To the editor: For too long, Los Angeles has myopically pursued a policy of prioritizing motoring convenience at the expense of anyone outside a car. ("An L.A. transit plan with vision," editorial, Aug. 11)
This approach has created unsafe conditions that lead to around 200 people — almost half of them walking or bicycling — being killed in traffic collisions every year in Los Angeles. It has punished those whose disabilities or economic circumstances prevent them from owning or driving a car.
I am pleased that Los Angeles' new Mobility Plan seeks to lift us out of this rut through complete streets that provide safer conditions for everyone and dedicate space to the types of travel (buses, bikes) that can move large volumes of people most efficiently. Indeed, as numerous safety studies have shown, the simple act of adding a bike lane where previously people on bikes had to ride in the same lanes as cars, or shortening the distance someone on foot has to travel to cross the street, or making it harder for a driver to whip around a corner into a crosswalk, can prevent accidents and save lives.
In Los Angeles, we are starting to see the possibilities of a multimodal city. It is encouraging to see the City Council commit to taking the steps needed to ensure this progress continues.
Niall Huffman, Los Angeles
To the editor: When my wife and I visited Shanghai in the mid-1980s, it was a city of 12 million people with 4 million bicycles and only a handful of cars. Today it is a city of more than 20 million people and millions of cars. You have to look hard to find a bicycle.
The late UCLA political scientist James Q. Wilson once observed that the automobile was the most convenient form of transportation ever devised by man. One is free to use it whenever one wants and to go wherever one wants with both passengers and packages.
Unlike China, L.A. city leaders have apparently ignored those advantages in their latest war on the automobile.
David Fleming, Studio City
To the editor: It's certainly important for Los Angeles to encourage bicycle trips, walking and taking mass transit by having street designs that make the city safer. Fixing potholes, sidewalks and streets is critically important, but nowhere in the story is there even a hint that public health injury prevention experts have been consulted. There is a whole field devoted to preventing injuries, including those related to transportation.
There is a body of research on testing strategies and evaluating the designs of streets and bike lanes. Yet our city officials have not mentioned injury prevention as they plan and rethink the city road.
Billie Weiss, Los Angeles
The writer is a retired associate director of the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health.
To the editor: I give City Councilman Mike Bonin credit for creating a strategic plan on his ideas for transportation in Los Angeles. However, municipal governments consistently fail at proactive measures, and this won't be an exception.
Mobility Plan 2035 will frustrate and anger those individuals who work for a living because they must drive a car to provide for their families. These are people who vote in city elections: nurses, doctors, paramedics, teachers, firefighters, police officers and government employees.
This government plan is as likely to be successful in getting people out of their cars as another government plan was in getting Charlton Heston to give up his firearms.
Ken Keller, Valencia