Letters to the Editor

[Editor's Note: The following letter was sent to the SF Board of Supervisors upon the approval of improvements on Polk, Arguello.]

Car Critical Mass

Dear Supervisors,

Many of the Citizens of San Francisco have had enough of the preferential treatment of the Bicycle Coalition in the City.

The thoughtlessness with which bike lanes are established, endangering both bike riders and car drivers is no longer tolerable. The infrastructure of the City does not lend itself to simply take away lanes from the automobile traffic and leave more chaos behind, than was there before. And chaos is just another word for traffic here.

Like it or not, automobile traffic is the lifeline for transportation and for distribution of goods and services. Without it, this town will not enjoy the prosperity it enjoys currently. The latest attack on automobile traffic and business owners on Polk Street calls for some response by automobile users and by small business owners who are again threatened by your actions. It is the small business owners who create the jobs and on Polk Street you have just told them that you don't care.

If you do it on Polk Street, what keeps you from destroying other business corridors in the City? For Mark Leno, who bills himself as a small business advocate, I say, with friends like you who needs enemies.

I am organizing a protest similar to the critical mass events for late June 1999. A route has been identified and a permit is being obtained from the police department.

Be aware that we car drivers will be as organized as any organization.

Rolf Dieter Mueller
San Francisco

Putting the Gas-Out

Dear Editor,

While the Gas-Out on April 30th tried to send a message to the big oil companies, I doubt this can make a difference unless more people change our driving habits.

Twelve years ago I decided to use a bicycle, and this has changed my life. It has helped me deal with anxiety and depression, kept me in good shape, and saved money. Consider this driver in the Houston area (from the book Asphalt Nation, by Jane Holtz Kay): "...(a) young man who drove me to the airport says he lives 30 miles from school, a one-hour drive each way. His 2 1/2 year-old truck has 78,000 miles on it and he hasn't been anywhere. Fifty times the Odyssey, eight times the travels of Marco Polo, how many times the walks of Leopold Bloom? And with what density of experience, what learned in his 78,000 mile journey?"

According to the Federal Highway Administration's Nationwide Personal Transportation Study, most vehicle trips are errands. Only 8% of America's car travel is for vacations or long-distance travel.

The biggest threat to the oil companies is that Americans will question their automobile dependence. Let's make every day a Gas-Out!

Doreen M. Horstin
San Francisco

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