Letters: Narrowing streets an excuse for government to spend

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12:00 a.m. Sunday, March 4, 2018 Opinion

Narrowing streets

an excuse to spend

Narrowing wide multilane streets seems to be the latest wrinkle politicians and their consultants can point at to say, “Look what I have done for you.”

A while back, North Palm Beach decided to develop a master plan. They hired a consulting firm funded by local governments, no less. One of their ideas was to narrow U.S. 1 to encourage pedestrian use.

I was asked as a local citizen and retired engineer and senior executive to talk with the consultants. I made two points:

First, the almost year-round heat does not encourage a lot of pedestrian use. In my experience, most Floridians go to the beach, go shopping, go to restaurants and use the sidewalks primarily to exercise in the early morning, late afternoon and traveling from point A to point B. I don’t see existing sidewalks as being overcrowded.

Second, our forefathers had the wisdom to plan expansive streets here to maintain reasonable traffic congestion. Building those multilane streets cost many millions of taxpayer dollars. Now politicians and their consultants want to spend many more millions to narrow them. I told the consultant that just didn’t make sense. His response was that there were tax dollars out there and didn’t I want to get my share? I was flabbergasted.

And politicians wonder why I have no respect for them.

This wrinkle seems to be contagious. I understand Tequesta is now narrowing a multilane street. And now West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio is pushing to jump on the bandwagon.


Time for adults to

stand with, and for, kids

On Saturday, March 24, there will be a massive “March For Our Lives” demonstration in Washington and countless other cities.

Parkland survivors such as Emma Gonzalez and Cameron Kasky are among the student leaders who have bravely initiated this project. As a retired teacher, I was deeply moved to see Cameron look into TV cameras and say, “At this point, you are either with us or against us.”

So far, President Donald Trump has been a weak and ineffective leader on gun control. Congress has lived up to its reputation as a place where good ideas go to die. After Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and many other mass shootings — nothing.

But hope springs eternal. These young students have touched a nerve. George and Amal Clooney, along with Oprah Winfrey, have pledged $1 million and will march with the kids on March 24. Edward Stack, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, has announced they will no longer sell assault-style rifles. An increasing number of companies are severing ties with the NRA.

We adults have failed to protect these children. What we can do now is keep the pressure on in whatever way we can, right up until the 24th and after. Any fight for rights (e.g., women’s voting rights, civil rights) has taken time and courage.

Now is the time; the kids have the courage.


Take a cue from

how we treat pets

Recently, the news has been dominated by the killings at the Parkland high school similar to many other killings in recent years. Our society has changed drastically since the days of “Gunsmoke,” where you never saw a bullet tear up a person’s face, and “Car 54, Where Are You?” where nobody was ever shot.

There was a great story in The Post about Florida bringing numerous dogs and pets from Puerto Rico to be adopted. The dogs don’t speak Spanish. Our dogs don’t speak English. But all dogs are living organisms that respond to kindness and respect. Maybe our society needs to consider treating ourselves the way that we treat our lovable animals.