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Life in the fast lane

June 16, 2008

Re "Cargo heading east has L.A. at a crawl," June 10

It's important that Californians understand that they are paying for cheap goods movement with their time (sitting in traffic), their health (asthma, cancer, heart disease) and sometimes their lives.

One partial solution would be to pass the Port Investment Bill, SB 974, which would provide money for improved rail crossings and reduction in air pollution.

Another solution is to insist that costs be shared by the goods movement and retail industries. Some of these costs would be passed on to consumers, and that could result in a reduction in purchases. This would reduce our trade deficit and our foreign debt. It would also help local industry.

Jane Affonso

Redondo Beach

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Re "What you can do to make my commute better," June 11

Charging for parking or use of roads does not work if alternative transportation is not practical. Commuters cannot take public transportation or carpool/vanpool with others if there is no parking at meeting places. Taking the bus from my home would add two extra hours of commuting daily. I'd rather spend that time with my family.

Companies need to shift hours or shorten the work week. Day-care centers and schools need to allow parents to drop their children off earlier or pick them up later. Shopping centers and owners of vacant lots could offer small areas for carpoolers to meet and park. And finally, governments need to provide incentives to encourage this paradigm shift.

Jan Rasmussen

Lakewood

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The usual attacks on solo drivers overlook one reason why many drivers have to travel alone -- the nature of life in L.A. versus cities to which it is compared such as New York, London and Paris.

Unlike those old-fashioned cities, where grocery stores, doctors and dentists are often within walking distance, life in L.A. for at least the last 60 years has been based on the automobile. Rarely are destinations in the same area.

The specific needs of many low-income people rarely jibe with those of neighbors and friends with whom they might share a ride. And no one seems to mention that buses are a highly inefficient means of mass transit in an area as spread out as Southern California.

Rick Mitchell

Los Angeles

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Thanks for the great piece of investigative reporting.

We are cheating ourselves by not investing in transportation, but the suggestion that we need more freeways is disappointing.

Please write another investigative piece with a call for less highway construction and more of the light and heavy rail we so badly need. Don't use a person who chooses to live in the country as a reason for a developer in Santa Monica to invest money on freeway improvements.

I hope The Times will show our citizens how to live without their cars in elegant density. We need a subway to LAX, not more freeways to Rialto.

Don Scott

Pacific Palisades

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