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A lost sense of community

July 13, 2006

Re "What gridlock?" Current, July 9

Robert Bruegmann is ingenuous -- or disingenuous -- in focusing on people's self-interest in suburbia. He should know that what makes people happy is not always good in the long term. By fleeing the cultural difference of the urban polis, people forget about their connection with their fellow humans and thus become inured to human suffering. Less than a year after the nation learned of New Orleans' stunning poverty, there is no political will to try to combat poverty. Why? As Bruegmann smugly tells us, "most Americans today, including the vast majority of suburbanites, are happy where they live, work and play." Therefore, why should they worry about the suffering of others?

RICK ARMSTRONG

Brooklyn, N.Y.

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In what imaginary Los Angeles did Bruegmann speed through downtown at 60 miles per hour? Certainly not during daylight hours, and certainly not in the L.A. in which I live. Moreover, it was understandably left unmentioned that Parisians enjoy one of the finest Metro systems in the world; they routinely speed through their city's core on a system that works dependably and at the same high speeds regardless of whether the traffic load is heavy or light. Nor was any mention made of the social isolation and lack of mobility suffered by those who live in a car-centered society but are too young, too old or too poor to drive.

JAMES VAN SCOYOC

Los Angeles

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As someone who has easily spent thousands of hours traveling hundreds of miles in L.A. traffic, I'm certain of one thing: You can make a freeway 700 lanes wide on each side, and we'd still have gridlock. Gridlock has nothing to do with the number of people on the road, or even urban sprawl. Gridlock is simply a result of tailgating and other forms of idiot driving methods that everyone engages in, causing everyone to have to stop and go forever and always. The solution to gridlock does not lie in the area of our cities or the width of our freeways, it lies in the next step in human evolution that I hope causes us to stop driving as if we're in some primal struggle for survival every time someone attempts to merge.

KEITH CEELY

Los Angeles

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