced out of his home because of rapidly rising costs, increasing rents, and the fact wages do not keep up.


Tell me again why developers should give a shit if you (vs the next person with money) can live in the City?

Fake news

Trump said climate change is a hoax by China, do you really expect us to believe pollution exists?! That would make him an idiot!


It is a crowded city with lots of traffic. What do you want to do, bus all the kids out to the suburbs for school?
I’ll bet that every public school in Manhattan is near a heavily polluting road.

If you want less polluted roads:
(1) cut down on the ~150,000 ubers,lyfts,green cabs,yellow cabs that choke traffic 16 hours a day all over town or at least require most/all of them to be electric powered
(2) build out some public electric vehicle infrastructure so the average apartment dwelling NYC resident can have the option of an electric vehicle


Better still, provide New Yorkers with a safe, clean, modern, expanded and reliable subway system instead of a sclerotic, filthy, crowded, and decaying 20th century relic.


I don’t like the idea of being educated, the libruls are trying to get rid of future Trump voters

DR Susa

You forgot to add that this brand new school in Jackson heights is across a bar and a few minutes away from the strip club.

Also this new Jackson heights school will not have an increased in traffic and pollution will stay the same. Kids were already living in the area.


More hysteria.

“476 students to a new $60 million five-story building”

60 million bucks and they can’t even get 500 students in there??? Graft: it’s how the unscrupulous get rich in New York City!


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