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Opinion

Readers React: New Metro rail lines won’t end L.A. traffic woes

To the editor: This is progress, as L.A. takes strides in actually creating a coherent public transit system. (“L.A.'s not-quite ‘subway to the sea’ finally breaks ground,” Nov. 7)

As one who worked extensively on rail transit in Boston, I find it heartening to see the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority step up to the plate in a proactive fashion. But like in Boston, we in L.A. should not expect a significant decrease in automobile traffic even with new transit lines starting service.

As a former member of the Metro Expo Line Urban Design Committee, I believe the main contribution more rail lines will make in Los Angeles will center on the current debate about higher density around transit stations and astute leveraging of transit corridors.

Philip S. Hart, Los Feliz

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To the editor: It’s not about who you serve, it’s how many. Wilshire Boulevard, with its miles of high-rise office buildings and apartment complexes, has always been the obvious path for a westbound subway, which should have been built 30 years ago.

Alas, the methane issue was used as a pretext to kill the Wilshire subway. Even back then, major construction projects worldwide went up where there were methane deposits. Engineers knew how to handle it.

The article doesn’t mention Beverly Hills’ disingenuous fight against the subway. Since it and other interests stalled construction decades ago, traffic has gotten worse and will continue to get worse.

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As the old saying goes, you can’t get there from here.

Ken Hense, El Segundo

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To the editor: As a fellow resident of Marina del Rey, I agree with Paul Zimmelman that the future of Metro’s rail system is fantastic. But his assessment of the current rider experience is too grim. (“The sad state of Metro’s subway system,” Readers React, Nov. 8)

The nearby Expo Line, which I ride, is pretty good. The cars are regularly swept, the trains run on time and there is a camaraderie among the riders.

The other day, a young man listening to music on his earphones stood up by the door and dropped his keys in the aisle. Several of us tried to rouse him, but finally someone grabbed the keys and jingled them in front of his eyes. He immediately took out his earphones, apologized and smiled a thank you at all of us.

I love riding the Metro, and I wish more people did. Most people who don’t love riding it don’t actually ride it.

Carol Mitchell, Marina del Rey

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