$ame Old Health Care
The Affordable Care Act and the state exchange were supposed to lower premiums, not raise them by 15 percent or more [Facing Facts: "Unhealthy Hikes," June 4]. But now we see the true color of these insurance companies: green, the same as the lining of their pockets.
Daysied and Confused
I've never understood the logic behind requiring the Seven Daysies ballot to have at least 50 items filled in. I'm pretty opinionated, but I've tried to fill out these ballots in the past and found myself struggling hard to even come close to 50 items about which I felt I could give a halfway-informed vote. All you're doing is forcing people to fill in opinions on things they don't really have strong opinions on — for example, "Best eyeglasses." Trying to reach the 50-item quota, people will just fill in whomever they got their last pair of eyeglasses from two years ago. It doesn't make the winner in that category the "best." What's the point? I think you should make the minimum much lower, allowing people to have their votes counted for things they are actually passionate about.
Editor's note: The 50-vote minimum prevents targeted ballots and makes the voting more fair for all the candidates. Spread the love! Round 2 begins today.
[Re "Space Race," "Still on a Roll: A Cyclist at Heart, Spencer Tackles Parking and Potholes" and Work: "Drive-By Guy," June 4]: As a city "parking employee," I am cautiously optimistic that under the leadership of Mayor Weinberger and our new director of public works, Chapin Spencer, there's a new wave of energy will lead not only to better innovative solutions for parking and payment but also to the much-needed, long-term look at infrastructure issues versus the costly "Band-Aid" repairs that have occurred for several years.Where to park and how to find parking are key!
We need to start with bold, lighted parking location signs and better coordination of police and neighboring businesses to increase parking-garage security. We also need a traffic-flow pattern that will ease the frustration of getting to and from the parking garages!(A good start: more seasonal weekend pedestrian traffic control during peak hours to help traffic move across Church Street at the cross-street locations at Bank and College streets.)Best of all, I am encouraged that a greater effort is being made to gather more input for positive solutions from those of us "in the trenches," and I hope that will reflect in the positive changes that have begun!
Burlington may be making progress toward being a more bike-friendly city [WTF: "Why is there an intermittent bike lane on North Avenue?" June 4], but to anyone who spends time on a bike in and around the city, the pace feels glacial. Focusing on biking as transportation — not recreation — underscores the shortcomings. Take the two major transportation corridors into the city: Shelburne and Williston roads. Both are completely untenable for bicyclists. There is no delineated space in the roadway, no bike infrastructure. On Williston Road, a bike lane disappears and bikers are forced to "take the road" as they approach the city. These roads work great for the 50,000 or so cars that use them each day. But unless you are fit and energetic, the signal is: Don't ride a bicycle.
Within Burlington, it's not a lot better from a transportation perspective. Try going south to north in the city. South Winooski downtown is terrifying — no space for a bike. Battery Street is no better. North Avenue is scary. New plans for key intersections, such as at Pearl and Prospect, have bike lanes in the middle of traffic, leaving bikers to fend off cars, vulnerable to the deadly right hook. Most of the key corridors have absolutely no bike infrastructure. And when they do — e.g., South Winooski, near Maple — it ends.
Why not set a vision for a truly bike-friendly city, a place that welcomes the bike as transportation for all ages and shapes, where 8-year-olds mingle with 60-year-olds on key transportation corridors — where clearly delineated bike lanes, bike boulevards without stop signs, bike boxes at intersections and bike lanes that don't end are the norm. Great cities deserve great bike infrastructure. No halfway measures. Demand better!
Take the Bike Path
Chapin Spencer doesn't need to waste his precious time on a study concerning a bike lane on North Avenue [WTF: "Why is there an intermittent bike lane on North Avenue?" June 4]. We already have one — it's called the bike path! How many times have I almost hit some crazy parent pulling their kid in a bike trailer up North Avenue in the middle of rush hour?! The bike path runs the entire length of the "corridor," has many easy-to-reach access points and is one block from North Ave. Please spend our considerable tax dollars on fixing our ailing public-works infrastructure and encourage cyclists — and parents pulling bike trailers — to use the Burlington Bike Path.
I enjoyed your profile of my friend Fran Krause and his strip "Deep Dark Fears" ["Fearfully Funny," June 11]. He has another Vermont connection that went unmentioned in the article but that folks might find interesting: Fran was the director of my animated cartoon series "SuperF*ckers" that ran on YouTube from 2012 to 2013 — and can still be seen there, of course. Anyhow, it's great to have him in the paper.
Eye on the Emails
I read ["Emails Reveal Tensions, Doubt as Burlington School Budget Deficit Emerged," June 11] with great intensity. It just added to the frustration from another mismanaged financial situation we all know about, which started $17 million ago. This $2.5 million fiasco is a drop in the bucket but will probably end up topping the other $17 million one. Which leads me to a conclusion and a suggestion: Every email generated within the school district and the school board must be copied to all school board members, members of the mayoral administration and city councilors.I'd like to be included, too, as should every other Burlington taxpayer. The eyes of the taxpayer must be glued to this.