Nix on ‘road dieting’ in Old Town
       I live on 27th Street. I read with interest the front page story on “road dieting” in the Oct. 26 edition of the Westside Pioneer. You mentioned that you would like to hear input on this issue. So, here is mine. I feel that reducing Colorado Avenue to two traffic lanes would be a mistake. I feel it would cause traffic congestion. The real problem with parallel parking is that people, as usual, are impatient. Most drivers today seem to think that someone should only parallel park when there is no through traffic present. They fail to realize that if someone signals and initiates maneuvers to parallel park, traffic in the right lane is, by law, supposed to yield to the parking car. This rarely happens. What usually happens is the impatient driver does not want to yield, gets mad and ends up using his electronic voice (horn) and possibly some inappropriate gesture. This just makes things worse. This impatience also causes people to pull into the parallel parking spaces instead of backing in, They want to get out of traffic as soon as possible, when in reality, this causes a more dangerous situation - as cars whiz by while the person trying to park is attempting to get his vehicle close to the curb, sometimes causing near-misses with passing cars. If everybody would take a breath and be patient for 30 seconds until the parking maneuver is complete, things would be much better.
       I'm not a traffic engineer, but I feel that the city needs to “time” the traffic signals in Old Town so that they are programmed like the signals downtown - timed cycles instead of cross-street traffic activated sensors. This should include the count-down pedestrian signals that would automatically activate, instead of having to be activated by a push button. This is a shopping district. Pedestrians (especially tourists) are not accustomed to looking for a push button to cross the street, especially since it is a shopping district. Time and again, I have waited on a side street to turn left onto the avenue only to be “hung out to dry” as the signal turns red due to no pedestrian activation taking place (shorter green for the cross-street). The pedestrians see they have not received a “walk” signal and cross anyway because they do not want to wait another two minutes for another cycle to take place. At other times, cross traffic just sits for an extended period while the light is green and the avenue is “empty” of traffic - frustrating. I have talked to the city myself about this issue and have received no response. They have installed count-down pedestrian heads on the signals for crossing Colorado. But, they still have to be activated by push button, and pedestrians still have to wait too long for “walk” signals. I feel that if the signals were programmed on time-specific cycles it would calm traffic speeds and make traffic and pedestrian traffic smoother and safer.
       Thanks for your hard work in putting together a great newspaper! Thanks for listening.

Jim Koehler

More to Westside than looking good
       I appreciate Nancy Miceli's comments (Letters, Oct. 26 Pioneer) encouraging Westsiders to take pride in our community. Fortunately, we can be proud of a lot more than well-mowed lawns and regular trash service. We can be proud of being a community of tolerance. We can be proud of living in a diverse economic region, where we meet, know, and befriend other people from all walks of life, and welcome them as our neighbors. I am proud to buy gasoline not where it sells for least, but from a convenience store that continues to employ a Westsider despite a life-changing and disabling injury several years ago. I am proud to remember “our” flower lady, Judy, who brightened countless days with her relentless smiles and waves as she sold flowers over many years, for a few dollars per day.
       I can't agree the best way to express my pride in the Westside is to worry about weeds and lawns. I hope Nancy will even forgive me, also a homeowner, for hoping and praying that housing on the Westside becomes more affordable in the future, not less. You see, there's a lot at stake for our community, and for the values of diversity and tolerance that define us. We ought to occasionally take time out to think about what it means to protect the things that make us proud.

Chris Smith