Wednesday’s letters: Mass transit success comes from thinking big and taking small steps

Published April 30
Updated May 2

Support lacking for BRT | May 1

On transit, think big by taking small steps

Without mutual cooperation among the leaders of the tri-county Tampa Bay area, mass transit will never take place. A perfect example of such cooperation exists in the Portland, Ore., metropolitan area. State and local officials in three counties have, during the course of the previous four decades, exhibited exemplary leadership by collaborating to create a robust regional transit system that works exceedingly well. There are four main systems of transportation designed to keep as many automobiles off the road as possible: light rail, a streetcar, an aerial tram and a comprehensive bus system.

In addition, Portland also promotes a culture that encourages cycling and walking, with many bicycle lanes, something the Tampa Bay area is sorely lacking, frequently with fatal consequences. Indeed, apartment buildings with no parking facilities are being built in parts of Portland, encouraging people to either walk, cycle or take public transportation.

Thousands of motor vehicles are off the streets because Portland had the vision decades ago to implement these multiple modes of transit one by one as funding became available. The system has helped the massive influx of newcomers in recent years get around much easier than they would have otherwise, thanks to the foresight of these innovative leaders. In 2016, Portland was a finalist in the national Smart City Challenge. The Tampa Bay area? Nowhere on the list. Until such time as the tri-county Tampa Bay area decides that collaboration is in the best interests of its citizens, the area will not achieve its goal of attracting well-paying jobs and smart growth. It should do what Portland did ó think big but take small incremental steps. I know. I lived there for 33 years until moving to Florida five years ago as worsening health made it necessary to live closer to my sister.

Gail Lowy, Largo

Par for this course | May 1, letter

Hereís some good news

Unemployment is way down, the number of folks on food stamps is down, the economy is humming and after previous administrations kicked the can down the road on North Korea, we have a good possibility of peace on the Korean peninsula. Yet a letter writer complains President Donald Trump didnít attend the White House Correspondentsí Dinner. He was smart in not attending that fiasco. Why would anyone want to sit there and get insulted? So far Trump is getting America on the right track, and that is what matters to me.

Robert Butler, Tampa

A vicious Wolf gives Trump
the last laugh | May 1, column

Candidly? Not funny

Peter Funtís old dad, Alan, always seemed charming enough. Maybe because we didnít know his politics. We know Peterís now. He does not approve of Michelle Wolfís jokes at the White House Correspondentsí Dinner. He says she was "cruel, unfunny, profane, a Saturday Night Massacre of Dignity and Common Sense." Take Funtís adjectives and descriptions, and multiply them by a million, and you have Trumpís life and presidency from the start to the present. And obviously, Trump is in a position to do catastrophically more damage with his sickening moral defects than Wolf ever will be, and heís doing it aggressively.

Steve Douglas, St. Petersburg

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