Troubles with loss of Line #2 route

With the Big Blue Bus #2 route now being discontinued south of Pico Boulevard along Fourth Street in the Ocean Park area of Santa Monica, it is important for people to know just how much of a hardship it will now be for many of that area’s bus riders, including a good number of senior citizens.

It will be very difficult and unsafe for many of that area’s #2 riders, including those residents on Fourth and Fifth streets, to traverse up and down the very steep hill to Main Street to catch the #1 or #8 bus. It will be equally hard for that area’s residents to walk to Fourth and a long block north of Pico, since the #2 route at the start of its northbound trip will not be stopping at Pico.

Of course it will be difficult for many to even have to hike to Pico to catch the #3 or #7 bus. Obviously it will also cost those riders more bus transfer money for people needing to get to points along Wilshire Boulevard between Lincoln and Westwood boulevards.

And, for those who do walk to Pico (day or night) to catch the #3 or #7, simply to transfer to the #2, they might find themselves waiting quite a while, since the more frequently run #3 and #7 rapid routes do not even stop at Fourth and Pico.

As good a service as Dial-A-Ride is, it is extremely unfair to simply tell that area’s seniors to rely on that service, since it mostly requires many days’ advance notice and does not operate at night.

It should also be pointed out that when the Big Blue Bus reported the #2 route ridership was down along Fourth Street between Pico and Hill Street, and that it was costing them money this past year, they never included in their financial analysis that many former #2 riders switched to the #1 to get to points south of Hill, including Venice, which was to be expected, and in which money still went to the Big Blue Bus.

And, to those who kept complaining to the city and the Big Blue Bus because they couldn’t stand the bus “noise” coming past their residence, the truth is there are louder trucks, SUVs, motorcycles and traffic in general all the time along that Ocean Park area of Fourth Street. But virtually no one else anywhere in the city complains about bus “noise.” Perhaps that is because most everyone understands just how important Big Blue Bus service is to so very many people.

Hopefully the Big Blue Bus will now more comprehensively analyze re-routing the #8 bus to ride along Fourth Street between Ocean Park and Pico, instead of duplicating the #1 bus route along Main Street.

Finally, isn’t it long overdue for the Big Blue Bus and the city to initiate a comprehensive citywide educational outreach campaign that urges people to consider driving less and taking the bus and other alternative transportation more? Isn’t that the real answer for increasing Big Blue Bus funds, as well as helping our environment and our traffic and parking problems?

Jerry and Marissa Rubin, Santa Monica

Proper planning for wetlands restoration

We are so grateful to Rep. Janice Hahn, state Sen. Ted Lieu and Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl for requesting – and getting – extra time for the public to be able to comment on the scope of planned alterations to the Ballona Wetlands ecological reserve.

We are also grateful for their asking for a real public hearing during the scoping process. The Venice Neighborhood Council had it right when it passed a resolution not only asking for 90 days for public comment, but also for at least “two full public hearings to be held at times convenient to the working public and located in hearing rooms where those attending can hear all of the comments.”

Literally millions of people from all over the world have raised their voices during the past 30-plus years to seek protection of the Ballona Wetlands – this special jewel on the Los Angeles coast – where plants and animals reside that no longer live anywhere else along our coast.

The process for planning what is best there has not involved the interested public to the degree which would respect this historical effort.

And most important, the plants and animals – and how they interact with each other in an ecological web of life – are not at all being considered in the plans. Excavation of nearly two million cubic yards of soil, which is described in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ federal register notice about this project, will only bring destruction of important habitat.

Bulldozing Ballona is not what the voters had in mind when we passed the bond measures that spent unprecedented sums for wildlife conservation.

Marcia Hanscom, Executive Director, Ballona Institute and Chair, Sierra Club Ballona Wetlands Restoration Committee, Playa del Rey

Odor still lingers

Re: “Regional Planning, Public Works departments update Marina Affairs Committee on county projects” (Argonaut, Aug. 23).

