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Fewer 101 Drivers Needed

September 21, 2002

Re "Residents Split on 101 Expansion," Sept. 14: I confess that I am one of the commuters who clog the 101 Freeway through the San Fernando Valley each day on my way to and from work. My car is larger than necessary, I don't carpool and I drive when it's convenient to me. Each day I take 4,500 pounds of steel, glass and rubber with me, filling the air with poisonous gases as I drive.

I read of Caltrans' meeting to propose solutions to alleviate the eventual gridlock, but the plans suggested are designed to appease those who are unwilling to change their habits rather than taking the strong action we need to quickly remedy the problem of overcrowding. More construction is not the solution; it is taking the cars off the road.

Based on my observation, fewer than 10% of the drivers carpool, and the majority of cars with multiple occupancy have only two people. An even smaller number of people ride buses, and fewer than 1% ride motorcycles. Caltrans, the MTA and the city, county or both need to get busy with a plan to coordinate ride-sharing and force commuters to participate. The Internet can provide a highly efficient database for carpooling, using readily available data such as nine-digit ZIP Codes.

Although Caltrans has a telephone system, it appears to be a failure. So what happens if your neighbor is unwilling to carpool? Implement the same rules already in use on overtaxed roadways: If you don't have at least three people in your car, you can't use the road during rush hour. It is not a pleasant solution, but it is workable. If my fellow commuters are not willing to make any sacrifice, there is no reason for me to lead the way--precisely the selfish attitude that created our current problems.

Kevin Park

Agoura Hills

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The options mentioned were adding lanes to the existing 101 Freeway or building an elevated expressway and constructing a light-rail line. I was a right-of-way agent for 34 years with Caltrans. I retired two years ago. I am aware that several years ago Caltrans carried out a feasibility study to put a monorail line alongside the 405 Freeway, going from LAX to Palmdale.

The study's final analysis concluded that a monorail line would be compatible with the freeway--and feasible. Therefore, the study for the 101 Freeway should include consideration of a monorail as a viable addition to the freeway. The monorail is the future and would help in unclogging the freeway.

David Einhorn

West Hills

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