March/April 1994, p.3


I can't seem to understand why there are cars always parked by the meters, on the avenues near police precincts. All these cars have police numbers marked on them I believe it is safe to assume that they are not paying for these meters and are not receiving any tickets. Due to this problem the city is losing a large amount of money. Our city is being penalized for their privilege. Why??? 

Tony Porpora, New York, NY 

Ed: We wish we knew, and further wonder why police and firefighters are allowed to park their private vehicles on sidewalks.

As a Staten Islander I noticed that you do not address a major factor in our traffic congestion problems: the lack of adequate public transportation alternatives provided to Staten Islanders.

As a motorist I also contribute to the city's congestion problems. I am left with no other choice as the government has failed to address the transportation needs of this borough, despite the constant calls of our local officials upon the Transit Authority to expand bus service.

Instead, the TA has cut back on express bus service. It is understandable why many Staten Islanders opt to take their car. The Dinkins administration drastically cut back on ferry service. Luckily, the federal government filled this gap in the ferry's operating budget I am hopeful that Giuliani will pay closer attention to Staten Island than his predecessors.

We are attempting to obtain a transportation link to Manhattan via a connection of the North Shore Rail to a New Jersey line. I would appreciate any exposure and boost you could lend to this noteworthy endeavor. 

Andrew S. Miller, Staten Island, NY 

Ed: We agree with your concerns about the need for increased mass transit options for Staten Islanders. See this issue's story on Giuliani's unfortunate interest in reopening the ferry to cars.

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Much attention has been focused on light rail, subways, and low pollution buses as a means of cleaning up our environment in recent years. Little attention is given to the trackless trolley or trolley bus, rubber?tired vehicles that get their power by means of two overhead wires. In NYC, trackless trolleys ran mainly in Brooklyn from the early 1930's to 1960's. Today, such cities as Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Dayton, OH operate trolley buses.

Since the heyday of trackless trolley operation in the 1940's and 1950's, many new developments have taken place in improving the trackless trolley, such as the A/C traction motor that reduces electric power consumption. It is with these improvements in mind that NYC should experiment with these low pollution vehicles as a means of complying with the Clean Air Act

Many people object to the trackless trolley wires over the street but to me, they are the symbol of clean air. The overhead can be made more attractive and less obtrusive.

New York should give trackless trolleys a second try. 

Steven R. Berger, Brooklyn, NY 

Ed: Trolley buses might work well, in dedicated lanes, on streets like First and Second Aves.

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One thing which has now become apparent since the Los Angeles earthquakes is the fragility of an American culture based on the automobile, that quintessential symbol of freedom and individualism for 20th century America. All of a sudden, Los Angelenos' cars won't take them absolutely wherever they want to go.

There exist many solutions to the LA transportation problem. Certainly, the city could encourage people to use the existing, though poor, mass transit system, and to improve it until becomes proportional to the population of the LA area.

A misguided agenda [of freeway reconstruction] was laid out by President Clinton, much to the delight of the Big Three I'm sure. Quoted in the NY Times the day after the quake, when dozens had died, and thousands were left homeless, he had the utter gall to declare that "freeway construction will be the most urgent need."

The freeways can be built a million times over, but will stand only as long as the mighty San Andreas allows them to. There were many tragedies in LA on January 17th; to simply rebuild the broken roads and freeways without a progressive transportation policy to accompany it would be yet another. LA stands on the brink of reversing decades of poor urban design. 

Philip Goff, New York, NY

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Apparently your publication gave Mrs. Ellen Fletcher the mistaken impression that the Grand Concourse has somehow been widened to 12 lanes. She need not be horrified because the width and lane configurations remain the same as they were when Mrs. Fletcher cycled to class. Also, the Borough Presidents Office and the City DoT will soon embark on a project that will seek to restore this great boulevard's scenic glory while improving its function to all users.

Michael Gleba, Transportation Planner, Office of The Bronx Borough President