Readers Write: (Aug. 26): Commuting times, the prison system, invasive species, golf and the middle class, the digital age, Ebola survivor

  • Updated: August 25, 2014 - 6:44 PM

The Green Line may be slow, but the freeway is unpredictable.

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The first trains on the Green Line prepared to leave the station after an official ribbon cutting ceremony June 14 at Union Station in St. Paul.

Photo: DAVID JOLES • djoles@startribune.com,

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The Aug. 21 editorial (“Green Line needs more green lights”) states that the train would finish second in “an end-to-end race with a good long-distance runner.”

Actually, a top distance runner would have trouble beating the train’s best time if dealing with the same conditions. In real-world road races, cars are banned from the course. And, of course, running sub-5-minute miles is not a practical year-round commuting strategy even for the very fit.

I travel regularly from my home in Golden Valley to a location on Franklin Avenue near the Mississippi River. Usually, I go by bicycle, but on a recent day I had to make the trip by car. On two wheels, the trip consistently takes me 35 minutes because I can take a direct route over a combination of bike trails and lightly traveled streets. When driving, the freeway is my only practical option, but my travel time fluctuates widely with traffic — from a personal best of about 12 minutes to (on this particular day) 40.

As a real-world commuter using all modes, I prefer predictable times over record times. And I see that auto traffic and infrastructure — above all other factors — seem responsible for the difficulty in consistently achieving either one.

Charles Quimby, Golden Valley

THE PRISON SYSTEM

It’s not just the future we should care about

While grateful to learn of the enlightened decision to ban the use of restraints while inmates are giving birth and giving incarcerated moms-to-be access to a birthing coach during delivery (“State takes a gentler approach to pregnant women behind bars,” Aug. 22), I was nevertheless appalled to read the careless comment by the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Carolyn Laine: “It’s not about these women as much as it is the future citizens of our society.” Really? It’s just about the baby?

Her comment strikes a heartless discordant note with the rest of the story. Obviously, unshackling a woman in delivery has intrinsic value for the mom and the newborn.

The Rev. Susan M. Moss, St. Paul

 

INVASIVE SPECIES

DNR is missing an opportunity to educate

I read the Aug. 22 article concerning the upgrades the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources feels are needed to its State Fair building (“DNR wants some TLC”). I was at the State Fair on Friday, and while we can debate the merits of what the DNR is asking for, one of the agency’s priorities should be educating the public about invasive species. It was very disappointing to visit the DNR building and discover that the room devoted to invasive species closes at 6 p.m. It was roped off and the room was dark. All of the “feel-good” displays were open for viewing.

Our governor said in a different article last week that the advantage of the State Fair is that you can stand in one place and the entire state walks by. The entire state needs to be educated about invasive species and their impact on their lives. The DNR needs to get its priorities straight.

Steve McCulloch, Plymouth

 

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