A Substitute For Metro Rail

May 25, 1986

C.K. Orski's curiously titled article "A Metro Rail Substitute Is On Line" (Editorial pages, May 18) displays a shocking ignorance of the journey-to-work travel needs of Angelenos. His "substitute" proposal omits access to the Wilshire Corridor, offers no rail crossings of the Santa Monica Mountains at Cahuenga Pass or Sepulveda Canyon.

For good reason every rapid transit plan since 1956 has included the Wilshire Corridor as the backbone line. More jobs are concentrated here than in any other part of the West; population density is 18,000 to 20,000 people per square mile. Orski apparently proposes to serve this vital area with an old rail freight line three miles south of Wilshire.

About half the work force of the San Fernando Valley (200,000 plus) is employed on the south side of the Santa Monica Mountains. Most of these commuters have a daily struggle to work via the heavily congested Hollywood and San Diego Freeways. The Metro Rail Starter line offers some initial relief for the Hollywood Freeway via its subway to North Hollywood. Does Orski know that this freeway bottleneck problem even exists?

By his own data Orski's Chatsworth/Burbank/Downtown line would have a total daily patronage of only 15,000. Is this a "substitute" for the estimated 250,000 daily patronage of the Metro Rail Starter Line? Incidentally, the Southern California Rapid Transit District has long considered using the western portion of this same line as its Valley extension from the North Hollywood station of the Starter Line.

Orski's amateurish plan looks like part of an effort to further delay the start of construction on Metro Rail with a proposal for more studies--on a plan that has had over 30 years of studies.

Metro Rail is ready to move on the first segment from Union Station to Alvarado as soon as UMTA releases its federal monies. Los Angeles needs the project badly to accommodate its rising population and increasing traffic congestion. More than 130 cities around the world have subways or are currently building them. We are among the last major cities to provide fast rail transportation for our commuters.


Los Angeles

Dr. Falick is Former Planning Economist, City of L.A.

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