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Expanding Use of Car-Pool Lanes

December 11, 1988

I recently viewed a TV program during which the secretary of transportation discussed with others the problems facing us on the nation's roads in the next decade. The consensus was that the answers lay not in more asphalt and concrete, but in more efficient use of the roads and highways already in place through improved driver education, rerouting, staggered work shifts and innovations such as car-pool lanes.

I travel the Costa Mesa Freeway constantly, and there is no doubt that the car-pool system works. The vast majority of us crawl to work, while the inhabitants of the cars and trucks containing two or more people zip by at something like 55 m.p.h. While the concept will, over a period of years, promote car-pooling, we will have to wait years for people's habits to change.

The problem, however, is now . Only a tiny fraction of the total cars moving at rush hour utilize the fast lane, which suggests that things could be improved very quickly on both sides of the car-pool lane by expanding the qualifications to use the fast lane.

Motorcycles qualify, which is a good idea, and I would like to put forth the idea that a category of miniature (not compact), or two-seater cars be qualified regardless of the legal number of people in the vehicle.

This would result in:

- A hue and cry from people driving four-seat vehicles. (I am one!)

- Immediate relief in the slow lanes at rush hours and a corresponding greater use of the car-pool lanes.

- More people driving two-seater cars, which has a variety of benefits.

I present this as just one idea to help the traffic flow. I am sure we could use the fast lanes more efficiently.

JOHN R. GORDON

Santa Ana

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