Kudos to Ms. Servatius for picking up on an important shift on light rail plans that the Charlotte Observer is reluctant to touch ("End of the Line," May 31).
As head of B.I.K.E.S., the nonprofit voice of bicycle advocacy for the Charlotte community, I need to remind your audience that trolleys and buses are not the only way to get around Charlotte quickly. Bike racks have been on all buses for some time now, which means that I can get to uptown door to door during rush hour from University City in about the same time as a car (which has to find a space in a parking deck!). During nonrush hours, I can beat the bus. By the way, I ride a trusty, rusty Trek; no fancy-schmancy stuff.
Imagine if Charlotteans rode bikes to all destinations within three miles of their homes. According to national statistics, that constitutes well over 60 percent of all daily trips. Peddle power, not horsepower...
-- Martin Zimmerman, Charlotte
Make trains, not war
Interesting article by Tara Servatius on our infamous light rail project. Having just returned from a month in Germany/Austria/Switzerland on holiday, I can tell you it was a rude awakening for me how far behind we are on considering the ramifications of the end of the oil culture in the Western world. The Europeans have been plowing money back into their infrastructure to alleviate potential energy/mass transportation problems for the last two decades, while we are frittering away our resources on foreign adventures such as Afghanistan and Iraq. We have built this complex highway system that will be unusable in a few years because no one will be able to afford the gas to utilize them. The Europeans wisely quit building highways years ago and invested their money into mass transportation/energy projects that will pay off in the long run. The cities in Europe are full of tourists; I believe, because of how tourist-friendly they are. Not to mention how much better in quality they are. Has anyone been to Vienna recently? A tourist has only one option in order to see Charlotte; they have to rent a car. The sad thing with this whole fiasco is the relatively small amount of money it will take to complete this light rail project. Basically, a couple of days work in Iraq. We are badly behind on the issue of mass transportation, but this light rail project is a start. Charlotte and America need to wake up ASAP. We are rapidly going to develop into a third world country if we don't face up to these issues.
-- David Bateman, Charlotte,
Take the successful operation in Haditha, for example ...
Thank you so much for shining a light on the doom and gloom that spews forth from the mainstream media with regard to the War on Terror ("Jihadist Underachievers II" by Tara Servatius, May 24, 2006). Constant reporting of death tolls tends to overshadow the many successes we have; people need to know how we are indeed thwarting the terrorists. It's amazing how the anti-war media is allowed to dictate their own version of reality.
-- Brooke S. Musterman, Charlotte
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
The pictures of enlisted men and women, soldiers in the United States military, striking poses of thugs, punks and gangsters, flashing hand signals, are a clear demonstration of how far we have fallen as a society and as a nation ("Soldiers' Song," by Vince Darcangelo, May 31). Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and the story they tell is not very reassuring.
-- R.D. Ross, Charlotte