Letters to the Editor: Prioritize people over cars? Only if transit prioritizes people too

A commuter waits at the Pershing Square station in downtown Los Angeles for a Metro Red Line train
A commuter waits at the Pershing Square station in downtown Los Angeles for a Metro Red Line train.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I agree with The Times Editorial Board that we should not prioritize cars over people. However, prioritizing people means that mass transit will have to be massively improved before it serves people as it should. That means reliable, frequent, clean and safe.

For example: You want to take a couple of children to the beach. There are no restrooms at Metro stations. On a drive you take the children to a nearby gas station when nature calls as it does to youngsters (and the elderly too).

Trapped on a bus or train, you’re on your own. That’s just one example.

Until mass transit prioritizes people, we the people will continue to prefer our cars.

Susan Borden, Los Angeles



To the editor: People who use cars are people. Ensuring that they do not park blocks away from home or work is a benefit to more people than just the driver.

Before you decree that reducing onsite parking requirements will get people out of cars, please explore some multi-family neighborhoods. Even buildings that comply with codes requiring one or two spaces per unit flood adjoining streets with cars, because more than one or two drivers per unit need a car to get to work. How will you change that?

Ah, but you want to focus on areas near transit. Have you seen the ridership statistics? Bus stops are plentiful, but people drive because they can get where they want in less time and to avoid the stresses that are constantly reported among transit riders.

If you sincerely believe that you can force people to ride transit, put the motivation and incentives on the developers and the government to make the system work before irrevocably altering the urban landscape. Once those high-occupancy, low-parking units are built, they will never go away, no matter how few people use public transit.

Don’t let developers profit unfairly by providing fewer parking spaces at the expense of the entire community, in perpetuity.

Bob Niccum, Buena Park



To the editor: Your editorial relies on the assertions that housing “near” transit doesn’t need parking and that parking requirements are “based on the idea that everyone will drive everywhere all the time.”

“Near” transit doesn’t always mean walking distance; different people have different ability and desire to walk a quarter-mile, especially when it’s raining or cold or they need to carry stuff.

Even if most people in a building are able to use transit or walk most places most of the time (which is unlikely since transit doesn’t go everywhere), there are still times they cannot. If they drive only on occasion, there’s even more need for dedicated parking, where their cars can sit for days between uses without needing to be moved.

Randall Gellens, San Diego


To the editor: You state that housing should be the state’s highest priority. I disagree. Water should be the state’s highest priority.

Without rational statewide water policies, we will not need any more housing because none of us will be able to live here anymore.


Mary Ellen Barnes, San Pedro