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Re-imagining Wilshire

July 28, 2007

Re "Ban cars on Wilshire," Opinion, July 22

Michael Balter is on the right track, but he goes too far. Surface light rail from Western Avenue to the sea makes overwhelming economic sense, no matter how attractive a subway is. But completely closing off Wilshire Boulevard is too much. Better would be to limit Wilshire crossings to major streets such as Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Wilshire should still carry vehicles, but only one lane each way. This would enable access to alleys, parking lots, passenger drop-offs and local traffic circulation. Depending on their frequency, Purple Line trains could share an extra-wide promenade with pedestrians -- as in downtown San Jose. Alternatively, light rail could run down a dedicated center median, flanked by one-lane streets, sidewalks and bikeways or the Orange Line.

Kevin Crozier

Sun Valley

As a person who splits commuting between driving and taking public transit, and who has lived and/or worked near Wilshire for most of my life, I must say that I love Balter's idea of banning cars on Wilshire. I would like to add my two cents: Close off the smaller streets at Wilshire. The areas where the streets dead-end could be used for some kind of green space for park-poor neighborhoods. Additionally, residential-retail mixed-use developments could be created in certain neighborhoods, an added bonus being that the developments would raise money to pay for the new rail lines. Will everyone love it? No. Will some people spend all their time, energies and resources fighting it? Of course. Will it be the best thing for Los Angeles in the long run? Yes.



Silver Lake

Balter's transforming vision for Wilshire is certainly worth further exploration to flesh out the needed implementation details and to get a better estimate on the true cost, including the net effect on the L.A. economy. There also needs to be a bit more study on the effect on people in the immediate area, as well as the businesses that front Wilshire, plus the handling of the cross traffic and emergency-services access along the route. What a great idea -- is there anyone that can run with it?

Douglas Hughes


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