Readers React: If L.A. wants better mobility, more people need to give up driving
To the editor: Bruce Feldman criticizes Los Angeles’ mobility plan for increasing the number of dedicated bus and bike lanes on major thoroughfares, while asserting that he and others would gladly leave their cars at home if only there were a robust light-rail or subway system. (“Mr. Mayor, L.A. is not Stockholm,” Op-Ed, Aug. 19)
He says buses should arrive every three to seven minutes. Yet without dedicated bus lanes, how could that possibly happen?
We could have the extensive public transportation network we all want if huge numbers of new buses and bus lanes were introduced at the same time as, say, a congestion charge to persuade folks to make the switch.
Why should we spend billions of dollars expanding the subway when a huge fleet of modern buses flying down half-empty Sunset and Venice boulevards could be had for less? What if Los Angeles improved traffic by using its extraordinary existing road infrastructure in an intelligent way?
While Los Angeles is not the only major city in the world with horribly congested streets, we are certainly the spiritual home of gridlock. Who better than us to show that decades of overreliance on roads can become a source of strength?
Rick Thompson, Irvine
To the editor: Here in Studio City, one traffic lane was replaced by a bicycle lane on the east side of Vineland Avenue north of Ventura Boulevard a month or two ago. The same thing happened on the west side of Vineland a week or two ago.
What was six-lane Vineland is now down to four lanes. I drive on this newly congested street a couple of times a day, and I have seen a total of three bicyclists — three! — since all this started.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions — and with bicycle lanes on each side of the pavement. Just who is running City Hall, the Sierra Club?
John Marshall, Studio City
To the editor: Feldman mentions that 2% of L.A. traffic is from bicyclists. If bicycles got their due, 2% of road space would be devoted to them, but we are far from that.
All evidence indicates that many more people want to bike but are intimidated by a lack of infrastructure. This evidence includes bike counts showing that new bike lanes increase the number of cyclists on the road, and by CicLAvia events routinely drawing crowds of 100,000 or more people.
Embracing safer transportation doesn’t mean giving up the unique character of Los Angeles; it means improving it.
Matthew Theisen, Los Angeles
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