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Carolyn Konheim, Foe of All That Befouled a City, Dies at 81

Carolyn Konheim, whose sons’ soot-specked white snow fits reworked her from a highschool historical past trainer into a crusading New York environmentalist who focused water and air pollution, congested streets and different scourges of fashionable city life, died on Nov. 25 at her dwelling in Brooklyn. She was 81.

The trigger was issues of Parkinson’s illness and dementia, her husband, Brian Ketcham, stated.

The couple have been companions in Konheim & Ketcham, a consulting agency that ready environmental affect statements and carried out pollution-abatement surveys for governments and personal purchasers from 1981 to 2007.

They additionally volunteered their experience to civic teams involved in regards to the results of growth of their neighborhoods, working via a nonprofit group, Community Consulting Services, from 1993 to 2012.

In the mid-1960s, after she grew involved by the darkish flakes of ash raining onto her sons’ winter put on throughout their walks in Riverside Park in Manhattan, Ms. Konheim joined the nascent inexperienced motion, which had been galvanized largely by Rachel Carson’s seminal e book on environmental threats, “Silent Spring,” printed in 1962.

In 1964, Ms. Konheim turned a founder of Citizens for Clean Air, a groundbreaking New York environmental group, which helped persuade Mayor John V. Lindsay’s administration to cut back smokestack emissions, partly by imposing a surcharge on energy plant homeowners to discourage them from burning soiled gas oil. (Even so, two years later, New York City can be enveloped in what was known as a “killer smog” over the Thanksgiving weekend, leaving about 200 folks lifeless.)

Her advocacy led to appointments as assistant commissioner within the metropolis’s Department of Air Resources, from 1967 to 1971, and as regional director of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation below Gov. Hugh L. Carey, from 1976 to 1977.

In between, she headed a civic group that campaigned, unsuccessfully, to flip sections of Madison Avenue into a everlasting pedestrian mall, and ran the Scientists’ Committee for Public Information, an advocacy group whose agenda included vitality conservation, waste administration and water air pollution.

Ms. Konheim’s activism was broad and, at the identical time, targeted. She was a staunch opponent of Westway, the proposed federally-funded tunnel that may have been excavated below landfill within the Hudson River to interchange the rotting West Side Highway. She was a forceful advocate for improved mass transit, serving at one level as the primary chairwoman of the Permanent Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. And she was an early supporter of a congestion pricing levy that would have included tolls on all of the East River bridges. (By distinction the most recent proposed incarnation would have an effect on automobiles that enter Manhattan beneath 60th Street, apart from via visitors on the West Side Highway and Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive.)

Among the numerous private and non-private analyses carried out by Konheim & Ketcham, one assessed the growth of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital over the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive; others examined the town’s Solid Waste Master Plan and its Medical Waste Management Plan. All of these initiatives have been ratified.

Carolyn Salminem was born on Jan. 20, 1938, in Queens to Scandinavian immigrants. Her Swedish father, Carl, was an architect. Her Finnish mom, Irene (Ahti) Salminem, labored part-time at her husband’s agency.

After graduating from Bayside High School, she earned a bachelor’s diploma from Skidmore College in 1959 and a grasp’s from Columbia, each in historical past. She later taught historical past at White Plains High School in Westchester and the non-public Walden School in Manhattan.

In 1962, she married Bud Konheim, who later turned chief government of the vogue design firm Nicole Miller. They divorced in 1978. She married Mr. Ketcham, an engineer and a founder of the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, in 1984. They had met whereas she was working for the town. The couple lived within the Cobble Hill part of Brooklyn.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Alex Konheim, from her first marriage; her stepchildren, Christopher and Eve Ketcham; and two granddaughters. Another son, Eric Konheim, died in a kayaking accident in Utah in 1991.

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About Christopher Ahn

Christopher L. Ahn writes for Lifestyle and Travel Sections in AmericaRichest.

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