There's no question that air quality is a major issue and source of concern to those of us who live in and love Southern California. The South Coast Air Quality Management District was created because of a public demand that something be done to clean up our air.
In his Op-Ed article, Benjamin Zycher (Jan. 13) complains that the AQMD has gone power-mad and is trying to force commuters to change their life styles.
On the contrary, the AQMD is carrying out its public mandate to improve our air. Since about half of the "gunk" in our air comes from motor vehicles, it's clear that we must look at reducing that source of pollution. We've done what is technically feasible to require anti-pollution devices on cars and to mandate regular smog checks. Now it's time to take serious action to reduce the number of vehicles on our freeways and streets.
Many major employers, such as ARCO, Hughes and others, have found that it's good company policy to encourage ride sharing. Employees like it, absenteeism drops, and the need to provide parking spaces is reduced. The City of Los Angeles, at my urging, is taking strong action to promote ride sharing among our employees; one of our major tactics will be to start charging single drivers an increased fee to park while car-poolers will park free and in the most convenient spots.
Even though the schedule of an elected official is irregular and often frenetic, my staff and I have car-pooled for the 10 years I've been in office and we find that it works!
If each driver car-pooled even one day every other week, that would be equivalent to adding one additional lane to each freeway, at a capital cost of zero !