Many local schools have adopted...

QUESTION OF THE MONTH

September 01, 2001

QUESTION OF THE MONTH

Many local schools have adopted stricter dress codes that bar short skirts and shorts, tank tops, crop tops and other revealing attire.

Do you support such restrictions? Do you regard such fashions as a distraction from learning or valid self-expression?

Do bare shoulders, thighs and navels in school make it hard to concentrate on studies?Responses are due by Sept. 24.

We are looking for 300 words or less; the deadline is June 25. Letters become the property of The Sun, which reserves the right to edit them. By submitting a letter, the author grants The Sun an irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use and republish the letter, in whole or in part, in all media and to authorize others to reprint it.

Letters should include your name and address, along with a day and evening telephone number. E-mail us: letters@baltsun.com; write us: Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001; fax us: 410-332-6977.

Depending on our cars exacts a very heavy toll

Yes, it's dangerous for pedestrians out there - and for bicyclists, too ("'Yield to pedestrians' rule run over by dangerous commuter bullies," Opinion*Commentary, Aug. 22).

We can address the problem by "yield to pedestrians" laws, "share the road" signs, and calls for more civility. But we can also address the larger issue of traffic congestion, which seems to be creating ever more rude, aggressive and dangerous behavior.

Why are our streets so clogged? Because for the last 80 years we have subsidized cars far more than public transportation. The average Amtrak passenger, for example, pays about 80 percent of the cost of his or her trip, with the government picking up the rest. The average suburban commuter pays only about 25 percent of the cost of his or her trip.

We often don't see the true cost of our dependence on cars, because so much of it is hidden.

But consider the cost of road building and maintenance, subsidized parking and the land it sits on, police and other emergency services, the environmental damage caused by our dependence on cars and of crumbling neighborhoods as our zoning laws and other policies encourage creation of increasingly distant suburbs.

And consider the rise in respiratory problems, obesity, childhood diabetes and the cost of isolating ourselves from neighbors and denying ourselves exercise as we sit in traffic and grumble about delays. Oh, and every day about 100 of us are killed in traffic accidents.

To make Baltimore, and the United States, safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, we must bear more directly the cost of driving our cars. This could include some of the following:

Cut property and income taxes. Replace the revenue with systems that charge drivers for the actual costs of their driving.

Account for all transportation costs (including upkeep and related police, fire, ambulance and court services).

Encourage insurers to base premiums on annual mileage.

Eliminate incentives (and obligations) to provide free parking. Offset them with payments for using public transit and bicycles.

Provide incentives for employers to participate in trip reduction programs.

Bob Chauncey

Chestertown

The writer is executive director of One Less Car.

Close troublesome clubs

Regarding the troubled Tunnel nightclub on Eutaw Street, The Sun reports, "What to do when the after-hours scene turns deadly is a decades-old problem for police, business leaders, politicians and others" ("Tunnel club under scrutiny," Aug. 11).

I am a city resident who, with my neighbors and a pro-bono attorney from the Community Law Center, battled a weekly late-night, out-of-control urban melee of young people fueled by the 32nd Street Plaza for more than two years. My solution to this problem is very, very simple: Close it down.

After the Plaza opened, my neighborhood endured middle-of-the-night traffic jams, loud radios, shouting and hollering, public drinking, breaking bottles, speeding, door slammings, crowds loitering, fights, a complaining resident badly beaten with two-by-fours and a murder or two. All this occurred from 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Monday mornings when patrons exited the premises.

The owner and liquor licensees claimed no responsibility. The Liquor Board, for the longest time, claimed no responsibility. The police did what they could to contain what was in essence a weekly riot.

After several hearings, however, the Liquor Board responded to our complaints and revoked the Plaza's liquor license. And - wouldn't you know - instant relief.

No more noise. No more shootings and fights. No more 2 a.m. traffic jams. No more loud music.

Regarding the Tunnel, there are those who will say, well, it's not that simple.

Don't be fooled. It is that simple. Close it down.

Grenville B. Whitman

Baltimore

City needs new parking plans

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.