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Solving the road dilemma


Mr. Sands' recent editorial ("On the Road," Feb. 19, 2004) makes some good points about the difficult problems we all face in an effort to share the roads of La Plata County, unfortunately he missed a great opportunity to call for some real solutions to these problems. We can all rant about the situation, but if that's all we do, we will lose a great place to ride, and the conflicts we are experiencing today will be the tragedies of tomorrow.

County roads 203 and 250, known fondly by the cycling community as the "Valley Loop," is arguably one of the best road rides in the state, if not the country. Every year people from all over flock to Durango to enjoy such great riding, sadly we are failing to take simple steps to head off growing problems with traffic, reckless driving (by cyclists and motorists), and simple unawareness.

An easy first step, that Mr. Sands should have pointed out in his article, is the lack of signage in the valley warning motorists of cyclists presence on the roads. Simple "Share the Roads" signs on either end of CR 203 and 250 would go a long way to raising awareness. Signage has made huge differences in other areas, and we need it in the Valley.

Next, we need to start thinking more long term when we are improving the roads in the valley. Some of the recent improvements made to CR 250 have been great, unfortunately there are very few areas with large enough shoulders for cyclists to move completely out of the lane of traffic. We need to start improving the roads in the valley with an eye toward accommodating all the users.

We also need to consider lowering the speed limits on CR 203 and 250. These are secondary roads, which are essentially residential roads. Motorists don't need to be going so fast on these roads. Let's not forget there is a highway up the middle of the valley for drivers who are in a hurry.

Finally, cyclists and motorists both need to take some responsibility for the future safety of the Valley Loop. Cyclists need to single up when in traffic and use the shoulders of the roads where possible. They also need to remember to share the roads. That means all of us. Motorists need to slow down. CR 203 and 250 are country roads, and we should slow down and enjoy the view. Motorists also need to get off the phone. More often than not cyclists are almost run off the roads because motorists are talking on the phone and not paying attention.

The Valley Loop is a valuable resource that we all need to protect. We can rant all we want about the conflicts and who's at fault, but we all need to take steps today to deal with the problems in order to avoid a tragedy in the future.

Michael Carroll


A lesson in the leash law

To the Editors:

I am writing in response to Brian McGill's letter in the Feb. 5 Telegraph. First and foremost, I sympathize with the trauma of having a child attacked by an uncontrolled dog. Indeed, leash laws and animal control do provide an effective deterrent to the problem of human aggressive dogs. However, the majority of our citizens strive to be responsible dog owners. They maintain voice or leash control of their dogs at all times. They train their dogs in a nonaggressive manner. Citizens who do not have human-aggressive dogs have a right to reasonable freedoms, rather than penalization for the wrongs of a minority of dog owners or their dogs. Freedom is a just reward for being responsible.

However, the main point is that in Ms. McCord's letter (Jan. 29), there is not a strong debate being presented as to the validity of Durango's leash law. If her letter was presented to kids at Durango High School as a reading comprehension test, I believe they would almost certainly describe it as being about HUMAN INTERACTION, with the issue of whether or not one can play fetch with their dog in Durango's parks being a secondary point! Our society is increasingly becoming one that imposes reactionary restrictions on our rights and freedoms in order to "protect" us. I can't help but surmise that Mr. McGill must be a big fan of the Patriot Act. Perhaps he should quell his hysteria and reread Ms. McCord's letter this time a little more thoroughly or ... go back to high school.

Gareth Martins,

via e-mail

Do hard time for the government

Dear Editors,

We've a federal budget deficit of $500 billion and many trillions more of long-term debt. Yet tax cuts amount to only about $75 billion a year. Beyond the fairness of letting people keep what they've earned, tax cuts stimulate the economy and actually increase the amount of tax dollars. They do so by increasing incentives for new investment, not directly stimulating demand. That unleashes new innovations and risk-taking. That creates jobs and profits, which is the only place incomes and taxes come from.

Taxes on the other hand are simply transfers, they help some and hurt others but, on net, do nothing to help the overall welfare of society. However, the larger the percentage of income taken by taxes the greater the deterrent to tax-generating private enterprise and employment. Currently, federal taxes amount to almost 25 percent of GDP, near an all-time high. And since 2000, Congress has increased spending by 24 percent. Add in state and local taxes and so-called user fees and the total taxes amount to 40 percent of GDP. That means us taxpayers must work almost five months a year just so bureaucrats can take and spend our earnings.

Government has no end to what it'll spend! When it ends up with a shortfall, it simply takes more, often justified by deviously threatening to cut only essential services. The only solution: Less government.

Kim Rogalin






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