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Safety Also a Factor in Freeway Wall

November 12, 1989

Thank you for your story last week concerning our tenant battle with Caltrans to extend a freeway soundproof wall beyond our apartment complex (Times, Nov. 5). We are fully aware that we have a tough battle ahead of us, and the additional information that follows will show why.

Currently, the state's administrative Highway Code that governs freeway wall construction gives fiscal priority to exposed buildings that have high-decibel noise levels, while downplaying actual pedestrian safety. Additionally, Caltrans only gives that consideration to buildings built before the construction of the freeway, which eliminates our complex from their priority list.

Less than one-third of the current priority wall projects have pedestrian safety concerns and are mostly noise-related. In our case, not only noise, but also possible child access directly into freeway traffic demands immediate attention.

We are not seeking a new appropriation from Sacramento, because any new money would just go into the current project list. That is why we are seeking policy changes.

The state also has a compelling legal obligation to provide for the adequate public safety of children, particularly those too young to realize their reckless play might put their lives in danger.

Young children here in the past have scaled the chain-link fence onto the freeway's shoulder to retrieve lost balls.

Keeping this in mind from a taxpayer's standpoint, it is better now to extend the wall at a cost of a few hundred thousand dollars, rather than wait for a $10-million negligence or wrongful death suit later.

MICHAEL ROTSTAN

Alhambra

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