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Hollywood Subway

March 26, 2000

* A rail transit line's success is measured over decades, not by opening box office ("Hollywood Subway a Box Office Bust," March 19). Even our Long Beach Blue Line, the busiest single light rail line in the U.S. at nearly 60,000 boardings per day, counted only 19,000 per day six months after it opened in 1990.

DARRELL CLARKE

Santa Monica

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* On March 18, I read that the $7-billion Iridium satellite system will be shut down and scrapped because its 55,000 subscribers weren't enough to pay its way. This is described in the article as "one of the most costly . . . business debacles in history."

Now I read that the $4.6-billion Red Line subway is only being used by 60,000 people a day. Iridium officials have admitted that they made a mistake and they are shutting down to cut their losses. The MTA should show the same regard to the taxpayers. Maybe we can "de-orbit" the subway, too.

STAN SCHWARZ

Pasadena

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* I have recently taken a Metro Red Line tour from Union Station to Hollywood and was impressed with the punctuality, cleanliness and decor of all stations and trains. I anxiously await the opening of the North Hollywood stop so I, a San Fernando Valley resident, may have easy access to all of Hollywood and Los Angeles, by driving to the North Hollywood station and then "riding the rails." The key to ridership depends upon the parking situation at the North Hollywood terminus. Ample and secure parking will make the difference between my using the line and not.

Additionally, Metro access to Hollywood movie theaters and the Hollywood Bowl will require train availability on evenings after performances, as well as security in all trains and parking lots. I believe its success depends not so much on the feeder bus lines, but on the parking availability at the stations. I want this system to work; I want access to my city by subway.

JAN WINNING

West Hills

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* Subways are long-term projects. They take a long time to build and they are built to handle the crowds in the future. The subway in London was built 150 years ago and will continue in use for decades to come. I don't think the number of riders in 1865 is relevant to the number of riders it carries today.

The head count today is meaningless. Also the extensive capital costs of $250 million per mile have to be amortized over 150-200 years.

HAROLD L. KATZ

Los Angeles

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