I'm a big fan of Ray Bradbury's writing, but he's mistaken if he thinks monorails are a magic, futuristic solution to L.A.'s transit problems (Current, Feb. 5). Single-rail trains have been rejected by planners almost without exception because an elevated train costs the same whether it uses conventional tracks or a monorail. Monorails, however, can't run on the ground, even when an existing right of way is available. Think how much the Gold Line or Blue Line would have cost if every mile of track and every station had to be elevated. Monorail is also slow, limited in capacity and incompatible with existing systems.
I suggest Bradbury investigate Vancouver's Skytrain: an automated, modern looking, mostly elevated two-rail system that might be a very good inspiration for L.A. ... or his next novel.
Bradbury is right. An above-ground monorail would be an effective alternative to the expensive subways being proposed in our earthquake-prone city. Monorails should be built first on the existing infrastructure of the highway system. Imagine our freeways with monorails running down the median strips before branching off into the central business areas. This idea seems so obvious it makes one wonder what they were thinking back in 1963, or yesterday afternoon, with subway-only tunnel vision.
Marina del Rey