May 30, 2010

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Power Points “Power Politics” (May 9) made no mention of the potential effects on electricity prices if Vermont Yankee is decommissioned – effects that will be felt throughout the New England power grid. My hope is that an analysis of the potential effects is completed before the Vermont Legislature finishes its discussion of this issue. Making an emotional decision on something that could have such far-ranging effects is unwise and irresponsible.

Craig Foley, Partner, inCharge Energy / LLC Somerville

The broad-based support for Vermont Yankee’s license renewal isn’t just going away, and for the best of reasons: Vermonters need this clean, reliable, low-cost power source. State revenue, employers, ratepayers, and our energy independence and carbon footprint would benefit from its continued operation.

Bradley Ferland, President, Vermont Energy Partnership / Montpelier

(Entergy, Vermont Yankee’s owner, is a member of this partnership.)

Love Actually I enjoyed your story about the Dinner With Cupid column (“Behind the Scenes With Cupid,” May 9). My two daughters and I have been reading and giving our personal reviews every Sunday since it started. Some of the matches seem like true love connections, so I was surprised to see they really aren’t. The true measure of success will be when they move from the Dinner With Cupid page to the Coupling page. Keep matching!

Maria O’Halloran / Wakefield

On Two Wheels Doug Most’s response to a recent cycling tragedy (Perspective, May 9) is well intentioned but off target. He’s right that bicyclists, like any road users, bear a large measure of responsibility for their own safety, but he too readily dismisses changing the behavior of motorists as impossible. The greatest responsibility for protecting other road users must lie with those piloting the most dangerous vehicles – multi-ton steel machines. The culture is changing as bicycles gain popularity, and that change must extend to motorists, through driver education, enforcement to curb aggressive behavior, and a recognition that we’re all trying to get somewhere safely.

David Watson, Executive Director, MassBike / Boston

As an urban bicycle commuter and former bike messenger, I grudgingly agree with much of Most’s assessment of Boston area cyclists. But I’m dismayed by the suggestion that cyclists without helmets are partially responsible for accidents they may suffer at the hands of drivers. Sure, it’s idiotic to bike without a helmet, just as it is to cross the street inattentively while on a cellphone. But drivers must apply the same driving standards to any cyclist on the street, no matter how “arrogant” the cyclist may appear to be. More driver hatred is something this city can ill afford.

Lorenzo Nencioli / Somerville

I often cross Mass. Ave. in Cambridge at a busy intersection with my two young children. I’m that weird woman who waits for the signal and crosses in the crosswalk, but I’ve nearly been hit by cyclists several times. One was so audacious as to yell at my son to watch out, after the cyclist himself had just blown through the red light. I’d very much like to see police begin enforcing traffic laws for cyclists.

Lindsey Smilack / Cambridge

Drivers are guilty of some of the most irresponsible behavior imaginable, including eating, drinking, texting, reading the newspaper, putting on makeup. The fact that they’re rolling around in death machines not only makes these lapses more dangerous, but also means they’re more insulated than cyclists from their environment. Yet no one questions the motorists’ right to “respect.” Why is it only cyclists have to earn it?

Peter Davis / Arlington

Why put the onus on cyclists to solve what is a complex and evolving situation – how to make transportation safer and more accessible for all of us? Boston’s scofflaw culture includes walkers, cyclists, and drivers alike. What we need is more education, improved infrastructure, and selective enforcement to discourage the most dangerous and antisocial transportation behaviors while walking, driving, or riding.

Phil Lindsay / Dorchester

I’ve taken Most’s comment about seeing “a friendly, courteous driver as often as an accurate weather forecast” to heart and promised myself I’ll do my darnedest to be friendly and courteous on my next commute home to Burlington. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that some bicyclist is going to cause me to come up short on my promise. But if I can make it, I’ll continue the next day and take it one commute at a time.

Michael Lyons / Burlington

As a 30-year-plus Boston cyclist, I applaud Most’s guidelines for cyclists, and add these:

1) Lights! The more the merrier. Night and day.

2) If you have to choose between safe and legal, choose safe.

3) Avoid causing fear – in others or yourself.

4) Lead by example: Yield to pedestrians.

5) Never get mad at courtesy, even if it slows you down. Say thanks instead.

6) Last, everyone makes mistakes, including you. Show a little grace.

Karen L. Miller / Somerville

Despite being a law-abiding cyclist, I’ve been knocked off my bike by drivers who fail to signal a turn or cut across my path. I’ve been threatened and verbally abused and had things thrown at me by drivers. It may be they’re taking out on me what they see as bad behavior by other bikers; stories that treat bikers as a homogeneous group don’t help, because they imply all of us are bad. Until we tackle Boston’s road-behavior problem for all groups, we’re unlikely to develop a culture of road sharing.

Gareth McFeely / Medford

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