Readers React

L.A. is exactly the right place to ditch cars for biking, transit and walking — so why raise speed limits?

To the editor: The state Legislature’s reluctance to lower speed limits is not surprising, given that California includes many low-density areas where traffic congestion and pollution are not top priorities.

Less defensible is the lack of concern about this issue here in Los Angeles, where mild year-round weather conditions and thoughtful city planning projects make walking, biking and public transit attractive possibilities for getting around. Reducing speed limits would make such options even more tempting.

Still, too many in our community view transit, biking and walking as suitable only for poor people. We need to get the word out that, whatever your income bracket, you will be not just safer, but also more environmentally responsible, less stressed and less isolated from your fellow citizens if you explore Los Angeles without a car.

Virginia Wexman, Los Angeles

The writer is co-chair of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles Transportation Committee.

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To the editor: Not long ago so many people smoked because it was cool. Few people brought their own reusable bags to the grocery store, and we all let the water run while we brushed our teeth. Altering these behaviors was difficult, and driving at high speeds is no different. Here is what we must do.

First, ban car ads that emphasize speed. Cars are transportation vehicles, not toys for those seeking sexual adventure.

Second, broadcast public service announcements that emphasize the positive qualities of people who drive cautiously — they’re happier, sexier, more manly and socially responsible, to name a few.

Third, fine companies whose cars are built to exceed speed limits. Why make a family sedan that will easily go 120 mph when the speed limit is 65?

Bart Braverman, Indio

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To the editor: The state law disallowing radar-gun enforcement of speed limits on many streets in the absence of a recent traffic study was enacted to prevent local governments from posting artificially low speed limits in order to generate citation revenue.

Reducing speed limits helps no one. Southern California’s traffic congestion is horrible. When we have an opportunity to travel in free-flowing traffic, we take it because it means we can get to our destination sooner.

Coupling artificially low speed limits with congestion is not a solution.

Jim Rueff, Fountain Valley

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