I agree with Mary K. Shell's letter to the editor criticizing the disrepair of our city streets ("Westpark bulldozing would be a big waste," March 18). I disagree with her strongly that "nobody seems to want" the freeway that would disrupt the Westpark neighborhood. Typical of other writers criticizing the Westpark route, Shell offers no alternative solutions. Surely she does not believe a third dead-end freeway in Bakersfield is a solution.

More than a half-million people live in the Bakersfield metro area. Highway 58 is the extension of Interstate 40 from the East Coast connecting with Highway 99 and Interstate 5. Today, commercial truck traffic mixes with the fast-growing west suburbs of our community on Rosedale Highway, often creating gridlock. Distribution is a major growth engine for our area, and if we want to put the brakes on this growth, then watch as the traffic bottlenecks of today get worse.

Connecting Highway 58 through Bakersfield and streamlining the Highway 178/24th Street mess are absolutely necessary for our city's future. Come on, Mary, where are the problem solving skills you exhibited as mayor?