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Letters to the Editor: Why monorails are good for Disneyland but not public transit in L.A.

405 Freeway
Traffic crawls along the northbound 405 Freeway in Westwood.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: As a longtime public transportation advocate and former governing official for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, I recall debates in the 1990s over serving the San Fernando Valley with a monorail, including over the Sepulveda Pass. (“Forget the monorail. L.A. needs a real transit line through the Sepulveda Pass,” editorial, Feb. 21)

The Times’ editorial touched on one of the two major stumbling blocks: A monorail would indeed not connect to the D Line subway extension (also known as the Purple Line) currently under construction.

The other stumbling block effectively kills any possible cost savings for a monorail: An operating mode that is not in use anywhere else in the region would require an entirely new maintenance yard, and there is hardly enough readily available land for such a large space. By comparison, the Sepulveda Pass subway would be able to use the existing Metro maintenance yard east of downtown L.A.

The monorail idea is a nonstarter. Anyone who thinks otherwise has visited Disneyland too many times.

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Kymberleigh Richards, Van Nuys

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To the editor: I find your criticism of a monorail through the Sepulveda Pass to be unreasonable. By your own acknowledgment, building a monorail would be both faster and cheaper, which makes your position akin to throwing the possible best solution under the proverbial train.

A Wilshire Boulevard stop would allow for connection to the D Line and UCLA, and it could easily stop at Pico Boulevard to intersect with the E Line (also known as the Expo Line) and continue farther south to LAX.

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Add in the boring of tunnels in the heart of earthquake country, the already available right-of-way down the middle of the 405 Freeway, and the use of solar to provide much of the power required to run trains, and the monorail appears to be the superior solution.

Joe Grauman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The Times’ opposition to a monorail on the 405 and support for a “subway” is premature and based on faulty assumptions.

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The Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn., for which I chair the transportation committee, supports a 405 monorail because it appears affordable within Metro’s budget, and because it offers a viable alternative to costly tunnel boring.

We strongly oppose the heavy rail concepts that are subways only on the Westside and under the Sepulveda Pass, but not in the San Fernando Valley. The noisy elevated trains operating in the Valley will destroy our residents’ quality of life and increase Sepulveda Boulevard traffic.

We support Metro’s two real subway concepts that operate underground in both the Valley and Westside, but we fear neither is affordable.

So, let Metro study an array of concepts to get the best, most equitable, truly affordable concept for this critical project. And let’s finally get the Valley its deserved fair share.

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Bob Anderson, Sherman Oaks

The writer is chair of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. transportation committee.


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