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'Great Streets' in L.A.: a work in progress

To the editor: Perhaps the most successful Great Streets program to date is in Washington. In 2006, I served on an Urban Land Institute panel that helped the nation's capital implement its Great Streets program. ("Mayor sets out to transform L.A. streets through 'urban acupuncture'," July 26)

Washington's Great Streets program serves as the template for the Los Angeles initiative. However, the former's program is much more ambitious than ours.

When then-Mayor Anthony Williams announced the Washington program in 2005, it was seen as a seven-boulevard, $100-million public-private initiative. The program has since expanded to 15 boulevards and $200 million, in a public-private partnership that is revitalizing neglected corridors.

Despite its more modest goals, the Los Angeles Great Streets program does offer hope for the 15 neglected boulevards, as long as a strong public-private partnership can be developed and sustained over time.

Philip S. Hart, Los Feliz


To the editor: The backers of the Great Streets program who are using Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice as an example of the success they are trying to achieve are overlooking the effect this "success" has had on the local neighborhood.

While the city enjoys the sales tax boom generated by the street, the impact on those of us who live nearby has been totally negative, with increased traffic congestion and an already impossible parking situation made worse. Plus, most of the businesses created don't cater to locals, few of whom can afford the "prices to rival Rodeo Drive."

To those residents looking forward to the creation of a "Great Street" in their neighborhood, my advice is to be careful what you wish for.

Manuel Katz, Venice

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