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Paying now for a 60-year-old problem

August 14, 2013

I have been reading about, and hearing people voice their opinions about, the Long Beach (710) Freeway extension, which has never been finished and which leaves north-bound commuters in the middle of Alhambra.

I understand that is frustrating and it would make sense to have completed that project when it was conceived 60 years ago. Why wasn't that project finished? Can it solve the traffic problem? Now we are paying for that negligence with an inappropriate answer to the questions.

However, today we have some additional considerations besides how to ease the difficulties of commuters. We wonder how communities can be resilient when they are carved up by huge freeways that scream through their neighborhoods. These are communities that have fought hard to stay where they are, suffered with the boom-and-bust economy, and have survived with a little more understanding of each other and a little more collaboration because of it.

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I voted for Measure R years ago because it said it was going to use our tax dollars to increase mass/rapid transit because it was going to develop rail lines. Now it seems that money is going to build a freeway, possibly a toll road, that will also serve huge container trucks heading out of the Long Beach Port and carving through the mountains to end up at a hub in Las Vegas. I would think that such a huge project would be better suited to rail, for its lack of carbon footprint and for its lessened impact on communities. However, the priority is not about the integrity of communities, or the quality of the air.

Karen Merchant-Yates
Los Angeles

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