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Without a good transit system, it’s cruel for Metro to consider congestion pricing

Without a good transit system, it’s cruel for Metro to consider congestion pricing
Morning traffic moves slowly along the 10 Freeway. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: That Metro now floats the idea of charging tolls to drivers based on congestion is no surprise to me.

For cities with robust public transit systems like New York, this idea makes sense. But it does not in Los Angeles, where we build luxury apartments near transit lines, have few parking structures by Metro train stations and lack adequate connections. It is difficult, time-consuming and sometimes dangerous to use public transportation.

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If we could drive to the station and park, more people would ride. If affordable housing were located near transit lines, more people would ride. If trains and buses ran on time and later into the evening, more people would ride.

But what we’re really talking about is a way for the wealthy to get around more easily in their cars. This is not a solution for those of us struggling with daily commutes.

Leda Shapiro, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: Bravo to Metro for considering congestion pricing to help alleviate the misery of our gridlocked city with the goal of using these funds to improve our public transit system.

We need to lure Angelenos out of their cars, which are inefficient for moving large numbers of people through a crowded city. Cars do not contribute one iota to the vitality of our urban spaces.

Please look at the insane amount of space devoted to cars: city roads that often resemble highways, parking lots that steal valuable space from more alluring development, and street parking that requires 180 square feet for one single auto. Compare that to the meager slivers of urban space given to pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users.

Getting out of your car is great for your physical and mental health and just what our warming planet needs.

Andrea Spatz, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: Remember the 1984 Summer Olympics? Peter Uberroth got businesses all over the area to stagger working times and delivery times, creating the fastest travel times here in memory. Drivers were not taxed.

Any politician who advocates effectively taxing drivers should be thrown out of office.

Ed Masciana, Torrance

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To the editor: I think a look at the history of the dismantling of L.A.’s Yellow and Red car rail lines, which together were considered the finest rapid transit system west of St. Louis, is telling.

Whether it was public ignorance, big business greed, political chicanery or a combination of all three, it was a tragic mistake to forgo clean, electric rapid transit (which served L.A., Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties) for cars, buses and freeways.

Now, L.A. drivers must pay for past mistakes. What else is new?

Rick Solomon, Lake Balboa

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