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Looking down the road on growth

July 04, 2007

Re "Near the rails but on the road," June 30

This article failed to emphasize the projected 6.3 million more people expected to be living in the five-county area of Southern California in the next 30 years. Thus, growth is inevitable. The policy emphasis should be to place growth -- both residential and employment -- near public transit opportunities.

What should be clear, however, is that with millions more people living in Southern California, traffic congestion in the region will most assuredly be worse for many.

As individuals, however, we can make a choice to live near transit portals or close to where we work. This is why the thousands of dwelling units being built and planned at transit centers and downtown are a wise decision.

The alternative is to build suburban developments exclusively. This option has gotten us to where we are now -- automobile-dependent with a ruinous quality of life.

JOEL B. MILLER

West Los Angeles

The writer is city planner and vice president of Psomas, a Los Angeles-based civil engineering and planning firm.

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I wish planners would stop claiming that transit-oriented development will reduce traffic. It never has and never will. In desirable urban areas, traffic goes down only when the costs of gasoline, parking, tolls, etc. go up.

Road traffic will continue to increase everywhere that congestion hasn't already ground it to a near halt. We will need another way to get around town. How many people initially use each new section of a comprehensive rail system that will take decades to build is immaterial. Transit-oriented is "the best way to avoid a traffic meltdown" because someday soon, for many people, driving is no longer going to be a viable option.

TODD BINKLEY

Ventura

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If our rails do not serve enough job centers, let's complete the centerpiece project we were promised by Proposition A in 1980 [a voter-approved countywide rail transit system financed by a half-cent increase in the sales tax in L.A. County]: the Wilshire subway.

ROGER CHRISTENSEN

Sherman Oaks

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