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Will a Short CenterLine Work, or Is It Neither Here nor There?

September 22, 2002

Re "In Short, Rail Plan Approved," Sept. 10:

I'd like to thank Orange County transportation leaders for forgetting that there's life, not to mention commuters, north of the Santa Ana Freeway. Their revised route for the proposed light rail line is as idiotic and utterly useless as a train line from Los Angeles to Honolulu. As it stands now, the rail line would serve only 415,000 residents.

The line would connect with only one of the five transportation centers that would be included under the previous plan. Among those was the Anaheim Transportation Center, located within a few miles of Disneyland, not to mention Edison International Field, the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim and the Anaheim Convention Center.

And all this because a few precious Irvine residents don't want the train running near their homes.

Oh, stop it, I'm getting misty.

John McElligott Jr.



Our Orange County Transportation Authority officials are finally showing they understand that light-rail public transit must take people to and from places with high origin and destination traffic counts to even begin to be successful.

It has taken far too long to get to this point, at a cost of millions of dollars in studies and outreach programs. Although the Irvine Transportation Center is a hub for Metrolink and Amtrak and the Spectrum, it could never have generated sufficient trips to warrant the cost of light rail service, at least for many, many years.

Irvine City Hall as an origination/destination point was almost laughable. UCI and John Wayne Airport together with South Coast Plaza and major points in Santa Ana finally make the system one that has viable origin and destination points along its entire route. Now maybe we can get on with truly determining the viability and cost-effectiveness of a light-rail system in Orange County.

Lawrence Gunther



I often wonder if the public officials who so vociferously promote projects like CenterLine have ever used mass transit themselves on a regular basis.

While living on the East Coast, I commuted to work and school on just about every form of mass transit available: bus, train, subway, trolley and light rail. Since moving to California, I happily have not set foot on mass transit and have commuted exclusively by car.

In my car, I have a good idea of the criminal record and intent of those who ride with me; that isn't the case on mass transit. In my car, I have some control over the odor of those who ride with me. I control the time of departure, the temperature and the music. I can eat and drink what I want, and always sit down.

In my car, I have a seat belt and air bag to protect me, and don't have to stand exposed to the elements before boarding my car. My car operates 24 hours a day and smells nice.

For these and other reasons, the worst day in a car on an Orange County highway still provides a superior commuting experience than the best day current or proposed mass-transit systems can ever hope to offer.

Robert Tatar



I'm glad to see that NIMBYism is alive and well behind the Orange curtain.

I can appreciate that the residents of Irvine who opposed the CenterLine project likely did so because of the noise and congestion that construction would entail, in addition to noise produced by the trains once they begin running.

But those residents ought to consider that 600,000 people means more cars on Orange County freeways, many of which are state highways with only two lanes in either direction. If people moved to Orange County to escape urban congestion, I can't fathom that people would prefer to sit in traffic on freeways that can't accommodate the volume.

I can only hope that when those additional people arrive and turn every freeway into a parking lot, some hypocrite doesn't turn around and say, "Hey, let's extend CenterLine to connect more of the county."

David A. Thaler

San Diego

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