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TRANSIT

High-speed rail needs a buildup

November 09, 2008

The business case for high-speed transit investment was well made in the pre-election story. ("Vote no only if you love traffic," Nov. 2.) Now the voters in California and Los Angeles County have agreed.

It is not enough, of course, to simply "build it and they will come." As I learned back when I was mayor of Pasadena, people will get out of their cars only if you make alternatives safe, convenient and affordable. That means revamping real estate development away from sprawl and auto-oriented projects, and back toward the already established neighborhoods and districts where transit, bike and pedestrian travel works.

That doesn't mean going for maximum density. It means going for a compatible mix of uses and graceful architecture and design that make great places. That will make the public investment in high-speed rail and local transit pay off in a higher standard of living and the quality of life that engendered the California Dream.

Rick Cole, City Manager

City of Ventura

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