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This week's mailbag

Beach Butts

I saw your article about beach cleanups, and that the biggest culprit was cigarette butts in the sand. That’s nothing.

I lived in Kona for 20 years. The beaches are filled with thousands of flies. The reason for the flies? The lazy local Hawaiian women bury their children’s soiled diapers in the sand. How nice.

  • Name withheld
  • Vista

Source Potential

The August 25 article by Moss Gropen had many flaws. I won’t bother to write a full refutation. Still, building an entire cover story with only two sources and a comment left on the Union-Tribune website shows how one-sided Gropen’s article is. We Reader readers are used to more diversity in band interviews!

Let me mention some people Gropen could have talked to if he’d wanted to write a balanced article. Jim Stone and Kathleen Ferrier of Circulate San Diego, formerly known as Walk San Diego, could have filled Gropen in on the accessibility, usability, and safety improvements for pedestrians and transit users in these new urban plans.

Andy Hanshaw is the current executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC). He could have described the real estate value gains associated with the presence of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Jim Baross, a former executive director of the SDCBC, is currently the president of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations. Mr. Baross has intimate knowledge of successful, unsuccessful, and experimental bicycle facility design, including efforts to improve safety at intersections (an issue primary source Randall O’Toole does mention in Gropen’s article).

Professor Sherry Ryan at SDSU has monitored bicycling road use patterns for years. Gropen didn’t reach out to her to see if O’Toole’s notion that improved bike facilities don’t lead to increased use is accurate.

Logan Jenkins of the Union-Tribune has written about the improvements in travel time on La Jolla Boulevard thanks to recent traffic calming efforts there. These efforts included pedestrian and cycling safety improvements.

Gary Richards of the San Jose Mercury-News has stated in his long-running “Mr. Roadshow” column that a similar traffic-calming project on Lincoln Avenue through the Willow Glen neighborhood is associated with increased sales tax revenue. Could it be that the facts show livable streets that are more inviting to nonmotorized users bring more business?

I’m sure Mike Reading, president of the San Diego Electric Railway Association, and his fellow enthusiasts would have delighted to give Gropen a detailed comparison of the streetcar routes in 1936 versus the San Diego Trolley 80 years later. According to Wikipedia, San Diego Electric Railway routes extended as much as 165 miles, including long runs down University Avenue, Adams Avenue, Park Boulevard, and up north to La Jolla. The same source says the San Diego Trolley currently covers 53.5 miles, less than a third as much track.

O’Toole states bicycle facilities don’t make economic sense. It would have been nice if Gropen had gotten a contrary view from Elly Blue, author of Bikenomics. Janette Sadik-Khan, formerly New York City’s commissioner of transportation, has also written about the benefits of undoing generations of car-centric planning.

You’re welcome.

  • Robert Leone
  • Pacific Beach

Stuck in the Middle

I don’t see an answer in this article regarding how the city plans to address the concerns about not having a shoulder on the side of the road so cars can pull over to the side in case of car trouble or emergency vehicles.

If a driver has car trouble in the middle of Balboa in the middle of the night, or at any time it is not safe to be stuck in, the middle of the road. Especially if the city puts in cement and metal bike barriers. I wish someone would get an answer to how this issue is being addressed.

  • Name withheld
  • Clairemont

Wide Release

I’m really concerned about the movie listings. After the title of the movie, then the description, it only says “in wide release” — it doesn’t tell you where to go to see the movie. That really doesn’t help.

Some of the movies do show, for instance, the Landmark Ken, but many of the other ones just say “in wide release.” If I’m really interested in a movie, I have to call all the movie theaters in San Diego to find out where this movie is playing? It’s so easy just to post the name of the theaters; and then we can go see the movie!

I don’t understand the reasoning behind just putting “wide release.” It doesn’t help.

  • Kate Georgio
  • via voicemail

Though we list all theaters a wide-release movie is playing at on SDReader.com, to do so with each wide-release movie in the Reader print version would take up an enormous amount of room on the page, and would not be as accurate as the Reader website. — Editor

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Beach Butts

I saw your article about beach cleanups, and that the biggest culprit was cigarette butts in the sand. That’s nothing.

