The article by Roger K. Lewis on the Whitehurst Freeway {Real Estate, July 7} was chock full of inaccuracies and screamed of elitism.

First, let's give the District credit. City officials studied the problem of the deteriorating Whitehurst Freeway at length and heard from all sides, including the elitist crew that wants a nicer view from the high-rises near Georgetown. For cost, simplicity and traffic flow, repairing the freeway won out. No, it won't improve traffic flow, but neither would any of the other designs that were rejected.

Second, the freeways in New York and San Francisco cited by Mr. Lewis were not torn down in the interest of aesthetics or to improve traffic. In New York, portions of the road collapsed because of poor maintenance, and several miles had to be removed because they could not be saved. A replacement roadway will be built, which will be a freeway or something very close to it. The delay was associated with the massive Westway development project, which called for filling in portions of the waterfront.

In the case of San Francisco, those who wanted a more pleasing view of the waterfront from their ritzy homes tried to have the freeway torn down a few years ago. However, the public objected because the road (even incomplete) served traffic needs, and the freeway had become a landmark to many.

The lesson is that, of course, inner-city freeways will clog as the area grows. But drivers have shown that they still think freeways are preferred routes compared with arterial streets with lights, pedestrians, commercial traffic, schools, etc. The answer is to improve capacity and design of freeways whenever they need a major overhaul (every 15 to 20 years). Arterial roads, even with synchronized lights, cannot match the efficiency of freeways.