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Metro Rail Routing

May 26, 1991

A May 5 article concerning the routing of Metro Rail quoted me, but the quote did not reflect the extent of my concerns regarding the routing of Metro Rail. The city of West Hollywood is home to two of the most heavily traveled and congested streets in Southern California: Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. In addition, we have large numbers of seniors and recent immigrants who are heavily dependent on public transit. Despite this, the proposed route for Metro Rail makes no provisions to serve our residents. The recent decision by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) to proceed with a Pico Boulevard alignment was made for purely political reasons with no regard to the needs of Westside residents.

After the Wilshire alignment was abandoned due to the methane gas problem, LACTC officials began to study alternative routes to serve the Westside. The LACTC conducted preliminary studies of alternative routes, including a route along Santa Monica Boulevard. The preliminary study by LACTC indicated that the Santa Monica route would save more people than the Pico route. In addition, the Santa Monica route would be cheaper to build, an important consideration given the cost overruns which have already plagued the Metro Rail project.

Despite this, LACTC officials refused to even complete their studies of the alternative routes for the Westside. They chose the Pico alternative to "keep Congressman (Julian) Dixon happy," in the words of one LACTC staff member. While I recognize that Rep. Dixon has been an important force in securing funding for the Metro Rail project, the decision of how to serve the Westside with Metro Rail should be based on the demonstrated needs of the residents and businesses in the area. The people of the Westside communities deserve a route that makes the most sense from a transportation and fiscal standpoint, not a route based on political considerations.

JOHN HEILMAN

Mayor, West Hollywood

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