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Truck Traffic at Commute Hour

January 24, 1988

I leave my home near the La Paz on-ramp of the 405 Freeway at 7:45 a.m. I get off at MacArthur Boulevard in Irvine 1 hour and 15 minutes later. Normally this is a 30-minute drive. I sit. I crawl. I groan my way to work. I hate the freeway. I hate the sitting, the crawling, the groaning.

So, I tried an alternate route. There are some good surface streets that can get me there too, but it's the same thing: Double semi-trucks are everywhere.

So I decided to count them and to jot their names down. Turns out there were 77 in all; 77 of those suckers taking up space on surface streets and freeways during my specific commute of 7:45 to 9 a.m.

I figured 77 trucks take an average of 10 car spaces each on the road. That's 770 car lengths, or approximately 7,770 feet, counting space between cars. That's about two solid miles of trucks on the freeway during my commute hour!

I called the Caltrans and talked with a man who told me he was in charge of "planning." "It's a fact" were his exact words to me.

"Then why not forbid the trucks on the road during rush hour?" I asked, reminding him of the successful Olympics traffic plan that required trucks to stay during certain hours.

"That was a crisis; this isn't," he said.

"Well, call it the Non-Olympics Emergency Road Plan," I said. "It may not be a crisis to you, but it is to those of us stuck in it every morning!"

"We're trying to get companies to voluntarily restrict their trucks during rush hour," he said, "but it's not working too well." Obviously!

Well, as a fed-up individual, as a consumer par excellence, as the business administrator for a small company who can't understand any controller worth his/her salary allowing company trucks to sit in commute-time traffic gobbling gasoline at a rate of 2 m.p.h. or less, I'm suggesting that those who agree that this space belongs to commuters from 7 to 9 a.m. note the companies using the freeways for their double-semis during those hours and start writing letters, stop buying their products and start shaking our fists at their drivers whenever we can make eye contact.

Working people are the ones buying the products of these companies who are making our lives miserable. Why should we support those companies? Let's speak up! Let's make our money talk too!

JUDY WILLIAMS

Mission Viejo

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