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People make traffic worse

June 14, 2008

Re "Isolated in our cars, but suffering together," June 8

Very good article on congestion in L.A. But did you notice that many of the people highlighted in the article contribute, in his or her own way, to the congestion?

Many had bad driving habits: drinking beverages, having cellphone conversations, listening to audio books or changing radio stations. Every one of these behaviors takes concentration away from driving, increasing the probability of an accident.

Each of us, in our own insidious way, contributes to the congestion we claim to hate.

David W. Harralson

Hollywood

Traffic in California will only worsen as long as the state continues to add a whopping 500,000 people annually. Unchecked population growth from our nation's unofficial open-borders policy is contributing not only to gridlock but is stressing our schools, emergency rooms, the environment and our overall quality of life. It's completely unsustainable. The U.S. Census projects the country's population will explode from 300 million to 400 million in the next 30 years. And for every four new U.S. residents, about three more cars are added to the roadways.

Although new roads and better mass transit are a salve, unless we're OK with creating a Third World California, a reduction in the state's population is the only real long-term solution.

Maria Fotopoulos

Los Angeles

Thank you very much for your article, particularly the advice and illustrations on driving techniques to reduce gridlock. In my experience, L.A. freeway driving is typified by speeding from stoppage to stoppage, by stomping on the gas and then braking hard. This lemming approach is counterproductive and risky. "Easy does it" and "less is more" apply.

One thing: Don't seek to keep a large distance between yourself and the last stopped car, as the article suggests. Use this distance to keep rolling, timing the approach, keeping a safe distance only. The more people do this, the fewer accidents we will have and the faster we will get from A to B.

Robert Hagen

San Diego

Re "Letting gridlock loose," June 9

Your very well-reported article on the connection between building developments and traffic congestion clearly means one thing -- if you build it, they will come.

We need to change from 1950s thinking of encouraging growth and development. That goal was achieved 25 years ago. Now we need to discourage more building, more people and more congestion.

Don't build it, and they won't come.

Manny Rodriguez

West Hollywood

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