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

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

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

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

Additionally they volunteered their experience to civic teams involved concerning the results of improvement of their neighborhoods, working via a nonprofit group, Group Consulting Providers, from 1993 to 2012.

Within 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 ebook on environmental threats, “Silent Spring,” revealed in 1962.

In 1964, Ms. Konheim turned a founding father of Residents for Clear 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 Metropolis can be enveloped in what was known as a “killer smog” over the Thanksgiving weekend, leaving about 200 individuals useless.)

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

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

Ms. Konheim’s activism was broad and, on the identical time, targeted. She was a staunch opponent of Westway, the proposed federally-funded tunnel that may have been excavated underneath landfill within the Hudson River to exchange the rotting West Facet Freeway. She was a forceful advocate for improved mass transit, serving at one level as the primary chairwoman of the Everlasting Residents’ Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. And she or he was an early supporter of a congestion pricing levy that may have included tolls on all the East River bridges. (In contrast the newest proposed incarnation would have an effect on automobiles that enter Manhattan beneath 60th Avenue, apart from via visitors on the West Facet Freeway and Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive.)

Among the many many 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 town’s Stable Waste Grasp Plan and its Medical Waste Administration Plan. All of these initiatives had 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 Excessive Faculty, she earned a bachelor’s diploma from Skidmore School in 1959 and a grasp’s from Columbia, each in historical past. She later taught historical past at White Plains Excessive Faculty in Westchester and the personal Walden Faculty in Manhattan.

In 1962, she married Bud Konheim, who later turned chief govt of the style design firm Nicole Miller. They divorced in 1978. She married Mr. Ketcham, an engineer and a founding father of the advocacy group Transportation Options, in 1984. They’d met whereas she was working for town. The couple lived within the Cobble Hill part of Brooklyn.

Along with her husband, she is survived by a son, Alex Konheim, from her first marriage; her stepchildren, Christopher and Eve Ketcham; and two granddaughters. One other son, Eric Konheim, died in a kayaking accident in Utah in 1991.

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