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Metro area needs a modern approach
I appreciate the perspective on streetcars from state Sen. David Osmek and state Rep. Linda Runbeck (“Why the Legislature should put brakes on streetcar dreams,” Jan. 18). In further support of their position, there are operational efficiencies and future technologies that should be included in the discussion.
First, Metro Transit has not employed fast boarding and exiting of buses, as it does on light rail. It takes too much time to load buses when passengers are tunneled to one door where they must pay with cash or swipe a card under the scrutiny of the driver. I have lived the last three years in Bratislava, Slovakia, where fast boarding and exiting are the norm. It takes fewer than 30 seconds to allow 20 people to get off and another 20 to get on a bus. Passengers buy tickets or passes in advance of the trip, and spot checkers are employed to assure that the system is not abused.
Second, the planners are not taking into account a future that will include self-driving cars. Major auto manufacturers, along with Google and others, are developing technologies that will allow greater flexibility and performance of cars, trucks, buses and roads. So, rather than building a 21st-century system based on streetcar technology, the Legislature and regional transportation planners should look to others who are promising far more sophisticated and flexible transit solutions.
Bill Fredell, Edina
Yet another misery for air travelers
Gambling at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the profits it may reap for the Metropolitan Airports Commission is not my concern (“MSP may widen gambling,” Jan. 20). My concern is the focus on profit over the comfort of passengers as they wait to board flights.
By replacing ample passenger seating and waiting space (on the G Concourse, for example), with iPad-sprouting tables, the commission and airlines have created a cluttered mess for people waiting for flights. Add the attraction of electronic lottery games, and I see the comfort level deteriorating even more.
Isn’t it enough that most passengers will be crammed into planes with cramped seating and stuffed overhead bins for the next several hours? Does anybody have any concern for the comfort of travelers who can’t avail themselves of the relaxed atmosphere of airline sky clubs?
BILL STEINBICKER, Minnetonka
U.S. intelligence community: an analogy
So the leaders of the U.S. intelligence establishment “believe” that Edward Snowden must have had help from a foreign government. Am I the only one who thinks these folks look more like a group of well-dressed, smug adults standing around a small child in a high chair with scrambled eggs all over their faces and clothes, grousing that the baby must have had adult help?
M.H. DONAHUE, St. Paul
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.