Letter to the Editor: Misleading Headline

Published : Saturday, February 10, 2018 | 8:56 PM

I was disappointed to see the misleading headline in your story about the proposed Orange Grove safety improvements. Your headline claims that the reconfiguration of Orange Grove will reduce the street to “only one lane” in each direction. Yet, if I understand the story correctly, the redesign of Orange Grove will have a through travel lane in each direction, plus a center left-turn lane, which the current design of Orange Grove lacks, and a buffered bike lane will be added in each direction. Not only that, the redesign maintains the curbside parking for cars in each direction which become right-turn lanes at intersections. That means there are a total of three lanes in each direction, plus a shared center turn lane.

Your article also fails to mention that such road redesigns have been shown time and again to improve safety for all road users, including motorists, and also improve the efficiency of vehicular travel by adding the left turn lane. This is not a lane “reduction,” but a redesign of street space to increase safety and efficiency. Focusing primarily on “reduction” tells a partial and misleading story.

I hope you will do additional stories in the future that highlight these safety and efficiency improvements, and perhaps even talk to residents of Orange Grove about the current level of high traffic speeds on their street. I also hope you’ll talk to people who regularly walk and bike on Orange Grove for some insight as to why the current configuration of the street is so dangerous.

John Lloyd

Sierra Madre, CA.


Dear Mr. Lloyd:

Thank you for your letter.

We regret that you believe the headline is misleading; due to their brevity, headlines don’t afford the depth required to explain the entire picture.

However the story’s first graph clearly says the potential reconfiguration project “would change two-lane travel to one travel lane in each direction, [add] a two-way left turn lane and the addition of buffered bike lanes,” so readers quickly get the picture.

The reason the article “fails to mention” the research you cite which indicates that such reconfigurations can lead to safer and more efficient roadways is simply that this short story is only about the “announcement in the City Manager’s Newsletter” issued Thursday, February 1. The focus is on the statement made in the City Manager’s newsletter, exclusively; this short story is not an in-depth analysis of the City’s intention, related research, possible outcomes, etc.

We agree with you that there is a lot more about this story which should be researched and published, and we are currently working fuller feature stories to follow up on the announcement.

Thank you for your interest,

James Macpherson


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