Narrower street lanes; ‘OK Boomer’; support Energy Innovation Act – Boulder Daily Camera
Kurt Nordback: Narrow street lanes can make them safer
Camera columnist Chuck Wibby (“Let Them Ride Bikes“) requested references showing that narrowing street lanes can make them safer. We are happy to oblige.
For example, National Cooperative Highway Research Project 3-72 showed that in urban contexts, wider streets are associated with higher speeds, higher crash frequencies and diminished pedestrian safety. A 2007 Transportation Research Board report confirmed these results. And a study from the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers found widths of 3.1-3.2 meters (10.2-10.5 feet) — narrower than the modern American standard — optimized safety on urban streets. (These same conclusions do not apply to rural, higher-speed roads, which are a very different context.)
This presents a teachable moment: Many transportation safety results are counter-intuitive. In part this is because safety is as much about psychology as about physics, and an effect with the fancy name of “risk homeostasis” means that we tend to adjust our behavior in response to perceived safety, sometimes over-compensating for external factors. The result is that traffic situations that feel dangerous can, in fact, be safer than ones that feel more “comfortable,” especially when severe or fatal crashes are weighted — as they should be — more heavily than fender-benders.
We appreciate the opportunity to clarify and publicize these important points. Community Cycles is proud to continue to advocate for improved safety for all users of our streets, sidewalks, and paths.
Kimberly Brown: Wibby column spot on
I don’t agree with much of anything columnist Chuck Wibby writes in the Daily Camera, but his commentary today (“OK Boomer“) was spot on.
Jennifer Rodehaver: Fracking has no place near populated regions
My mother was born in 1924 on a farm outside of Greeley. My grandfather sold farm implements and eventually moved his family “to town” where he kept a shop in the downtown area. He retained the mineral rights on the farm and owned a few oil wells which were passed on to his daughters upon their parents’ deaths.
Two significant events happened last month. My mother passed away at the age of 95 and high levels of a toxin called benzene were noticed near an elementary school in Weld County. While I remain proud of my family’s local heritage, it is clear to me that drilling and fracking no longer have a place in populated regions of our country. Let’s give the oil and gas industry incentives to develop other sources of fuel which are safe. Ask your representatives in Congress to support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act — a nonpartisan, market based solution to our growing energy needs without sacrificing the health of children and families.
Wayne Sheldrake: Give radically to the poor
As we are now in the season of giving, I hope that we give radically to the poor.
Rich? Anyone making $32,400 a year or more is richer than 99% of the planet. By that standard, many of us are radically rich. Paradoxically, the richer we get the less we give, and a smaller percentage to poverty.
Leading expert Jeffrey Sachs stated that “the cost to end poverty (worldwide) is $175 billion per year for 20 years.” That’s “less than 1% of the combined income” of the world’s richest countries, and a fourth of the annual US military budget.
In 2018, Americans spent $345.9 billion on golf, sporting events, athletic equipment, gym memberships, and alcohol.
A most famous radically rich man was once advised: “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor …” Note: the advice didn’t promise to solve poverty or judge it. The advice was: Just give. He was a good man who wanted to be even better. He didn’t sell all. Still, he must have given as he’d never given before.
Probably we aren’t disbanding our military, or quitting golf, sports, gear, the gym, or drinking. But we could do those things less (especially war) and give more.
My hope is that all of us pray on the “opportunity costs,” and then let’s just give. Give radically. To the poor. Now. This year and the next and the next.
Stan Gelb: Jonathan Singer has great compassion
The Camera recently published a letter from a local resident who denounced our state Rep. Jonathan Singer (HD-11) as a mere “cog.” A cog is widely understood to be a mindless gear in a larger machine. This description of our HD-11 representative is seriously out of step with reality, and was obviously written by someone who cannot distinguish a caring and honest public servant like Singer from a truth-challenged, money-grubbing politician like Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner.
Singer previously was a devoted social worker, helping families struggling with homelessness. Later, while with Boulder County Human Services, he specialized in investigating allegations of abuse and neglect of children and elders, as well as aiding families through the Truancy and Delinquency Court System. He saw firsthand how government policies can help people in need.
Singer then took that dedication for social and economic justice to the state Capitol when he was elected to our General Assembly in 2012. There he soon became one of the leading voices on healthcare and social justice issues, and he rose to become chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee. He led efforts to overhaul our child welfare system, increase access to addiction and mental health treatment, decriminalize marijuana, and pass major reforms to protect our immigrant community.
As a compassionate county commissioner, Singer could achieve even more since county commissioners oversee our child welfare, drug and mental health treatment programs, affordable housing, and public health programs. Singer’s background as a social worker and legislator has put him on the front lines of these issues for years; he is therefore especially qualified to serve on that body. Everyone is urged to vote for Jonathan Singer for county commissioner in 2020.