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The wrong way on the 405

March 07, 2007

Re "Homes may be razed to widen 405," March 5

I like the idea of building an elevated structure along the median of the San Diego Freeway containing a carpool facility and space for such transit as a light-rail line or express busway.

However, this would be fearfully expensive, in large part due to the expense of earthquake-proofing such a structure. Instead of a carpool lane, the plan should have a high-occupancy/toll (HOT) lane, free for carpools but open to single-occupancy vehicles for a time-varying price. HOT has worked well along Orange County's portion of State Route 91, to the extent that Riverside County, which initially bitterly opposed such HOT facilities as "Lexus lanes" -- now proposes extending them to Interstate 15.

The revenue stream generated by tolls would be enormous. It could substantially reduce the need for external subsidy of the carpool lanes, lowering the tax burden today and on the next generation.

PETER MCFERRIN

Los Angeles

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Does it occur to any of our transportation planners that widening the 405 will only result in more traffic capacity leading to more traffic with congestion as bad as ever? Is it worth disrupting homes and buildings for such an ill-conceived idea? It is a lose-lose game.

ELLIS KATZ

Encino

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It will take five years to complete this project, and when it is done, the traffic will have increased to the point at which the congestion will be the same. As gas prices increase, commuters will be asking for mass transit, but the money will have been spent instead on these lanes.

In the long run, it would be cheaper to tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass and put in more light rail. The history of traffic in the L.A. area shows that adding more lanes only encourages more cars.

DAVID UNDERWOOD

Citrus Heights, Calif.

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