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Los Angeles Traffic Problems

September 09, 1988

After reading William Trombley's article "The High Road," (Metro, Aug. 14), as a concerned and experienced engineer I would like to offer an interesting, new idea to the double-decking of our freeway. We all agree that improving the capacity of our already overloaded freeways is vital to the survival of our region. We Californians love the freedom that our automobiles provide, and neither the "convenience" of the RTD nor the speed offered by the diamond lanes can tempt us out of our own cars.

I suggest the construction of a reversible three-lane elevated structure for passenger cars only. This offers certain advantages over the presently planned elevated Transitway:

1. Better economy: Since the weight and impact of passenger cars are considerably less than loaded buses, the construction of the three-lane, elevated bridge structure is less costly than a two-directional elevated busway. Similar to express building elevators, this elevated roadway would provide limited access, say, every three to five miles.

2. More traffic: Three lanes could double the capacity of the one-lane, high-occupancy bus lane. The three reversible lanes would augment the capacity of the heavier directional traffic flow of the four-lane roadway by as much as 75%.

3. Less noise and air pollution: Passenger cars generate less noise than diesel-powered buses. Even a larger volume of faster-moving traffic generates less air pollution than slower-moving, lesser-volume, stop-and-go driving.

4. Improved safety: Technically it is easier, and therefore safer, to guard and contain an errant passenger car than an heavier errant bus on an elevated structure.

5. More pleasing aesthetics: The three-lane elevated structure may be slightly wider than the two-way Transitway, but the structure and columns could be less bulky because of the lighter loading.

6. Financially self-sustaining operation: Preliminary feasibility calculations indicate that the project could be financed by charging a low, mileage-related toll. Should federal funding be denied, construction could still be assured.

STEPHEN MUTSCHENBACHER

Los Angeles

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