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Letters to the Editor: Will you be able to use the new 405 lanes in O.C.? It’s complicated

Traffic on the 405 Freeway.
Construction takes place to widen the 405 Freeway in Costa Mesa in 2019.
(Marc Martin / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: I live near the north end of the stretch of the 405 Freeway that will have new toll and carpool lanes. I’ve been confused about which drivers can use the lanes, and the information in your article did not clarify matters much.

Say I want to use the lanes between Seal Beach and Irvine. Let me get out my checklist.

Am I on a motorcycle? Check. Two or three people in the car? Check. Do I have disabled person or veteran plates? Check. Am I in a clean-air vehicle? Check, but I get only a 15% discount.

So, maybe I can use the new lanes. But wait, there’s more.

What is the day of the week? What direction am I traveling? What’s the time of day? Is it peak or off-peak driving hours? And do I have a transponder?

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Those of us who live near the 405 may grow accustomed to this, but about people traveling through Orange County? Will they have to pull over to evaluate their eligibility to use the new lanes?

Currently, there is much abuse of the existing carpool lanes on this part of the 405 and little visible enforcement. I hope officials come up with reasonable, enforceable recommendations to the benefit of all those using the freeway.

Peter L. Haaker, Westminster

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To the editor: We cannot build our way, by adding lanes, out of our traffic nightmare. Light rail must be fast-tracked if traffic is ever to ease.

I commuted 55 miles to UCLA each way for work for years. I drove a car with a sticker to put me in the carpool lane. Every day I witnessed people driving as singles without stickers in the carpool lane.

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The only way to truly address this nightmare is to get people out of single-occupant cars and onto fast, safe rail.

Let the building begin. I’d happily pay the taxes.

Alison M. Grimes, Yorba Linda

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To the editor: It’s my understanding that one of the purposes of the new 405 lanes is to encourage carpooling. Great idea.

However, the new rules stump me. Now those with disabled plates can use the toll lane for free? What does that have to do with speeding up travel times or carpooling? And how many of us know people who use other drivers’ disability plates?

The lanes should be used for carpools and motorcycles, period. Otherwise, they will be just like any other lane — a crowded mess.

Mary Kay Allen, Cypress

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To the editor: Adding extra lanes to freeways to ease congestion does not work. Remember the saying, “If you build it, they will come.”

In Los Angeles, the added carpool lanes on the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass cost $1.6 billion and did nothing to improve traffic. Please do not continue to add lanes or tolls.

Laurie Kelson, Encino

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