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The Valley is a transit wasteland because of NIMBYism, not Metro's neglect

The Valley is a transit wasteland because of NIMBYism, not Metro's neglect
A Metro Orange Line bus at the North Hollywood station. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In its coverage of the recently approved Van Nuys light rail project, the L.A. Times paints a picture of San Fernando Valley communities that have yearned for rail but have been “neglected” by Metro. Only deep into the article do we read that until recently, building any light rail in the Valley was illegal under state law.

The Robbins bill was passed in 1991 at the state level at the behest of vocal community groups that opposed Metro’s plan to build light rail along what became the Orange Line busway. Portraying the Valley as “neglected” ignores the fact that it had an opportunity to build light rail as early as 1990.

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I support transit, but it’s upsetting to see The Times brush over the anti-transit organizing that has characterized Valley communities for decades. These areas did everything in their power to block new rail development. They made their bed, and now they should lie in it.

Sheehan Parker, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Metro says it ditched the plan to put 2.5 miles of the proposed route underground because it would double the $1.3-billion cost of the project and save only two minutes of transit time.

Will Metro please tell us how much money could be saved if a dedicated bus route was used instead of fixed rail? Given all of the logistical, traffic and safety issues of running a light-rail line down a major thoroughfare, is this project really necessary or simply a political move?

Alan Coles, Long Beach

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To the editor: Kudos to Metro for approving the revival, after 60 years, of the Pacific Electric rail system to the East San Fernando Valley.

Now if the committees involved will think this through, they will plan a trench-like right-of-way for the light-rail line so that major street crossings can allow vehicular traffic to maneuver intersections without rail interference and vice versa.

Check out European light rail lines on YouTube and gather ideas — it’s less costly than sending a group to other countries to visit their transit systems.

Morley J. Helfand, Arcadia

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