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Light Rail in the Valley

December 22, 1987

Opposition to a rapid transit system for the Valley by homeowner groups appears to be that of primarily affluent homeowners versus moderate- and low-income people, who are dependent primarily upon public transit. These Valley homeowner groups have succeeded in blocking the development of any type of public mass transit for the San Fernando Valley. They claim such a system is noisy and aesthetically unappealing. Furthermore, they state that since many of them use their cars as part of their employment, they have no need of any type of public transit system and, therefore, it would be of no benefit to them.

These opponents of a rapid transit system have an extreme case of tunnel vision. They forget that not everyone can afford to own an automobile or is able to drive. For the young, the elderly, the handicapped and the poor, public transportation is their only means of getting to school, to work, to the doctor, to the market to do their shopping and so forth. Without public transit, many of these people would have no alternative but to go on welfare.

These homeowner groups do not realize that the more cars there are on the road, the greater the level of congestion. The greater the level of congestion, the longer it will take to get from Point A to Point B. As it is, congestion is pretty bad. Just imagine rush hour traffic all day long. That is exactly what will happen if we depend primarily upon the private automobile for our transportation needs.

Also, the roads are in such poor shape that they need to be rebuilt more frequently than they should. This is due to the heavy vehicular traffic that many of these roads now carry. The sheer volume of traffic makes it impossible to completely close down many of these streets for necessary repairs. All that can be done is to patch the worst areas. The situation will only get worse as the volume of traffic increases.

The San Fernando Valley has one of the worst smog problems in the Los Angeles area. The situation will only get worse if we do not build an effective rapid transit system. Relying on the private automobile will only make matters worse. The poor will be not be driving newer cars that pollute less. They will continue to drive the older vehicles they now have. These produce more pollutants even when they are well-maintained.

These homeowner groups hope that by not building an effective rapid transit system, they can effectively put a freeze on new development in the San Fernando Valley. This will not stop new development. An effective rapid transit system, along with sensible planning, is the only real alternative.


Van Nuys

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