Regarding “Want a happy commute? Try biking,” April 26: What hogwash and propaganda, and you, Star Tribune, are a willful accomplice.
By your own statistics, between 2-4% of the population commutes by bike. These bicycle lane projects are very expensive, and creating them is not the end of the story; they must also be maintained while wasting the ever-decreasing and congested road space.
Let’s cut to the chase — this is not about happy commuters biking to work. This is about the long game, the ever-present nudging to getting people out of their cars. Sometimes it is presented as green, other times as healthy, and this time as an assertion we will be happier if we find any way but a car to get to work. The lack of parking places, increase in parking fees and tickets, residential buildings permitted with no parking — all contribute to this goal.
This communitarian attitude deliberately if subtly excludes many, if not most, citizens. Biking to work is great for 24-year-old men in the prime of life, but not so “happy” for the working mom of three, the handicapped and the infirm, to name a few. We would like taxpayer money used on roads we can use, too.
Elizabeth Anderson, Minnetonka
MINNEAPOLIS PARKING RATES
Increases will drive changes, all right, but which ones?
I am writing in regard to parking price increases in downtown Minneapolis (“Meter rate hike aims to change habits,” April 21). I surmise even with the increases, rates probably are on par or even below those of other major U.S. cities. Does that make it right?
I do not have the answer, only observations. Overall, those who already come downtown probably will continue to do so. I think it is a deterrent for those who currently do not. I do think it affects those with lower incomes and the middle class more.
Does increasing rates and having limited free parking improve safety by reducing potential crime? Outside of visitors to the Twin Cities, the most recent price increase to public transportation, while modest, led to less ridership, I read. The parking price increases are even more steep.
Maybe I am a dinosaur who chooses not to drive downtown to venues when paying for parking is required. On occasion I do use public transportation. It does seem to me, though, that more space should be available for free parking at night and on weekends. The beneficiaries of those who do not want or will not pay for parking often are the suburbs and other areas that offer free parking.So, indeed, the consumer may still be adding to the economy, but in different parts of the metropolitan area.
Gordie Hayes, Shakopee
• • •
The April 21 article quotes Tim Drew, parking system manager for Minneapolis, who explains that revenue will be put toward street repairs but that “the biggest reason is to change people’s behavior.” While this behavior change certainly applies to residential and downtown workers who will have to start using ramps or lots, it could also apply to drivers who may switch to using alternative modes of transportation — metro transit, walking, biking or ride sharing.
Understandably, some Minnesota drivers, particularly frequent travelers or residents of the city, oppose changes that cost them money and convenience. However, in the bigger picture, benefits outweigh the costs. Currently, at global to local levels, we are experiencing effects of urban growth and climate change — neither of which is going away anytime soon. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found that the transportation sector has become the leader in carbon-dioxide emissions — a major contributor to global warming. Furthermore, tailpipe emissions negatively impact air quality, leading to numerous health problems, such as asthma. Urban and disadvantaged communities are disproportionately affected. While a couple of more dollars or limited parking time may not make everyone start biking or using transit, it at least sparks the consideration of driving alternatives. Investments and improvements in public transit availability and infrastructure won’t attract car owners as long as driving in the city remains convenient and cheap. Unfortunately, the threat of climate change in itself is often not enough to change people’s behavior; disruption to individual lives will be a necessary, and inevitable, driving force.
Sarah Greene, St. Paul
POLICE ‘WARRIOR TRAINING’
Word choice has an impact on citizens’ confidence? Indeed!
“Unpleasant police outcomes” is a whopper of a euphemism for innocent people being killed by police (“Not well-named, maybe, but ‘Warrior Training’ is highly valuable,” editorial counterpoint, April 25). I can sympathize with police officers wanting to ensure they make it home safe, but language like this doesn’t inspire much confidence that this training leads officers to feel the same about me.
Mike Phillips, Minneapolis
Expression of regret to Anita Hill is curiously timed to latest campaign
It is remarkable that former Sen. and Vice President Joe Biden recently sought Anita Hill’s forgiveness for his failure to ensure that she was treated fairly in 1991 (“ ‘I’m sorry’ is not enough, Anita Hill says,” April 26). He’s had 28 years to publicly apologize, and it is only now, as he sees that his weakness during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas at that time may hinder his run for the presidency, that he does it.
I agree with Hill that he has not shown sufficient change and has not taken sufficient responsibility for what happened. Has anyone seen Biden at a Women’s March? Did I miss his apology in his 2007 book “Promises to Keep”? We need a leader with moral courage and an understanding of what equality and fairness mean. The Supreme Court might not have a conservative majority today if Biden had treated Hill with fairness and equality. Is he ready to admit and apologize for that, too?
Betty Hartnett, Wayzata
Writer offended by South St. Paul students’ request has this coming:
Um — exactly how is a public celebration of one’s ancestry, heritage, or affiliation a “display of dual loyalty”? (Readers Write, April 25.) Loyalty split between what? The school and the student’s histories or beliefs? America and those “others”? Exactly what point is being made in a letter opposing South St. Paul Secondary students’ request to wear sashes celebrating their identities at their commencement ceremony, besides ignorance and intolerance?
And “un-Americanism”!? Really? Did not dozens of countries supply those nation-builders that preceded, then created, modern America?
I, a disabled veteran of Norman French heritage, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and general “Irishness” because my paternal line went Normandy-England-Scotland-Ireland-America, and as far back as my maternal line goes, it’s Southern Ireland-America. And I graduated from a suburban Indianapolis high school with an orange-and-green Celtic knot on my mortarboard. In 1978. Gee, we’ve come so far. Kids wanting ethnic recognition have to be quelled, and the insensitive write what they imagine to be well-thought-out, scathing support of an already culturally/economically biased system.
Escort the students out if they persist, and mail their diplomas, as the letter writer suggests? To work so hard and overcome so much, and be denied by a system that made it hard in the first place? I predict lawsuits that the letter writer and other taxpayers get to fund — and they’ll lose. How ’merican is that?
I’m simply amazed and aghast that any so-called “adult” in 2019 would feel so negatively and strongly to submit such hurtful folderol. Graduation Day is for the kids, not pseudo-patriotic posturing. I’m long-distance proud of these kids. Check yerself, old white guy, and let ’em fly.
Ryan Corman, Fargo, N.D.