I lived in Kona for 20 years. The beaches are filled with thousands of flies. The reason for the flies? The lazy local Hawaiian women bury their children’s soiled diapers in the sand. How nice.

  • Name withheld
  • Vista

Source Potential

The August 25 article by Moss Gropen had many flaws. I won’t bother to write a full refutation. Still, building an entire cover story with only two sources and a comment left on the Union-Tribune website shows how one-sided Gropen’s article is. We Reader readers are used to more diversity in band interviews!

Let me mention some people Gropen could have talked to if he’d wanted to write a balanced article. Jim Stone and Kathleen Ferrier of Circulate San Diego, formerly known as Walk San Diego, could have filled Gropen in on the accessibility, usability, and safety improvements for pedestrians and transit users in these new urban plans.

Andy Hanshaw is the current executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC). He could have described the real estate value gains associated with the presence of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Jim Baross, a former executive director of the SDCBC, is currently the president of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations. Mr. Baross has intimate knowledge of successful, unsuccessful, and experimental bicycle facility design, including efforts to improve safety at intersections (an issue primary source Randall O’Toole does mention in Gropen’s article).

Professor Sherry Ryan at SDSU has monitored bicycling road use patterns for years. Gropen didn’t reach out to her to see if O’Toole’s notion that improved bike facilities don’t lead to increased use is accurate.

Logan Jenkins of the Union-Tribune has written about the improvements in travel time on La Jolla Boulevard thanks to recent traffic calming efforts there. These efforts included pedestrian and cycling safety improvements.

Gary Richards of the San Jose Mercury-News has stated in his long-running “Mr. Roadshow” column that a similar traffic-calming project on Lincoln Avenue through the Willow Glen neighborhood is associated with increased sales tax revenue. Could it be that the facts show livable streets that are more inviting to nonmotorized users bring more business?

I’m sure Mike Reading, president of the San Diego Electric Railway Association, and his fellow enthusiasts would have delighted to give Gropen a detailed comparison of the streetcar routes in 1936 versus the San Diego Trolley 80 years later. According to Wikipedia, San Diego Electric Railway routes extended as much as 165 miles, including long runs down University Avenue, Adams Avenue, Park Boulevard, and up north to La Jolla. The same source says the San Diego Trolley currently covers 53.5 miles, less than a third as much track.

O’Toole states bicycle facilities don’t make economic sense. It would have been nice if Gropen had gotten a contrary view from Elly Blue, author of Bikenomics. Janette Sadik-Khan, formerly New York City’s commissioner of transportation, has also written about the benefits of undoing generations of car-centric planning.

You’re welcome.

  • Robert Leone
  • Pacific Beach

Stuck in the Middle

I don’t see an answer in this article regarding how the city plans to address the concerns about not having a shoulder on the side of the road so cars can pull over to the side in case of car trouble or emergency vehicles.

If a driver has car trouble in the middle of Balboa in the middle of the night, or at any time it is not safe to be stuck in, the middle of the road. Especially if the city puts in cement and metal bike barriers. I wish someone would get an answer to how this issue is being addressed.

  • Name withheld
  • Clairemont

Wide Release

I’m really concerned about the movie listings. After the title of the movie, then the description, it only says “in wide release” — it doesn’t tell you where to go to see the movie. That really doesn’t help.

Some of the movies do show, for instance, the Landmark Ken, but many of the other ones just say “in wide release.” If I’m really interested in a movie, I have to call all the movie theaters in San Diego to find out where this movie is playing? It’s so easy just to post the name of the theaters; and then we can go see the movie!

I don’t understand the reasoning behind just putting “wide release.” It doesn’t help.

  • Kate Georgio
  • via voicemail

Though we list all theaters a wide-release movie is playing at on SDReader.com, to do so with each wide-release movie in the Reader print version would take up an enormous amount of room on the page, and would not be as accurate as the Reader website. — Editor

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