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Nov. 5th, 2001 | 01:34 am

Blech...

So some bad people are trying to prevent the pasadena blue line from being built. Alas, I forgot to arrange my schedule so I could go to the public hearing monday, november 5th. But I did write a letter to Judge Sheldon Rosenthal.

The pdf of the letter is over here and I stick a text version after this cut.

If you read it, is there anything I should change before faxing it tomorrow?


Los Angeles desperately needs a functional public transit system. The
current bus system is far too sporadic, unreliable, confusing to use,
slow and sufferers from an inferior image for there to be much hope of
encourage middle class people to start to use public transit for some
of their commuting needs. For instance, many of my friends who live
in North Hollywood have started to use the Red Line instead of their
cars whenever they need to visit downtown Los Angeles.

Reducing the number of cars using the Los Angeles road system is
critical for two reasons.

First, reducing the number of cars using the system reduces the amount
of time everyone, both train riders and automobile users, is wasting
by being stuck in heavy traffic.

Second, mass transit produces less pollution than single occupancy
vehicles.

A recent study published in Circulation: Journal of the
American Heart Association, by Murray A. Mittleman, M.D., Dr.PH.,
director of cardiovascular epidemiology at Boston's Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center, found that there was a 48\% increase in the
chance of a heart attack when the concentration of sub 2.5 micrometer
particles increased by 25 micrograms per cubic meter. The sub 2.5
micrometer particles are produced primarily by combustion, either in
automobile engines, power plants, or other industrial processes.

Additionally reducing the various types of pollutions from a single
large source, like a power plant, is far more reliable and cost
effective than from thousands of privately maintained sources such as
automobiles.

Automobiles are large contributors to global climate change.
According to the Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2001 on
page 111, road traffic's share of the transportation sectors CO$_2$
emissions has climbed from 58\% in 1990 to 73\% in 1997.

There are many other carcinogenic or neurotoxic chemicals dumped into
our air and water by automobiles that are reduced or eliminated by a
rail based mass transit system. For instance, even electric cars are
guilty of producing about 4 pounds of rubber dust per year.

Reducing the number of vehicles on our roads is the simplest and most
cost effective way to improve our air quality, which has a large
impact on on public health.

As just one example of the health benefits, in the 1990s the EPA
estimated that every year approximately 60,000 people living in
U.S. cities were killed by particulate matter. Driving produced 41\%
of the 1997 airborne particulate matter.

Hopefully this brief discussion of the health and time benefits from
constructing a rail mass transit system outweigh the complaints
against such a system.

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Comments {15}

[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

(no subject)

from: artemii
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 01:52 am (UTC)
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i can't remember--are there "commuter lanes" in la?

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:08 am (UTC)
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Yes, we have carpool lanes, that people can use if they have 2 people in a car (or are using an electric car.)

It helps, but still there are just too many cars on the road out here.

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[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

(no subject)

from: artemii
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:12 am (UTC)
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nod. they didn't even have those out east till recently.

the buses in LA scared me. i never took them.
but the layout is such that it takes forever to go by car. with a good subway system it would be much faster to take the subway.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:20 am (UTC)
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Yup a subway would be faster, but the people of LA county passed a law to prevent further subway construction. (I think it had something to do with preventing some class of tax money being spent on it.)

Maybe we can go for elevated trains...

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[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

(no subject)

from: artemii
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:21 am (UTC)
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those tend to be much harder to get going. seattle's been trying for years to get it together enough to do that.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:27 am (UTC)
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I guess one strike against subways here is that people are frightened of earthquakes causing a cave-in. I'm assuming that fear would be less strong for an elevated train.

Of course all the rich people protesting to maintain their property values would probalby shoot elevated trans down 'cause they're ugly.

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[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

(no subject)

from: artemii
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:30 am (UTC)
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i never got the fear of an earthquake thing that prevails on the west coast. tokyo has one of the best subways in the world, for heaven's sake!

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:06 pm (UTC)
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I think americans tend to be afraid of things they don't control. So since you're in an enclosed space there's little you can do to escape on your own.

Perhaps the japanese are more trusting of their society coming to help them?

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[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

(no subject)

from: artemii
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:27 pm (UTC)
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well, japanese culture places much less emphasis on the individual, of course.

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(Deleted comment)

Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:09 pm (UTC)
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There you go bring up reasonable, rational reasons to try and counter mass irrationality.

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Monument

(no subject)

from: marnanel
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 01:52 am (UTC)
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Good stuff. The sentence "Hopefully this brief discussion of the health and time benefits fro[m] constructing a rail mass transit system outweigh the complaints against such a system." doesn't parse, though; perhaps it's missing a word or two ("Hopefully the health and time benefits of constructing a rail mass trasnit system raised in this brief discussion outweigh the complaints against such a system", maybe?)

Also, have you thought of countering the specific complaints against the system, whatever they are, or do you think that would be counterproductive?

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:17 am (UTC)
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Hmm, how about this as the closing sentence.

Hopefully the health and time-savings benefits of constructing a rail
based mass trasnit system raised in this brief discussion outweigh the
complaints against such a system.


I wasn't sure how long I should let my letter get to. It's currently about two pages, and if I tried countering some of my best guesses of the complaits I'd probably be at about 3 pages.

The two arguments I suspect people will be making is that trains are "unsafe" because a few people a year get themselves killed by playing on the tracks. I countered that by trying to show one way that a car is far more dangerous. The other is that it will lower property values by the train being noisy or some such thing. I wasn't really sure how to argue this acuratly though I'm pretty sure that an electric train is quieter than someones off-road truck with knobby tires going down the road. It's certainly quieter than the total of all the cars it replaces. I just don't have anything I can quote to support those opinions.

And thank you for your constructive comments too! :)

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Freya

oh for sure!

from: moonglade
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 05:13 pm (UTC)
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The two arguments I suspect people will be making is that trains are "unsafe" because a few people a year get themselves killed by playing on the tracks. I countered that by trying to show one way that a car is far more dangerous. The other is that it will lower property values by the train being noisy or some such thing. I wasn't really sure how to argue this acuratly

Oh yes we really shouldn't have trains, they are very dangerous, you never know when they might come from out of nowhere when you are crossing the road and run you over, very noisy too defintiely, no we should just give everyone cars, I hardly notice the noise of cars because it's so steady and consistent, and anyone silly enough to be playing in the road, deserves all they get quite frankly.

It's very hard to argue against cars when there are such solid established rational arguments for them, so I do sympathise with your difficulty in arguing accurately! ;)

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Diane Trout

Re: oh for sure!

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 6th, 2001 01:42 am (UTC)
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I know, whenever I cross the road, I always stop to look both ways to see if there's an oncoming train. Or even worse have you seen one of those trains being run by a drunk engineer, swerving back and forth across the road?

As far as I can tell large numbers of people in los angeles are so wedded to the idea of the car, they can't imagine any other way of getting around. Not to mention the areas with the upper class people, they'll do anything in their power to prevent projects for the common good from being built anywhere near them.

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(Deleted comment)

Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2001 02:02 pm (UTC)
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Yea you resisted the urge to edit my document... hopefully you got pleanty of rest and did well on your midterm.

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