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Car-Pool Lanes on Freeways

March 07, 1994

Re "Car-Pool Lanes Get a Push," Feb. 18:

Leave it to Caltrans to make hay out of the misery caused by the Northridge earthquake. If this agency's social engineers are allowed to bring back the diamond lane on the Santa Monica Freeway, the result will be at least as bad and probably worse than it was in 1976: three lanes of traffic moving at a snail's pace while a minuscule number of cars zip blithely along the diamond lane.

It's bad enough to deny use of newly constructed freeway lanes to people who don't find it feasible to car-pool. It's downright despicable to take away an existing lane of the busiest freeway in the U.S.

As a member of Citizens Against Diamond Lanes in 1976, I went to Sacramento to protest the Santa Monica diamond lane. I can still recall Adriana Gianturco telling the Assembly Transportation Committee how well the diamond lane would work "if the people in L.A. would get their act together." Will Caltrans ever learn that we aren't marionettes who exist only for the purpose of taking direction from Gianturco and her successors?

RICHARD F. ROPER

Santa Monica

For the past several years Caltrans has chosen to build, build, build new freeway lanes instead of enhancing the quality and strength of the freeways we already have. And what a mess we're in because of it!

Now that people are heavily relying on car-pool and bus priority travel routes, Caltrans is reluctant to continue to use existing traffic lanes for car-pools and buses when the I-10 is restored. Instead, Caltrans (again) wants to build, build, build new lanes.

Like its seismic standards, the Caltrans attitude is based on facts of 18 years ago. Things have changed. Traffic congestion, economics and this region's inability to meet air quality standards all dictate that we use our present resources more efficiently. Ride-sharing lanes are more efficient.

Fortunately, both U.S. Secretary of Transportation Federico Pena and Mayor Richard Riordan are wise enough to see that. They support solving the problems now by dedicating ride-sharing lanes on the present freeway system. Let's hope they can wise up the "build, build, build" bureaucracy.

SABRINA SCHILLER

Pacific Palisades

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