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How smart growth in cities can boost public transit

To the editor: The increase in more mixed-use and walkable neighborhoods is another factor changing the way Angelenos get around. Mixed-use development locates goods and services within walking and biking distance from where people live and work, decreasing the need for long-distance travel by car or transit. ("L.A. has hit peak mobility. We need to get used to staying put," Opinion, March 2)

My firm's recent research report “Moving California Forward” documents how mixed-use development and smart growth can save the average California family $2,000 per year in travel costs while saving local governments $18.5 billion in cumulative infrastructure costs, both by 2030. Concentrating new development within existing urban areas also lowers the cost of providing first-class public transit.

People will always want to venture beyond their neighborhoods. Given Los Angeles' worst-in-the nation traffic, transit provides the best option for meeting this need. Building more roads just draws more drivers onto the road until congestion clogs them again.

Chris Busch, San Francisco

The writer is director of research at Energy Innovation Policy & Technology LLC.

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To the editor: I enjoyed Robin Rauzi's piece on the false choice between transit and automobiles for commuting to work. She notes that many people are choosing to stay put by working at home or using car- or bike-sharing services.

Readers may remember that during the 1984 Olympics, all locals were asked to curtail unnecessary car trips to allow athletes the chance to get to and from the event locations. The result? The streets and highways were clear all day, everyday, proving that a majority of trips in L.A. were unnecessary.

Perhaps the general populace has finally waken up to that reality.

Larry Butler, Studio City

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