In the story "Smog May Force Major Changes for Area Drivers" {Metro, Sept. 12}, it is reported that "dramatic steps" may have to be taken to deal with air pollution from automobiles. Yet the steps emphasized are not those that would reduce automobile traffic but ones that would somewhat reduce the pollution emitted by the automobiles by changing the fuel that they use.

This is an example of our society's penchant for addressing problems in isolation. On another day there will be an article about the problems of congestion caused by increasing automobile traffic, and on still another, an article on the environmental degradation that will be caused by new road building. One day there may even be an article on the health effects of the noise pollution caused by our region's huge volume of traffic.

It is only when these problems are considered in isolation that ideas such as using technological fixes to deal with air pollution can be considered. When all of the problems are looked at together it is clear that the solution is to reduce the use of automobiles.

People must be allowed a choice when it comes to transportation. There must be greatly expanded public transportation so that people are not forced to use the automobile. We must designate bicycle lanes and make the use of bicycles a safe alternative. In the long run, we must design our communities so that work, shopping and recreation are within walking distance of living places as well as being close to public transportation. For our region's health and quality of life, we must begin to implement this solution now. VICTORIA LINTON Washington