The LookOut Letters to the Editor
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Buses, Helicopters and Cars

April 16, 2002

Dear Editor:

I'm so pleased to read of the City's addition of CNG buses to our Big Blue Bus fleet ("Green Blue Buses Hit the Street," April 16, 2002). During my 14 years of volunteer service with the Coalition for Clean Air, I've been surprised by the resistance of the public transit industry to the adoption of cleaner fuels.

We all know how toxic diesel is; the Coalition's reports confirm what our noses and lungs have told us for years. Investment in cleaner fuel technologies by fleet owners, such as cities, helps support the increased availability, accessibility, and affordability of cleaner fuel vehicles for everyone.

I'm proud to live in a city that is willing to invest in environmentally-friendly vehicles for our bus system, and for other city vehicles.

Abby Arnold
Coalition for Clean Air

April 15, 2002

Dear Editor,

Deploying a police helicopter to the Pico Neighborhood, while effective, is not the ultimate deterrent to the criminal element ("Quiet Helicopter Creates Plenty of Buzz," April 15, 2002). If the police department chose to maintain a strong police presence throughout the Pico Neighborhood indefinitely, crime would all but disappear.

The current policy of showing up when there's trouble and leaving when everything's quelled continues this unfortunate cycle of violence. If we are to live in a safe community, there must be sustained police patrols in the Pico Neighborhood.

Joe Weichman
Pico Neighborhood Resident
Santa Monica

April 11, 2002

Dear Editor,

On April 11, you reported on the City Council's decision to push ahead with a mammoth $92.5 million parking structure building plan ("Green Light for Downtown Parking Plan," April 11, 2002). Besides the dollars, it is important to highlight the hidden costs and side effects of continuing to build large parking structures downtown. As some City Council members voiced Tuesday night, building more parking always means, well you guessed it, more cars downtown!

It is obvious that providing extra parking downtown will contribute to congestion not improve it and runs counter to the city's desire to reduce car use, emissions, and run-off. It is strange that as a city nestled in the smoggiest cosmopolitan area in America, with the most congested interstate in the country (I-10), we continue to focus attention on making the city friendly to more and more cars??!!!

I'd also like to understand how more parking is going to magically clear the weekend I-10 traffic trying to exit at 4th/5th streets. It will only get worse with the current plan. And guess where all of those stalled, traffic-blocked cars will be belching out their fumes, well in Santa Monica of course!

In fact, the only good thing about the upcoming plan is that at a minimum, the structures are slated to be pedestrian friendly with ground-floor shops. That is absolutely critical to camouflaging what are now pretty oppressive and ugly structures that don't fit in with the urban fabric downtown. I hope the City keeps the height of any new structures to something compatible with neighboring buildings.

The challenge for Santa Monica is that there just aren't many good public transit options for those out-of-towners that come in to our city for shopping, the promenade, pier, beach etc (with the exception of the innovative Metro Rapid). This is why the Exposition light rail plan is absolutely critical to reducing car-dependence.

I also hope that while the city caters to our out-of-town guests with more parking, it will at the same time get the word out to Santa Monicans that cars aren't the only way to get downtown. If you want to make your city cleaner, safer, and more sustainable, please leave your car at home and walk, bike, or take the #1 rated bus system in America, the Big Blue Bus!

Allen Freeman
Livable Santa Monica
Santa Monica, CA

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