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EDITORIAL : FULL SPEED AHEAD; SOLVING 101-405 INTERCHANGE NIGHTMARE REQUIRES BROADER APPROACH, AND QUICKLY.

THE key to moving massive numbers of cars and trucks through the eye of a needle - the 101-405 freeway interchange - is to solve problems up and down the line.

That bit of sage advice comes to us via Caltrans district director Tony Harris.

``You can make a lot of modifications to the interchange itself, but somewhere down the line we have to deal with the capacity of the mainline 101 Freeway itself,'' Harris told two dozen San Fernando Valley-area residents gathered to discuss traffic.

Harris's point is well taken.

Crews are scurrying to add an auxiliary lane to the westbound 101, between Van Nuys Boulevard and Hayvenhurst Avenue.

And construction should begin early next year to extend a southbound 405 car-pool lane that ends near the interchange.

These improvements alone will not end the traffic nightmare at the state's fourth-busiest interchange, where 536,500 vehicles daily thread their way through a sliver of an opening.

In fact, if Los Angeles International Airport is allowed to expand, forget about driving at all. Just park your car on the side of the Sepulveda Pass and walk to LAX. It shouldn't be a problem, as long as you have wheels on your luggage.

And here's a news flash, folks: The shiny new subway isn't going to solve anything, anytime, anywhere.

Only a comprehensive regional approach will begin to address the massive traffic problems all along L.A.'s freeways.

At ground zero at the gridlocked 101-405 interchange, solutions need to be found for problems for miles in every direction.

Arriving at those solutions requires challenging current assumptions.

Consider that stringent clean air regulations would likely prevent adding new lanes to the westbound 101 Freeway, Harris said. At best, planners might be able to convince the state to add another car-pool lane, which would help curb pollution.

With the situation already terrible and getting worse, we need a sense of urgency to find creative solutions in a hurry to prevent L.A. from becoming one giant parking lot.

We need leaders who can climb to the top of the mountain and see the promised land from a 360-degree perch.

We need leaders who are looking ahead, not just in the rear-view mirror. And we need them now!
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 16, 1998
Words:373
Previous Article:L.A. NEEDS COORDINATED STRATEGY FOR REDEVELOPMENT.
Next Article:EDITORIAL : MAKING OVER A DINOSAUR; L.A. COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT IS CHANGING, BUT IT MAY BE TOO LATE.


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