Mon, Jul

Placing Train Stations and Bus Stops on Freeways Is Inhumane for Transit Riders


LA TRANSPO - I am a free thinker, and I agree with the science that vehicle exhaust is one of the primary sources of air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin, and one of the primary sources of carbon gases from burning fossil fuels to feed the insatiable maw of destructive climate change. 

Starting in 1993 to combat these environmental issues I drove less, and lot less, and began riding first buses, and once they were built, subways and light rail trains in the Los Angeles Basin. 

In riding light rail lines, one of my greatest shocks was using train stations in the middle of freeways. Or just sitting inside the train and listening when the train doors opened. 

The constant din of noise is deafening. It overwhelms the entire area and a person’s senses. 

Then when standing on the train platforms with the roar of freeway traffic, I came realize that the tailpipe exhaust from trucks and cars was concentrated to very high, and most likely unhealthy levels. This is not good. Additional are the fine particulate matters from the vehicle tires grinding down from the freeway surface, and from brake pads. None of these are not good for the human body, particularly the ears, lungs and heart. 

It is hoped for the sake of transit riders that future rail and bus lines will no longer be routed to freeway medians or shoulders. 

Yet, it seems the neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks and Bel Air want to force transit riders to suffer from these inhuman situations by trying to force their one-of-a-kind, square stick forced into a round hole monorail for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project with stations which will either be in the middle of the 405 Freeway, or to the side. 

The differences between the middle of or to the side of a freeway are slight. 

There are six vehicle lanes on both sides of the 405. The noises and pollution from the twelve total lanes are not confined to just northbound or southbound traffic. They would spill over and make their way to a monorail station. There may be some overall reduction than a station in the middle of a freeway, but to think the side placement of a freeway station creates a working environment for transit riders is wrong. 

Moreover, these proposed stations in the Sepulveda Pass would probably be louder with the freeway noises bouncing off the walls of the pass. The concentrations of unhealthy exhaust and particulate matter could become higher when trapped between the sides of the pass. 

This notion that a monorail, or any train station to the side of freeway is not a nightmare for transit riders shows a continuing lack of basic knowledge of how transit networks operate, and a lack of experience of riding all forms of transit throughout the Los Angeles Basin, for months. 

A couple of neighborhoods, Sherman Oaks, Bel Air, or wherever, should never be able to force transit riders to anymore endure the health hazards of train and bus stations in the middle of, or the side of freeways. It is wrong.

(Matthew Hetz is a Los Angeles native, a composer whose works have been performed nationally, and some can be found here.  He is the past President of the Culver City Symphony Orchestra and Marina del Rey Symphony. His dedication to transit issues is to help improve the transit riding experience for all, and to convince drivers to ride buses and trains to fight air pollution and global warming. He is an instructor at Emeritus/Santa Monica College and a regular contributor to CityWatchLA. ). Photo:  Jeremiah Cox SubwayNut.com