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In Support of the Light Rail Proposal

November 05, 1989

Why is Susan Brown so vehemently opposed to the proposed Santa Monica light rail line? (Westside Letters, Oct. 15).

If her concern is about noise, this line, run below ground and covered by a park for the one mile between the Santa Monica Freeway and Sepulveda Boulevard, would be neither seen nor heard by its neighbors.

If her concern is really about solving traffic congestion, the Santa Monica light rail line, using the only remaining ground-level right of way to the Westside, is the most cost-effective alternative to the intolerably congested Santa Monica Freeway. Residents of Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Palms, Century City, Crenshaw and many coming from the Eastside of Los Angeles to the Westside, will be easily able to get to downtown Los Angeles, USC, Exposition Park, Culver City, Century City, UCLA, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

Ms. Brown's "experts" argue that rail is "not effective" in our "decentralized and scattered" city, and that buses are more effective. But what is more effective, a fleet of diesel buses stuck in traffic, or electric light rail on its own uncongested right of way serving this densely traveled corridor?

Are there any other good alternatives? No. The Wilshire subway is too expensive to be built any decade soon. Double-decked freeways are even more expensive, ugly and, now, an unacceptable earthquake risk. Compulsory car-pooling and requiring employees to pay for parking, the other favorites of Ms. Brown's "experts" who she chooses not to mention, may make economic sense but would be about as popular as the 1970s' infamous Diamond Lane.

When people in Los Angeles finally become familiar with riding light rail after the Long Beach line opens next year, I expect a groundswell of support for this and other lines. It is vital that this one remaining Westside route not be lost in the interim.

DARRELL R. CLARKE

Santa Monica

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