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Transit Solutions for Los Angeles

June 23, 1996

* Re " 'Rail First' Leaves Commuters Last," Commentary, June 17:

Councilman Marvin Braude persists in buying into a zero-sum argument on the perennial bus vs. rail controversy.

Given existing technology, buses must be a vital component of any workable transit system. All of the existing Metrorail lines cannot possibly fulfill their promise if bus routes don't serve as tributaries. Conversely, over longer distances, buses become bogged down in the overall surface-street gridlock. Yes, special-access lanes have been tried with varying degrees of success. But rail systems, when properly planned and executed, excel at getting a commuter from point A to point B without encountering an endless series of stoplights in between.

Voters recognized the need for transit alternatives, rail included, when they passed Propositions A and C. It's dismaying how politicians seem intent on refighting issues of public policy, as if this ground had never been gone over a decade and a half ago.


Santa Ana

* June 13 I was privileged to be invited to take a sneak-preview ride on the Wilshire segment of Los Angeles' subway. As a native of this much-maligned city, what I saw and experienced evoked a sense that I haven't felt in years. Dare I say it--civic pride. The architecture and the public art--inspiring both.

But what struck me most was a brief conversation I had with one of the Metro construction workers who asked what I thought. "Impressive," I said. "That's great to hear," he replied. "We've all worked so hard to make it happen." His pride made me feel proud, too.

Construction problems and political infighting aside, I say "bravo" to every man and woman who worked so hard to realize this vision. Thank you, too, for reaffirming my sometimes-shaken belief that things in Los Angeles really can get better.


Pacific Palisades

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