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City Planning in Los Angeles

October 02, 1985

I was glad to see Dan Garcia's piece (Opinion, Sept. 15) on Los Angeles planning, and I'm very pleased that our planning process is being discussed in an open forum. I think it is one of the most important issues facing Los Angeles today, and I think nothing short of cooperation and attentive work on our part will square it.

When I designed the Los Angeles Coastal Transportation Corridor Specific Plan nearly two years ago I was thinking that we needed to find an acceptable common ground between development and transportation, for both are growing. I am now even more convinced that this is the right course.

Like all commuters, I am at times frustrated by traffic snarls and slow travel. My plan is founded on the rather basic belief that growth is vital to our economy but that it must be made consistent with our needs as human beings--a comfortable and satisfactory community life, and mobility being two of those needs. By requiring developers to make plans minimizing their project's traffic impacts on existing traffic conditions, we are well on our way to balancing economic demands with human ones.

As for the city's planning process, Garcia's article accurately pointed out that Los Angeles does indeed have a visionary master plan, and that it was developed through a comprehensive and exhaustive public procedure. I suppose a singularly loud voice would more quickly unify the differing needs of Los Angeles' diverse communities, but temperamentally I am more inclined to give as much say as possible to the people of Los Angeles, whom I have always found to be most astute and sensible about such things.

"Visions" imply evanescence, but in this instance that is just not so. Our planning "visions" must never lose sight of such immediate issues as smog, the jobs-housing balance, low-density neighborhoods, open space, effective waste management strategies, and, of course, traffic flow.

People tend to become involved with anything that is tangible, immediate, and local--like traffic flow--and because of that I am banking that together we can move Los Angeles forward with a style and innovation that is bold not just in intent but in design.

The quality of our lives--of future generations' lives--must be our ultimate goal and final success.

PAT RUSSELL

President

Los Angeles City Council

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