Thank you for attending and reporting on this important meeting. What really caught my attention was the “Department of Public Works” portion, a report given by Pamela Manning and Brittany Barker, concerning updates and timelines for Marina del Rey infrastructure projects. The following update blew me away: “One of those projects, odor control at a sewer force main outlet manhole on Admiralty Way, has been completed.”

I cannot count the number of times in the past that I have read this totally untrue claim. Yes, the odor along Admiralty at the intersection with Marina City Drive has been eliminated once or twice over the years. But it is still there and this claim is totally untrue.

Just ask the residents of the Marina City towers or guests of the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Better yet, just drive west on Admiralty and sniff the polluted air as you come up on to the contaminated Oxford Retention Basin. It does not take a rocket scientist to confirm the odors. Just breath deep, enjoy and stop the false claims.

Al Hains, Marina del Rey

Editors note: Brittany Barker said that while the project work has been completed, one of the parts malfunctioned, and after ordering a replacement part, it was discovered that the original part was so old, a replacement was no longer available. Consequently, another part had to be specially ordered, and as soon as it is received, the repairs will be completed.

Conrad statue alternatives

Paul Conrad’s statue Chain Reaction symbolizes the old progressive Santa Monica similar to how various monuments bring to mind other cities around the world. I wonder what Conrad really thought of the finished sculpture… It rather looks like a seal balancing a beach ball.

My suggestion is to sell each chain link (for higher donations; spray the links bronze, silver or gold) to raise money and then build a larger, more realistic and sturdier model of Conrad’s famous political cartoon.

It should be centrally located in the new park at The Village (across the street from where it is now). It should also be raised on a pedestal (like the Statue of Liberty) and surrounded by a fountain rather than the present chain link fence.

Conrad intended the original as a symbol of peace, but some will regard it as a symbol of America’s military might.

Jonathan Mann, Santa Monica

Effects of post office sales

Since 2005, I have been following the sale and relocation of U.S. Postal Service Processing and Distributions Centers (the Jefferson Boulevard facility in Del Rey was moved downtown), the Venice Post Office retail operations (moved out of a historic building and into a non-descript distribution center), and now the Santa Monica Post Office retail operations are being moved nearly a mile from their 1937 historic location.

All of this is being done because the USPS is losing money. But how will these sales actually benefit the USPS? Will the money be used to cover the costs of labor, printing stamps and transporting the mail? The answer is “no.”

In 2009, the Government Accountability Office reported on how various federal agencies used the proceeds from the sale of their real estate. According to the report, which is available online (www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-283R), the USPS used the “proceeds primarily to help manage their real property portfolios, … such as rental space, building operations, new construction and acquisition, maintenance, and repairs and operations.”

The conclusion is that the annual net loss that the USPS has been experiencing will not be improved by the sale of its real estate, but will in fact only get worse as the USPS discourages the consumers from going to their local post office and encourages them to use alternative forms of communication.

Jan Book, Marina del Rey

No bulldozers at Ballona

I was disappointed to read the report about the Ballona Wetlands in the Aug. 23 issue. As one who grew up near La Ballona, I have worked with biologist Roy van de Hoek and the Ballona Institute on restoration projects. I was shocked to read things I know are not accurate.

First, Friends of the Ballona Wetlands founder Ruth Lansford’s comments about litigation were puzzling since her organization, of which I am a life member, sued numerous public agencies in order to get the 200-plus acres of wetlands protected; then, Sierra Club, Wetlands Defense Fund, Ballona Valley Preservation League, and many others helped get another 400 acres of wetlands ecosystem land preserved. Why does Lansford continue to disparage groups who built on what she started rather than want what is best for La Ballona?

Finally, it’s disingenuous of the reporter to state that the wetlands continue to remain in a state of deterioration. Doesn’t he remember the story he wrote about the return of the endangered El Segundo Blue butterfly? This characterization sounds like what developers have claimed in order to get their construction plans approved.

Let’s keep doing the community-involved restoration activities. No bulldozers at La Ballona!

Jane Anne Jeffries, West Los Angeles

Take care of cesspool

I am constantly appalled at the open cesspool on Admiralty Way across from the Marina City Club. This cannot be a healthy situation and someone should clean this up ASAP.

John D. Stoller, Marina del Rey

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