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Letters to the Editor: Close some L.A. streets to cars — but reopen hiking trails too

Hiking areas
Popular picnic and hiking locations in the Angeles National Forest such as the Switzer Falls Area are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Your support for closing of some streets to most automobile traffic so people can more safely get out to walk and jog is well taken. Implementing this proposal will also help mitigate a bad idea that your editorial misconstrues — the decision last month to close most local hiking trails.

As hikers can affirm, with the exception of Runyon Canyon and perhaps one other trail adjacent to the Griffith Observatory, all other trails were not crowded and have ample room for distancing.

These fantastic open spaces were fully available at the beginning of the crisis, they were not crowded, and they were more than wide enough for social distancing. A day before the trails were closed, I hiked six miles and counted eight other people over a period of almost three hours, none of whom got closer than 12 feet.

The complete closure is a useless waste of a much-needed resource.

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Michael H. Miller, Los Angeles

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To the editor: To create more safe space for pedestrians during the current crisis, the city of Los Angeles should open its 12 golf courses to the public for use for walking.

The crowding that led to the shutdown of trails and beaches demonstrated the huge shortage of parks in our communities. Until golfing is allowed again, why not allow all Angelenos to enjoy these large, beautiful places?

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Nancy Lewis, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Thank you for publishing this editorial. As an educator I see children and families struggling to adapt to an ongoing pandemic and enjoy exercise, nature and the outdoors safely.

Closing streets to cars would allow neighborhoods to sustain a sense of community during this period of social distancing and perhaps discourage neighborhood crime. Examples like those in Oakland show us possible ways to reinvent our streets.

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David Kelly, Los Angeles


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