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Study the Options in Mass Transit Planning

June 30, 2002

Re "Improving Bus Service Vital" editorial, June 23:

When my plane landed at LAX last week from Denver, the stewardess announced, "You are now in Los Angeles, California, which means you will need a car." I knew exactly what she meant, having just experienced the excellent RTD Sky Ride bus service available throughout greater Denver and its surrounding cities.

I was able to board a bus three miles away in a city south of Denver and get to the airport traveling 35 miles through Denver, making five stops and arriving at the airport--exactly on time--in less than 70 minutes. Cost: $10 ($5 for seniors). The same trip by car would have taken almost an hour through heavy traffic.

June Maguire

Mission Viejo

*

The Times assessment of the need for Bus Rapid Transit in Orange County has merit, but the editorial ignores critical system issues.

There are several forms: One has buses sharing the roadway with other traffic; a second confiscates part of the roadway for dedicated bus use. The second might be a bit faster when traffic builds, but would increase congestion by reducing the capacity for normal and commercial traffic.

The cost difference for these alternatives is dramatic. If The Times is serious about wanting improved transportation for all, it should promote the first, less-expensive option. Less expensive means more service can be provided for more commuters. But even in the Orange County Transportation Agency's most optimistic projections, demand for transit will remain a small portion of our transportation needs.

The editorial gives the impression that public transit is not given adequate attention by OCTA. Nothing could be further from the truth. OCTA's Ten Point Strategy for the next 10 years allocates 60% of funds for transit. More than 90% of OCTA's operating budget is devoted to transit. Hardly an inadequate proportion for the few percent of transit riders.

David Mootchnik

Huntington Beach

*

We live in Capistrano Beach above the beach and the rail tracks. We enjoy looking at the trains going by. We understand the need for a second track system, yet also realize the danger of faster trains and vibration concerns for the bluffs.

As for the alternatives--second tracks, buried tracks, inland tracks--we have a compromise solution. Keep the track system that is in place between San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano for passenger trains. Create a second line around San Clemente to north of San Juan Capistrano inland for freight trains.

This would allow passenger trains to run on time and give better service. It would also preserve the present train stations and provide more safety for the beach-going public and the bluff system. This would also allow the freight system a safer and more on-time routing.

It is time to look at alternatives since the rail system is an asset to the people of California.

Henry and Leah Carlisle

Capistrano Beach

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