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'My solution: I moved to Oregon'

January 21, 2007

LANES OF COMMUNICATION: Readers by the hundreds have responded to the call for traffic complaints, comments and solutions. Their entries on Steve Lopez's Bottleneck Blog express unbridled rage and keen insight, and tell the story of a region in which traffic, more than ever, is influencing everything from our choice of leisure activities to the time we spend with family and friends. The comments below are reprinted from the blog and represent but a sampling of input from throughout the region. As you'll see, many people have decided they can't wait for politicians to lead the way. If you'd like to see more, go to latimesblogs.latimes.com/bottleneck.

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The only way traffic will ever improve is to vote the politicians out of office and let them know why they are being voted out of office. If the politicians knew this was the No. 1 priority of the electorate, traffic would be cured within four years.

JIM PRESON

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Create some sort of express bus between South Pasadena/Pasadena to the UCLA/Westwood area. That it takes 1.5 hours to make this commute is ridiculous. The S. Pas Gold Line station needs parking. All of the street parking within walking distance to the station is four-hour parking only.

JAY HYMAN

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If you look at the map of the L.A. River and its assorted tributaries, you will see a natural system of byways intersecting this city, including a direct route from the L.A. Harbor, which is utterly unexploited. There are no issues of eminent domain on these byways. I propose using it for a light rail system throughout the city and the Valley, mixed with a new "cargo only" route to and from the harbor. This would require the construction of these systems so as not to interfere with the flow of the river, no small engineering feat.

CHRIS HARWOD

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Make it a law: Whenever two lanes need to merge into one, every car has to let in one car. The lanes collapse together like a zipper, not the baloney that goes on now where nobody wants to let anybody in until Mr. Nice Guy lets in five cars.

FRANK CARAMELLI

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Offer real cash incentives for people to get out of their cars and into the Rapid buses. In exchange for, say, driving your car on even- or odd-numbered days, MTA will give bus-pass buyers a percentage (say, 25% or even 50%!) off of bus passes. The DMV would register these people and their vehicles, and if they are caught driving on major roads (yes, they'd have to be defined) or highways, the penalties and fines would be excruciating. In other words, give real rewards for taking the bus and enforce them with the chance of being stiffly fined for abusing the rewards.

JEFF ZACUTO

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It takes me 40-50 minutes to go from Wilshire and 20th to Mar Vista at 6 at night. Mind-numbing stop-and-go. All Santa Monica College students should park in some central point away from the Westside and be bused in. Register all vehicles coming into the city of Santa Monica for day jobs. Give them a sticker. Charge a fee to get the sticker -- something like $1,000/year. Have this money go to a fund (controlled by L.A.) to alleviate the problem.

KAREN GRAHAM

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My solution to L.A.'s maddening gridlock looks beyond the ever-congested freeways to companies and employers. Many employees who do desk and telephone work, write reports/stories, could perform their jobs from home and go into the office once, maybe twice a week for face-to-face meetings. In this age of mobile telecommunications, it's now possible to work from almost anywhere and still deliver a top job performance. Employers would need to learn to relinquish some control over their people and judge their value by performance, not a set number of hours in the office.

KENT STRUMPELL

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Angelenos (specially Westside NIMBYs) need to stop opposing every line that gets proposed through their neighborhoods. We really need those subways, light rails, high-speed rails, or we will choke in our own exhaust fumes while stuck on the 405 at rush hour.

KEN BAERENKLAU

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Provide small maps at bus stops that say where the bus is going and what time it should arrive at that stop.

ROB CARTER

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Here's a simple EASY way that would COST NOTHING to implement to reduce traffic on surface streets during rush hour. Between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m., make it punishable, with fines starting at $500 a pop, to take a lazy left from a non-turnout location in traffic. So many bozos blocking traffic for blocks.

BILL GORDON

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State-mandated vehicle inspections to keep "unkept vehicles" off the road and away from freeway breakdowns. Real incentives to commute on mass transit, and mass transit that goes where the middle class wants to go when they want to go there. Parking taxes that make mass transit the only sensible choice for commuting into highly congested areas. Flexible schedules for employees willing to come in before or after rush hours. Enforcement of "distracted driver" citations to end freeway multi-tasking.

BENJAMIN PEZZILLO

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