Professor Anthony V. Alfieri, Dean's Distinguished Scholar, Director of the Center for Ethics and Public Service, and Founder of the Historic Black Church Program, has taken up the call with residents of West Grove to try to halt the construction of large trolley garage adjoining a single-family home residential neighborhood. Professor Alfieri, with Zachary Lipshultz, a Post-Graduate Fellow with the Environmental Justice Project, and and Dr. Steven Lipshultz, a Professor of Pediatrics and the George E. Batchelor Pediatric Cardiology Endowed Chair at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, have been providing those opposing the construction with valuable medical-legal research and raising awareness through meetings and rallies.
In a forthcoming salvo in an opinion piece for The Miami Herald, they point out the public health concern caused by exposure to diesel fumes from having a 12-bay garage housing the current fleet of six Coral Gables trolley cars located in a residential neighborhood and the seeming injustice of moving the garage from its present location in an industrial area in Coral Gables into a predominantly black, low-income neighborhood in the City of Miami.
They write: "The recent protests of Coconut Grove and Coral Gables homeowners in opposition to the City of Miami's decision to approve construction of a new Coral Gables Trolley garage in the West Grove raise important public health and environmental justice concerns. For the West Grove, a predominantly black, low-income neighborhood, the protests arise against the historical backdrop of decades-long racial discrimination, municipal neglect, and Jim Crow segregation. Indeed, during the 1960s, the City of Miami operated a noxious incinerator – "Old Smokey" – in the West Grove closely abutting homes and schools. Now, years after Florida courts ordered the incinerator shut down as a public nuisance, the City of Miami again seeks to impose the social costs of polluting facilities on the West Grove without any concern for the public health of the community."
To read more about the trolley garage dispute, click on the links below: