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Letters: Ideas for a more livable L.A.

March 07, 2013
  • Los Angeles International Airport has its iconic theme building -- but no rail stop.
Los Angeles International Airport has its iconic theme building -- but… ( Los Angeles Times )

Re "Broken civic promise," Critic's Notebook, March 3

I was glad to read Christopher Hawthorne's piece on Los Angeles' missed opportunities, miscalculations and wrong choices regarding the creation of our public spaces and public transit systems. Planning the look, feel and flow of a city is so important — it takes hindsight and foresight. And the choices made stick around for a long time.

So how can it be that the most populous county in the U.S. has no direct rail route to its major airport? With a new rail line in the works, this mistake could be rectified. But I was astonished to learn that planners have essentially made that same mistake again with the $1.7-billion Crenshaw Line, which will go near the airport but with no stop at LAX. Were no lessons learned?

And with a city as large as ours, it would be terrific if we took the time to create more well-planned green spaces. Getting inspiration from other cities, check out the "High Line" in New York City for a creative solution for a no-space park.

I hope the next mayor will get serious and creative about solutions to our problems.

Cheryl Saban

Los Angeles

Hawthorne unfairly attacks Beverly Hills' opposition to tunneling for a subway under its high school as "indefensible." Hawthorne claims the opposition is not about safety but, instead, about "fears of changes a subway line … might bring."

He ignores that Beverly Hills fully supported the subway through the city until the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bowed to the wishes of moneyed Century City developers and changed the route along Santa Monica that Metro had touted for years. He ignores the fatal tunnel construction accidents throughout the world, including in Boston's "Big Dig."

He ignores alternatives to tunneling under a school, especially in light of the fact that the city of L.A. granted entitlements for a high-rise building at the spot the MTA has said is too dangerous for a subway station because of seismic issues. Talk about "indefensible."

Ken Goldman

Beverly Hills

It is ironic that the article highlighted billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad's new downtown museum. Broad was a leader in the urban sprawl-type development that made Los Angeles what it is (and isn't) today.

Instead of improving life in the city, we simply moved to the new tract housing farther away from the centers of business.

It's time for Broad and others to step back and let New Urbanist planners lead us toward a more vibrant, functional and habitable city.

David L. Fleck

Granada Hills

With regard to what the next mayor should address, I would like to put the San Fernando Valley at the top of the list.

Hawthorne focused only on projects on the other side of the hill. But in the Valley, we still have no real transit in spite of continuing to approve more and more apartment buildings, adding to the traffic congestion.

We've got the Orange Line, which serves a relatively small portion of the Valley. There's no mention of light rail or of modifying traffic flow. My wife even has problems getting an empty seat on a Commuter Express bus.

Maybe it is again time to consider secession if we can't get more than a hand wave from City Hall.

Les Hartzman

Sherman Oaks

Los Angeles' main airport is indeed an embarrassment unto itself. Consider the lack of rail transit to the airport, the outdated terminals, the security lines that stretch far outside the terminals and onto sidewalks and the inability to deal with large numbers of travelers coming in at once from foreign destinations.

I find it amazing that after decades of slowly building up light rail in Los Angeles and the fact that the 405 Freeway is a congested artery, there is still no way to get to the airport without contributing to the gridlock on the streets and freeways. One would think that efficient public transportation access to LAX would be the top priority.

Many travelers get a first impression of Los Angeles from its airport. In that sense, LAX is an embarrassment in a league of its own.

Thomas Szayna

Los Angeles

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