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Calamity Developing

September 15, 1986

A calamity with possible lethal consequences is developing along La Cienega between Third Street and Beverly Boulevard, and no one seems able to stop it.

The Beverly Center was built without any widening of La Cienega, Third or Beverly, and the result has been frequent gridlock, which is particularly dangerous because access is thereby blocked to nearby Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Now two more (although smaller) shopping centers are nearing completion along Third Street within a hundred feet of the intersection, and construction is well under way on a hotel one block to the north. The latest development is the ground breaking for yet another shopping center on La Cienega, across from the Beverly Center. And all of this is being done without any provision for increased traffic flow.

Even if it passes, the no-growth initiative on the November ballot will be too late to affect this situation, and in any event the initiative is probably unnecessary. No one, for example, opposes new housing on the grounds that it will create too many toilets. The government simply requires adequate sewer lines. Why can't the city require adequate traffic flow?

When their jobs are threatened, as in the recent redistricting crisis, the members of our City Council scramble to the emergency with alacrity and effectiveness, but when public safety is at stake, they become ineffective and lethargic.

Sooner or later (if it hasn't happened already), someone is going to die in an ambulance stalled in traffic a few hundred yards from Cedars-Sinai, someone who would have lived had he gotten to the hospital in good time.

When this tragedy occurs, I hope each member of our City Council will be held personally responsible.


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