Later bar hours bring OT | Sept. 12, story
Don't hand taxpayers the bill
I am amazed at the casual reporting about the new bar hours in downtown St. Petersburg. Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for police overtime to patrol this extra nuisance to our "lively downtown."
Although this article implies that this is not impacting the budget very much as yet, it will, as more alcohol-needy folks hang out at these bars rather than going home at a reasonable hour.
Let there be an additional tax on any alcohol sold in this extended hour. The consumers will never feel it, and the city coffers will be less depleted. In fact, the difference saved in overtime and the additional tax can offset and decrease the nice jump our City Council is contemplating for our water use, a commodity that all taxpayers need.
Penny Flaherty, St. Petersburg
The Pier can be made fun, exciting again
Yes, St. Petersburg, your Pier can be morphed into a grand, fun and exciting new, world-class attraction:
1. Either renovate or rebuild the end.
2. Remove the road section of the pier.
3. Replace the road section with a "pedestrian only" walkway for fishermen and those who prefer to march over the water for exercise.
4. Install a funicular (cable car) from shore out to the end so visitors can ride over the water.
Once complete, both residents and visitors will say (to paraphrase Gerald McGrew in Dr. Seuss' If I Ran the Zoo), "By thunder, this New Pier is really a wonder."
W. S. Schaill, St. Petersburg
It's in the spotlight
Can someone please tell me: If the Pier is such an eyesore and needs to be torn down, why is it showcased on every televised Tampa Bay Rays home game? Now to borrow a line from Ernest Hooper: That's all I'm saying.
Bill Owen, Pinellas Park
Share the road
People have to remember that the laws in Florida give a bicyclist the same rights to use the roadway as any other vehicle that uses them. But bicyclists have to obey the laws just like a motor vehicle, which they usually don't.
And if the roadway is not 14 feet wide or wide enough for a vehicle and a bicycle to be side by side then it is considered substandard and a bicycle rider can take the whole lane if he needs it or wants it.
Bicyclists should be ticketed for infractions, but vehicle drivers should know what the laws are and what impeding traffic really means. A group of bicyclists in the roadway is not considered by law as impeding traffic; slowing it down, but not impeding it. And there should not be "bicycle lanes" but all should just share the road.
Keith M. Johnson, St. Petersburg
I am an avid cyclist who rides regularly — both solo and in large groups — on the streets of St. Petersburg. Since the mayor's well publicized "crackdown" on cyclists violating traffic laws a few weeks ago, I have noticed a distinct increase in motorist aggression toward cyclists, including unnecessary horn blasts, verbal obscenities, one-fingered salutes, and passing dangerously close.
It's true that some cyclists blatantly and arrogantly abuse their right to the road. However, what is really needed is the adoption of more progressive cycling laws.
Asserting that traffic laws should treat motorists and cyclists equally is absurd. Cyclists have no bodily protection and only have limited capabilities to accelerate, brake and maneuver to avoid accidents and maintain traffic flow with automobiles. While cyclists may inconvenience motorists on occasion, they are never a threat to motorists' safety.
The most problematic traffic law for cyclists is the requirement to come to a complete stop at stop signs and traffic lights. This is because cyclists try to maintain a relatively constant speed to conserve energy and minimize gear shifting, and because most serious cyclists now use "clip in" pedals which are cumbersome to disengage and engage in traffic. Requiring a cyclist to come to a complete stop is a comparable hassle to requiring a motorist to stop, put their car in park, get out of their car, get back in their car, and then go again. Furthermore, it actually disrupts traffic flow through intersections by slowing everybody down.
In Idaho, the law allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs and stoplights as stop signs. The Idaho law has been on the books for 27 years with no elevated accidents or fatalities, and is an excellent model for the state of Florida and local governments to follow.
Doug Robison, St. Petersburg
Rudeness on roads
I recently moved to St. Petersburg, not because I wanted to but because I had to. I am from Minnesota and it seems like every Florida driver, once they see my plates, goes out of his or her way to be rude. I have had more "fingers" given to me here on the roads than any time in my life. I am not a senior citizen; I am a conscientious driver. I never got that reaction anywhere else.
Drivers here seem to take a grudge against Northerners no matter what we do. Floridians need to remember that we bring lots of dollars to their state. A state with nearly 12 percent unemployment should be glad we pay the taxes we do and appreciate seeing us.
Carmen Hayes, St. Petersburg