January 17, 2013

Letters to the editor: Give green light to two-way State Street

There has been a good deal of discussion on these pages about reverting the traffic patterns on State and High streets in Portland from the current one-way to the two-way flow as a means of what urban planners call "traffic calming." Often this talk has been theoretical; let me add a very direct example of why this change would benefit neighborhood residents.

click image to enlarge

Vehicles head up State Street last June.

2012 File Photo/Tim Greenway

I have just returned from walking my dog on this rainy, chilly night. I was standing on the corner of State and Gray streets, at the crosswalk, when a courteous motorist saw me and stopped.

I began to cross the street when the three drivers behind this one (sitting in dry, climate-controlled comfort, probably listening to music or talking on the phone) decided they weren't willing to delay their trips by an extra few seconds for a pedestrian.

They pulled out behind the stopped car into the adjacent lane and continued at high speed toward the bridge, missing me by a few feet and scaring me out of my wits -- and violating state law in the process.

Two-way traffic on State Street at this intersection would have been proceeding more slowly, and drivers coming in the opposite direction would have been able to see me clearly (if, indeed, that was the problem and not just simple rudeness).

State Street would no longer be treated merely as a high-speed throughway to the bridge; rather, it would be part of a network of streets in the residential neighborhood that surrounds it.

I hope the city will proceed quickly to consider and implement these changes, as a matter of safety and good public policy that favors people rather than cars.

Ellen D. Murphy

Portland 

Government trying to ease Americans into socialism  

At a United Nations assembly during the Cold War with Russia, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoe and, pounding it on his table, he made a statement that describes the United States of today.

"Your children will live under communism ... You Americans are so gullible. No, you won't accept communism outright ... but we'll keep feeding you small dosages of socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have communism. We won't have to fight you, we'll so weaken your economy until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands."

Does this look familiar? Companies moving overseas or closing, unemployment higher than it has ever been.

Government taking away money from Social Security and Medicare and giving it to the welfare and Medicaid.

Instead of feeding those on welfare by using debit cards, put them back on food stamps and cut the time down from five years to one. And the state would not have so many freeloaders who never planned to work anyway.

And to top it off, Obama has put the United States in debt in the trillions.

Richard C. Campbell

South Portland  

Have you wondered why Americans are buying assault weapons at a record pace? Why are so many citizens purchasing the AR-15 and the AK-47? Because they are a thing of beauty? Because "everyone has one"?

I don't know why others desire a gun of that type, only why I want one. I do not trust my government. My deep fear is that Barack Obama and his goal of fundamentally transforming the United States of America will lead to a socialist dictatorship, where government replaces the citizen's role of individual responsibility, initiative, ownership and choice.

When Obama was elected in 2008, I believed that he would ruin the United States of America by destroying our economy. It's happening; look at our national debt.

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