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EDITORIAL : NOHO, DMZ; MTA SHOULD REBUILD IT.

FIVE years ago this month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority invaded North Hollywood and turned Lankershim Boulevard, the community's main business drag, into a dusty wreck of a road.

``It's like a demilitarized zone,'' said Andrew Higgs, owner of Le Petit Chateau restaurant. ``One pothole after another. It's no wonder people stay away.''

But it's not just the potholes. Because crews had to dig up Lankershim to get underneath it on numerous occasions, the structural integrity of the street has been irreparably shortened, and simply repaving it will be insufficient, according to Councilman John Ferraro.

The city's Street Maintenance Bureau has estimated that rebuilding the 2.1-mile section of Lankershim Boulevard, between Bluffside Drive and Chandler Boulevard, will cost $1.3 million, Ferraro said.

Like the councilman, we don't think the city should pick up the cost.

For five years, the merchants along Lankershim, as well as those who live and work near it, have had to suffer the inconvenience of delays, detours and damage to their vehicles.

Further, the transit agency has treated NoHo like a poor brother to Hollywood, whose merchants have received $16 million in assistance for the inconvenience of dealing with the subway work.

Why doesn't NoHo get similar treatment?

MTA officials ridiculously dismiss that question as one of comparing apples to oranges. Why? Because Hollywood gets 9 million visitors a year and its shopkeepers had to deal with a sinkhole that drew international media attention, they say.

Does it really have to take a sinkhole in NoHo to get the MTA's attention?

We hope not. The merchants have suffered enough.

We urge MTA Chief Executive Officer Julian Burke to consider rebuilding the entire road. As of now, they were willing to make a ``generous'' offer to pay half the $1 million cost to repave the road, said MTA spokesman Gary Wosk.

``We inherited a street that was not in the greatest condition to begin with,'' Wosk said.

Repairing the road would help improve the agency's relationship with residents and the city, and it would minimize the damage the road inflicts on its inadequate bus fleet - not to mention the damage to other vehicles.

Failing to do it will bring more distrust and contempt to an agency that has failed at virtually everything it has done since work on the subway to nowhere began.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 6, 1999
Words:387
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