Email letters, November 25, 2013
Bike lanes create
serious safety hazards
Where I used to live, bicycle commuting was easier because roads did not have bike lanes.
On Monument Road, motorists must swerve into the oncoming lane to miss, cyclists “voting with their handlebars” against the bike lanes, presumably to avoid the inevitable debris wherever the sweeping effect of passing car tires is disallowed.
Bike lanes guiding cyclists toward opening car doors are potential death traps. On mixed-use trails like the Riverfront in Grand Junction, pedestrians get buzzed by cyclists who don’t give a proper passing warning.
Trails committees not only seem blind to these hazards, they hype this stuff as a panacea (“for the children”) and even demand funding priority over, e.g., law enforcement agencies.
Bike lanes and mixed-use paths are not substitutes for bikeable roads. They also do not reduce the knowledge and judgment needed to ride without harming oneself or others. And people who do not realize this get coaxed onto bikes they can’t ride safely. We end up
with more people (with and without spandex) cycling like confused wildlife, a danger to all and an embarrassment to safe cyclists.
For safer cycling: 1) Eliminate the opening-car-door traps ASAP. Warn
children to avoid them. 2) Eliminate remaining bike lane markings, so car tires can sweep gravel from the full, shared width. 3) Money permitting, widen roads. 4) Remove bike lanes from the Urban Trails Master Plan. Instead, indicate wide, debris-free roads. 5) Minimize bike versus pedestrian interactions by limiting mixed-use paths. 6) Related to all the above, get trails committees out of the bike traffic planning business, not just to save money, but to reverse their mistakes and pave the way for safer cycling.
Colorado needs new rules
for oil, gas air quality
As a practicing respiratory therapist for over 30 years, I’ve seen
firsthand the devastating effects of lung disease on the citizens of our community. The quality of the air we breathe is important to everyone, but especially to those people who have to cope with diseases such as asthma and emphysema.
Colorado is aiming to be the healthiest state in the nation and recently, Gov. John Hickenlooper took a step in that direction by proposing rules to keep Colorado’s air clean and healthy. I am thrilled that these proposed air quality rules contain strong protections against the pollution from the oil and gas processes.
It’s encouraging to witness collaboration between the oil and gas
industry, environmental groups and the fovernor’s office. I look forward to seeing this collaboration continue until the these rules are made final.
Colorado would be the first state in the nation to regulate methane
emissions from oil and gas operations, greatly decreasing the impact these processes have on our climate.
Colorado must lead when it comes to protecting our health and combating climate change. These rules would make us a trend-setter across the nation, so let’s make it to the finish line and finalize rules we can be proud of.
RICKY R. SMITH
BLM must ensure protection
of backcountry hunting
Hunting big game in wild backcountry is one of my lifelong passions. While the time spent tromping around with rifle or bow in impossibly rough off-trail terrain amounts to only a week or two each year, there’s much more to it. The whole experience includes scouting trips, poring over maps, scheming and dreaming about future hunts over beers and last years elk steak, and living it all over through the photos and stories told on storm bound winter days. Hunting has provided some of the best times spent with my son as well as old and new friends.
Here in western Colorado we are blessed with a wide variety of different areas and types of terrain to hunt in. We can hunt the high Rockies in September and desert canyons in November. That is an incredible part of the heritage we can choose to pass on to our children and grandchildren.
Unfortunately, as anyone knows who has lived here for a few decades,
population growth, energy development, ATV proliferation and all sorts of other human activities have steadily eroded quality wildlife habitat and backcountry hunting opportunities.
For hunters it is critical that the land management agencies prioritize planning decisions that preserve, protect and enhance undeveloped wildlife habitat, as well as opportunities to hunt in a wild, natural, backcountry setting.
Currently the BLM Grand Junction Field Office and Dominguez–Escalante National Conservation Area are in the process of writing resource management plans that will establish how these areas are managed.
It’s critical that they maintain the wild backcountry lands that hunters and wildlife depend on.
Funding education with lottery
would benefit students
A letter from John Borgen, arguing that all citizens should help pay for school education, is a noble idea. In the real world, most people with kids out of school and retired seniors do not feel the same way. The people I mentioned above do not want their taxes raised for schools, which was obvious in the last election.
By using Powerball and Megamillion money, we can hopefully avoid any
future need of a property tax increase or a vote on a school tax.
And Borgen’s comment about a burden on the poor or lower income does not ring true. People are going to buy Powerball and Megamillion tickets no matter where the money goes. Maybe if the money went to schools, the middle and upper income class might buy a ticket.
GOP threat over filibuster
seems like more of same
Wait a minute, Republican senators are threatening to not cooperate with their Democratic colleagues because they have exercised the nuclear option?
But isn’t that what the Republicans have been doing all along? They have not been cooperating with Dems and now they are threatening to not cooperate! Ha! Is that not hilarious? Doesn’t seem like that threat has much teeth.
Democrats circle wagons
as policies unravel
Let’s Circle the Wagons, let’s pull every nut-cup media hack like Ed
Schultz into the White House and plot our next attack on the GOP. I think Ron Burgundy and Martin Bashir are the only two media twits not invited to the war-room logistics meeting.
So, the definition of doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result is .... Obama.
With the Senate rebuking the filibuster to a simple majority and a big push to put the agenda ahead of common sense and the rights of the citizens, our president needs to recalled or rebooted. I’m pretty sure everybody I talk to is in favor of either.
With the new powers to the EPA through presidential decree, it’s only a matter of time till he ruins all growth industry in western Colorado and invokes martial law.
Penry attack on Obamacare
cannot be taken seriously
I have to chuckle a little when I read Josh Penry’s Nov. 22 take on Obamacare. I doubt that was the response he intended, as I
sense the high dudgeon in his frequent hyperbole, but the fact remains that many of the basic tenets of President Obama’s health care proposal came from the Republican side of the aisle.
The most heinous, invoking the word “socialism,” was the individual mandate. It was early on recognized that no good health care proposal could flourish without universal participation (thank you, Mitt Romney).
Two darlings of the right, The Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute championed this notion almost two decades ago. It seems to me the Republican Party abandoned this idea when it became clear that many Americans were more interested in their
“rights” than their responsibilities.
It is obvious that the implementation of this piece of legislation is at the moment a disaster, but it is difficult to leap from that recognition to the idea that the policy itself is a failure. A leviathan that consumes 18 percent of our GDP isn’t going to be subdued easily or quietly by either political party, and pandering
adds nothing to the resolution. That is why these redundant chest beatings by Penry and his ilk are just so much hollow posturing. There are too many players making too much money from the status quo to see this issue under control any time soon.
Kennedy knew that we must
seek nonpartisan solutions
Isn’t it ironic that after 50 years, as we look back and mourn the death of President John F. Kennedy, we seem to forget one of his most quoted exhortations: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
Sadly, today our country is governed by those who, instead, seem to operate more on the theory that might makes right. If we don’t pay attention, we will get the government we deserve.
Ask American Indians about
trusting federal government
Anyone who will trust the government to take care of them should talk to an Indian.