Expanding our roads must be core solution...


Expanding our roads must be core solution to traffic congestion

The Sun's article "Baltimore's gridlock problem" (May 8) presented a distorted view of the 2001 Urban Mobility Study by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI).

The TTI accurately describes travel and congestion on Baltimore highways and presents a central conclusion as follows: "Road expansions slow the growth in congestion. In areas where the rate of roadway additions were approximately equal to travel growth, travel time grew at about one-fourth to one one-third as fast as areas where traffic volume grew much faster than roads were added."

The Sun's article, however, stopped short of presenting that conclusion and instead quoted Barbara McCann to the effect that building more roads doesn't help relieve congestion.

Ms. McCann represents a special interest group, the Surface Transportation Policy Project, with an anti-highway bias.

The TTI study concludes that road construction by itself cannot entirely solve traffic congestion and that we must rely also on transit, biking, walking and Smart Growth. However, the TTI and most transportation experts agree that, with 95 percent of personal travel in the United States done by motor vehicle, road expansion must remain the dominant solution.

Responsible journalism would have presented all the key findings of the study.

Jack Kinstlinger

Hunt Valley

The writer is chairman emeritus of KCI Technologies.

Investing in public transit is the only way out of gridlock

I'm sure some very smart people are meeting as the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board prepares its Vision 2030 report on traffic. Nevertheless, I can save them time and trouble in formulating their regional plan to alleviate congestion.

A recent Sun poll indicated that, by 53 percent to 33 percent, Marylanders prefer investment in mass transit to building more highways ("Answers put state among progressives," Jan. 10).

On May 8, The Sun reported that in the past five years light rail ridership had increased 38 percent, subway use 17 percent and commuter train use 12 percent ("Baltimore's gridlock problem").

In view of these statistics, investment in public transit as an antidote to gridlock looms as the only viable option.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.


Bush's energy policy is just payoff to the polluters

President Bush's proposed energy policy makes one thing clear: Meeting a growing demand for energy with an increased supply of unclean fuels such as coal and oil is his repayment to those who funded his way to the White House ("Bush puts focus on production in energy plan," May 18).

The notion of "environmentally friendly" oil drilling in our national parks is absurd. Such drilling would tarnish ecosystems meant to be left untouched and perpetuate our polluting, unsustainable cycle of oil consumption.

Although the president pays lip service to efficient technologies such as hybrid cars, measures decreasing our demand for oil seem to be generally ignored.

A greater concentration on conservation could prevent the need for more drilling, and placate fears about America's dependency on foreign oil.

Dave Kloss

White Hall

All of those who voted for Ralph Nader, because it didn't make a difference whether Al Gore or George W. Bush won the presidency, now owe the world an apology.

Terry Weisser


Israel's occupation causes carnage on the West Bank

In The Sun's article, "Jerusalem's mayor sees no end to conflict" ( May 17), Jerusalem's mayor is quoted as saying "We are the ones suffering first and foremost and we have the most to lose."

Absurd notions such as this, combined with the Zionist belief that Jews are somehow entitled to occupy and control Palestinian land, are the reason for the violence in the Middle East.

The conflict will not end, because the Israelis refuse to withdraw their powerful army and invasive settlers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they inflict atrocities daily upon the Palestinians.

The Israeli presence is an act of aggression which results in the Palestinians' continuing struggle for autonomy and to defend what little they have -- often with nothing more than stones.

Paul Baroody


Photo of Israeli retaliation presents a one-sided picture

On May 18 a Palestinian suicide bomber killed himself and five Israelis at a mall entrance in Netanya, Israel.

But as usual, while The Sun ran a picture of the retaliatory raid by Israeli, it failed to be even-handed by showing simultaneously a picture of the Netanya bombing.

The New York Times, reporting the same story on the same day, had the decency to print pictures of both episodes.

It is regrettable that these events are occurring, but The Sun should at least present the stories fairly.

Alleck A. Resnick


Unsafe streets prevent riding bicycles to work

I wish sweat and "helmet head" were the only impediments to biking to work ("Bicycling to work isn't a very practical option," letters, May 20). They certainly wouldn't stop me, if it were safe to ride my bike to work.

What really keeps people, including serious cyclists who log hundreds of miles per week, from commuting by bike are heavy traffic and speeding and careless drivers on roads whose designers ignored the needs of pedestrians and cyclists.

Yes, public transportation is extremely important. So are bike- and pedestrian-friendly roads.

Janet Goldstein


Investments in culture benefit the entire region

County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger's proposal to increase financial support for the Baltimore Symphony, Maryland Science Center and other cultural institutions is good news for our entire region ("Balto. Co. ups ante for city arts," May 16).

These institutions provide pleasure and education opportunities to all visitors, whether or not they are city residents.

And surely when the County Council considers county residents' attendance at these cultural institutions, it will realize that its constituents will appreciate these investments on their behalf.

Helen Ramia


Don't give Rep. Ehrlich any more free publicity

Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich is another rich Republican who wants to take our tax money to pay for private schools ("GOP can be good for largely Democratic Maryland," Opinion * Commentary, May 22).

Mr. Ehrlich is also anti-environment, pro-gun and was a mediocre student at private schools who never worked a real job in his life. He sounds exactly like the appointed president.

Yet, for some reason The Sun has been building him up as the Republican voice in Maryland, while ignoring our most conscientious Republican, Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, who has a working background and tries to protect the environment.

Please stop giving Mr. Ehrlich free publicity; he is already well supplied with ignorance of Maryland's needs.

Roger Fitzgerald


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