By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Kudos to Laura Laughlin for her article on the Transit 2000 proposal! I am a 10-year resident of the Valley, having grown up in north Texas, and have been addicted to my car since I began driving 15 years ago. I lived in downtown Chicago during the winter of 1998, and learned what it was like to live without a car. I sold my car before moving there, because of high parking costs and the fact that you just don't need a car there. I was nervous about using the "El" and the bus system at first. But you know what? I loved it! Even though it was noisy, even though there were "strange" people on almost every trip I made, I loved it! You could get anywhere, anytime, and not have to wait for more than 10 to 15 minutes. Those "longer" wait times usually existed because there were so many people taking the bus!
When I recently moved back to Phoenix without my car, I was disgusted. I couldn't go anywhere. The routes are miles apart, as opposed to Chicago, where you have bus stops on virtually every corner. In Chicago you may have up to five or six different routes stopping at the same bus stop and then venturing off in their own directions. It's like a huge mass-transit spider web. Here, like your article mentions, the available routes and times are horrible.
I am a graduate student in Environmental Science at ASU and I work in downtown Phoenix. I live in Gilbert. I get onto U.S. 60 at Mesa Drive. Every day my car and I crawl 25 miles each way, and I hate it. I have looked into Valley Ride Share and I've looked into the bus routes. I work crazy hours at times, and there's no way to get home at night when the buses stop running. So I'm left to my car.
Luckily, I drive an economical, air-friendly car. But it's about time people in this city wake up and smell the pollution. I don't know what Becky Fenger and Douglas Malewicki are thinking, but we can't rely on futuristic plans that aren't grounded in the reality of here and now. We need to get started now. We've got to do something soon, or a 20-year plan that takes 10 years to develop will be so outdated that we'll be stuck in the same situation with a bigger problem to contend with.
It appalls me that Phoenix has won the award for "Best Run City in the World" twice now, when it has the worst transit system of any major city in the world. And I was very disappointed in 1997 when the transit tax failed by the slimmest of margins (probably because at least 124 voters didn't have transportation to their polling place). Inadequate service is precisely the reason that more people don't utilize public transit. If the transit system is improved, more people will use it. This has been demonstrated in other cities, such as Dallas, as cited in your article.
In reference to Robrt L. Pela's review of the play The Wallace & Ladmo Show ("Loco Boys Make Good," March 9), I have to say I loved it. I went to school with Bill Thompson's stepson, David, and fought several Civil War battles with both. I was even on the show twice. Bill is truly a great guy and I miss the show dearly.
I only wish I was in town this weekend. Perhaps with luck the show will be held over or otherwise stay in the Valley.
Concerning your column on John McCain and your assertion that he should make public his military record ("Naval Gazing," Amy Silverman, March 9): Great piece of journalism there, if it were written by some sort of primate. As far as being a product of a human being, I'm not convinced. Now I remember why I quit reading New Times.