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Letters to the Editor: L.A.’s fundamental traffic safety problem? Road users hate each other

A street crossing in Montclair.
A new law in California allows pedestrians to cross the street outside crosswalks without receiving a ticket. Above, a street crossing in Montclair.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: There are two missing parts to the kind of traffic partnerships that would make roads in Los Angeles safer for pedestrians — respect and responsibility. (“L.A. invented jaywalking tickets to serve cars. It’s time to give streets back to walkers,” Opinion, Oct. 9)

Having just witnessed heavy traffic in Paris, I noticed that pedestrians there don’t cross the street while using their phones. Car drivers allow buses room to switch lanes, and cyclists, motorcyclists and scooter riders all mix in with car traffic, so there is no temptation to speed or give the finger to a fellow traveler.

This arrangement seems to foster respect and responsible road behavior, which is sorely lacking in Los Angeles. Here, everyone seems to be in a huge hurry and has no regard for anyone using a different mode of transportation.

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L.A. could take a lesson from other cities on sharing their roads, which we don’t do well.

Nancy Freedman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Walking in Los Angeles, one cannot but notice that it is not a pedestrian-friendly city.

Compared with the walking experience in Washington, the thing I noticed immediately was the length of time it takes for the traffic lights to change. In the District of Columbia, it’s much shorter. Waiting a long time for a “walk” signal makes it unpleasant to walk; with a short signal, you get to your destination faster, and you have a nicer experience.

Perhaps we can have more streets set up that way in Los Angeles.

Joel Goodman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Being nostalgic for extremely congested, nonsegregated streets with respect to traffic does not justify the legalization of jaywalking.

Instead of making streets safer for drivers and people alike, California’s new law allowing pedestrians to jaywalk in certain situations will just encourage them to be more careless.

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Stewart Chesler, Granada Hills

The writer is a transportation planner.

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