Questions and Answers About Your Commute : Awaiting the Completion of Carpool Lane

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dear Traffic Talk:

I have the same question as thousands of other freeway commuters--When is the carpool lane on the San Diego Freeway between the Ventura and Golden State freeways going to be finished?

Also, are there any plans to extend it north beyond the Golden State and/or south toward Mulholland Drive?

Terry Grant

Valencia

Dear Terry:

Rick Holland, spokesman for Caltrans, said the carpool lane will be finished by November. The state transportation agency has plans to extend the lane north of the Golden State Freeway, a project that should be completed by the year 2000. According to Holland, Caltrans has no plans to create a special lane for carpoolers south of the Ventura Freeway.

Dear Traffic Talk:

I come out of Santa Clarita in the morning, down the San Diego Freeway and exit at O.J.'s favorite turnoff--Sunset Boulevard. Going home, I of course retrace. Here's my question:

I've noted that ever since the 1994 earthquake, during my afternoon trek north over the Sepulveda "Impasse" that southbound (out of the Valley) traffic is just horrible. It's often so bad that I--believe it or not!--sometimes feel sorry for those who used to fly south in what was "against traffic."

What's the cause of this bottleneck? All earthquake repairs are now done, so that can't be the cause. Can you help? Fellow workers who have to join the southbound traffic share this question, and they can't shed any light on this drastic change in traffic pattern.

Barry Cook

Newhall

Dear Barry:

According to Caltrans spokesman Holland, southbound traffic on that stretch of the San Diego Freeway during the afternoon rush hour has always been heavy. If it seems heavier, Holland said it could be due to the continuing increase in the city's population, or to the carpool lane project that was mentioned in the above letter.

In that project, lane closures only occur at night, well after the afternoon rush hour. However, the concrete barriers that demarcate the construction area may have slowed some travelers down, out of curiosity or caution. However, it seems unlikely that the project would be the culprit, since it is north of the Ventura Freeway.

Dear Traffic Talk:

I feel we have lost a lot of young lives to traffic accidents in the San Fernando Valley. We recently lost a boy, a friend of my family, to such an accident. We had known Chris since he was 5 years old, and his mother was completely devoted to him.

It seems that so many people are killed running red lights these days. They don't realize that a car is a loaded gun, ready to go off at any time. The Police Department needs to focus on traffic safety. When a child is killed in a traffic accident, he is just as dead as if he were killed in a homicide. We as a society need to address this more actively.

Becky Leveque

Northridge

Traffic Talk appears Fridays in The Times Valley Edition. Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about traffic in the Valley. Please write to Traffic Talk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311. Include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers. Letters may be edited, and no anonymous letters will be accepted. To record your comments, call (818) 772-3303. Fax letters to (818) 772-3385.

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