St. Pete's $1 million bike bet | Nov. 24
Where cars crash, I won't ride
The 1.7 mile section of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N in St. Petersburg is a resurfacing project that resulted in the addition of two bike lanes and the deletion of a southbound lane. It is first and foremost a resurfacing project. The street was not widened and would have been resurfaced anyway. So this is not a $1 million bike lane project. The actual cost presented to the City Council was $833,000 for the total project with $73,000 for painting. There are eight lines in the new roadway; two of those lines designate the bike lane. Assume 30 percent for painting the bike lane, signage, etc., and that results in a cost of $22,000 to add bike lanes. Not nearly a million bucks.
But should riders ignore the investment in these new lanes? Absolutely, in my eyes as a business owner in the middle of this repaved and reduced traffic road. Traffic southbound regularly stacks up waiting for the light at 22nd Avenue N because there is only one vehicle lane. I have witnessed three rear-end collisions outside of my office due to this traffic gridlock pushed on us by City Hall. As an avid bike rider that rides more than 75 miles a week I will not use a lane that is a ready escape for a car about to rear end another.
The loss of a southbound lane on this street has hindered the efficient movement of traffic. St. Petersburg's "Complete Streets" program is nothing more than an attempt to garner another meaningless award for the city as having the first- or second-most bike lanes for a city its size, but they are not connected in a coherent way and are often more dangerous than what came before.
Gregory J. Cahanin, St. Petersburg
5 ways Florida can improve elections | Editorial, Nov. 25
Fix overseas voting
This editorial's suggestions are a good start at getting things in order. However, one issue not addressed is that of overseas votes not reaching the supervisors of elections in time to be counted even though they were sent early enough to arrive on time. Some don't seem to have arrived at all. We need to investigate why this happened and how widespread it was. A friend of mine that is an overseas voter has lost all confidence in our elections system. He was told his ballot did not arrive even though it was sent in plenty of time. I know he is not alone. We need to demand a formal investigation. All voters need to be assured that their vote will count.
Jay Yingling, Tampa
Everybody, vote by mail
It seems to me that Oregon has the right idea on voting: Everyone votes by mail. Every eligible registered voter receives a mail-in ballot. Give us all a month to peruse the ballot and read the various questions, fill it out and mail it in or drop it off. Then we have a bipartisan team count the ballots by hand. No one has to worry about getting time off work to vote. No one has to stand in a long line waiting to vote. Old school seems like the way to go — everywhere.
Melinda N. Dube, Clearwater
Good guys with guns: Watch out | Letter, Nov. 29
Keep guns out altogether
The concept of bringing guns into schools is ludicrous. The objective should be to keep all guns out of schools. We succeed in keeping guns out of concert halls, courthouses and aircraft. Of course, we keep guns out of schools.
Colin Ward, St. Petersburg