Grow­ing cities need mass tran­sit

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Want to be green? Work at home,” Opin­ion, June 23

Joel Kotkin does some funny stuff in his piece, which seems to be de­signed to den­i­grate pub­lic mass tran­sit.

He spends some time talk­ing about 5% of the pop­u­lace in Los An­ge­les in 1980 us­ing pub­lic tran­sit com­pared to “slightly less than 5%” now, ig­nor­ing the fact that the greater Los An­ge­les area has grown by more than 50% in that time pe­riod, which yields an ag­gre­gate gain of rid­er­ship of prob­a­bly hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple.

Also, he seems to for­get that peo­ple use mass tran­sit for other things that boost the econ­omy be­sides com­mut­ing: go­ing to ball­games, mu­se­ums and other cul­tural at­trac­tions. All one has to do is look at the resur­gence of down­town Los An­ge­les to cor­rob­o­rate this.

Last, while many do work from home (as I do), there are many jobs where this is an im­pos­si­bil­ity. As time goes on we will need more pub­lic tran­sit (with more cov­er­age and stops) to han­dle our grow­ing pop­u­la­tion. Steuart Liebig Cul­ver City

Ku­dos to Kotkin for his ob­ser­va­tions on telecom­mut­ing as a pos­i­tive change. He didn’t men­tion one ma­jor fac­tor, though.

The model of em­ploy­ees com­mut­ing to a cen­tral of­fice to share re­sources is be­com­ing ob­so­lete. Telecom­muters can ac­cess re­sources re­motely, and the need to com­mute has dwin­dled.

How­ever, if the cur­rent com­mute-to-the-of­fice paradigm goes away, so does the need for many man­age­ment po­si­tions. And the power to change the com­mut­ing paradigm rests in those man­age­ment po­si­tions — which could be, and should be, ob­so­lete. Dave Suess Re­dondo Beach

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