Letters To The Editor


March 17, 2003

It's no surprise city road work causes delays

As a person who avoids the Jones Falls Expressway during rush hour like the plague, and did so even before the start of recent construction, I am greatly frustrated that many of the back roads are also under construction ("A rash of roadwork afflicts commuters," March 2). Does the city have to close almost every route downtown at the same time?

But the item that struck me as completely extraordinary was this statement in the article: "The city's chief traffic engineer said he was surprised when the inbound JFX lane closing resulted in big delays."

Do we really want a chief traffic engineer who is surprised by such an obvious result of a major lane closure?

And his quotation - "It just surprised me that a lot of people wouldn't try other streets" - is demeaning and insulting to those of us who have lived in this city all our lives, know the back routes, try them, and are continually frustrated by all the unnecessary delays.

Donald Harris


It's laughable that Frank Murphy, chief traffic engineer for the city, was surprised by the huge delays caused by the inbound JFX lane closure.

I don't think they surprised anyone who actually uses this route. Any accident (or other shoulder activity) snowballs into huge delays on this route.

And the configuration of this lane closure also contributes to the problem. Drivers remain in the right lane until the last possible second and then attempt to maneuver into the center lane. To make matters worse, Falls Road has been eliminated (at least temporarily) as an alternative and, when the road is available, it is frequently blocked with illegally parked cars and left-turning vehicles.

I'm surprised some of the other projects weren't completed before the work on the JFX commenced.

Bill Ballantyne


Growing population creates traffic woes

Should anybody be surprised that commuting to work in Baltimore is becoming more and more unpleasant? ("A rash of roadwork afflicts commuters," March 2).

The lengthening commute by car could be partially relieved by adding another lane to the Beltway and Interstate 83, but any improvement would be temporary. Those extra lanes would soon become filled as the number of commuters goes up and up.

One solution would help - an extension of rapid transit to get people out of their cars. But in time, even that solution would be overwhelmed.

The only real solution is stabilizing the population of the country. Only after we get serious about securing our borders against the flow of illegal aliens, and getting our rate of legal immigration back down to reasonable levels, will there be any relief.

Carleton W. Brown


Palestinian choice far from `moderate'

The Sun's Peter Hermann notes that Yasser Arafat has chosen Abu Mazen for prime minister of the Palestinian Authority ("Palestinian prime minister named," March 9).

Mr. Hermann says, "Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat yesterday nominated a widely respected political moderate to serve as his government's first prime minister."

Either Mr. Hermann has not done his homework or he hasn't the vaguest notion of the meaning of "moderate."

Mr. Mazen is the author of a book titled The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, in which he disputes the fact that 6 million Jews were killed in World War II.

Among the definitions of moderate in my dictionary are "not extreme" and "fair."

Mr. Mazen is "moderate"? "Widely respected"? Please.

Sonia Looban Greenspon


Lust to attack Iraq dishonors our nation

If it was The Sun's intention to present a polite and dispassionate debate over the niceties of the cause for and against war, then it has succeeded ("Is it Anti-American to be Anti-War?" March 9).

Where it lamentably failed, however, was in reflecting the revulsion and rage of many decent, intelligent and patriotic Americans in response to this administration's lust to attack Iraq.

While we cannot prove nor even presume the Bush administration's motives - whether a grab for oil, ambition for empire, or a desperate shot at re-election in 2004 - we are certain that the tenuous cause the administration has fabricated is not worth the deaths of our youngsters, the massacre of innocents in a desert where we have no honorable place, and a disgrace to our future history.

Someone once said that he feared for our country upon reflection that God is just. So may we all.

Rafe Pilgrim


Close loopholes for corporations

The fact that Maryland's business leaders do not want corporate loopholes closed is no reason not to close them ("GOP offers alternative to Ehrlich corporate tax increase," March 14).

Taxes are meant to generate revenue, and tax loopholes allow corporations, or any other person or entity, to evade taxes. Corporations wield more power than the average citizen, due to their ability to make large campaign contributions to the legislators who would close those loopholes.

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