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Opinion

Opinion: If the slow Expo Line indicates our transit future under Measure M, vote no

Expo Line
An Expo Line train cuts across traffic on La Cienega boulevard, heading east toward downtown Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: One question unaddressed in The Times’ report of Metro’s transit plans if the Measure M half-cent sales tax increase passes is whether we will get a state-of-the-art transit system. If the Expo Line is the future, the answer is no. (“L.A.'s traffic battle plan: More rail, but also Uber, bicycles, cars and a lot more dense development,” Oct. 31)

Rather than a train that rapidly transports passengers from Santa Monica to downtown L.A., what we have instead is a streetcar at points. Failure to elevate the line throughout results in a crawl near USC and beyond. 

Then there is the matter of stoplights. Astonishingly, the train often is not given priority over traffic and must stop for the lights. And when it crosses a number of busy intersections at ground level, cars back up. 

If this is the best planners can do, we should be leery about allocating news monies for dubious transit.

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Bennett Ramberg, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Global warming is an existential threat, and the U.S. is the world’s second-largest producer of greenhouse gases. This year, the biggest source of global-warming pollution in the country is transportation. 

Any conversation about traffic in Los Angeles — or anywhere — should start there.

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The infrastructure decisions we make about transportation today will affect us for decades, and they must move us toward a liveable future. As transportation users, as citizens and as parents and grandparents, we must make those decisions with an eye to the true costs, not just the costs that can be described in a ballot summary. 

Susan Rakov, Santa Barbara

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To the editor: I am 73 and have relied solely on public transportation to navigate Los Angeles. The system has indeed improved enormously since the days where there were no smartphone apps to offer real-time schedule information, no Metro Center station in downtown L.A. and, of course, no subways. 

Using the L.A. system has provided an additional bonus: I am now “public transit literate” for any city, whether in the U.S. or abroad. 

I can only hope that Measure M passes, but I worry about all the newbies who don’t understand the need for a helmet when using the bike-share program and the ongoing confusion over navigating Metro’s fare system. These issues need to be addressed immediately.

Ruth Kramer Ziony, Los Feliz

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To the editor: Measure M provides no funding for incentives to encourage cyber-commuting.

Hundreds of thousands of typical office jobs could be done at home, even for one day per week. All it takes is organization and planning by participating businesses, encouraged by tax breaks or other monetary incentives. 

Cyber-commuting is a relatively cheap and easy way to keep more cars off the roads.

Tom Morrison, Northridge

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