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To the editor,

Boo hoo!

Now cyclists are crying about getting tickets for breaking the law (“Cops target rogue bikers,” May 15). Well, they want to have the same rights as drivers, so this goes with the territory.

Bikers break the law so often, that if there was a wider crackdown throughout city, just think of the revenue. Same logic that is used when ticketing drivers for every infraction, minor and serious. This bike ticket revenue could also pay for the many bike lanes being constructed around the city.

Bikes should also be registered with the state like cars, possibly encouraging bikers to obey the laws more than they do now. Registration of bikes would also increase state revenue. The city Department of Transportation says nothing about bikers breaking laws, only that drivers are always at fault.

Richard Hecht, Bay Ridge

• • •

To the editor,

I work in the very area, Fort Greene, where the bike riders were targeted — and I have almost been hit several times by riders who cruised through red lights, not to mention riding on the sidewalk.

I mean no offense to responsible riders, and I’d like to acknowledge that automobile drivers in this city also have a terrible habit of coasting through stop signs. But when these near-misses keep happening, my sympathy for those who complain of being unfairly targeted diminishes a little bit more.

Tom Angelo, Crown Heights

Borne free?

To the editor,

From 1913 to 1946, the New York City subway fare was five cents. Ridership peaked in 1946 when, accounting for inflation, the fare was at its cheapest level.

In the mid-1990s, the average per ride fare was dramatically reduced when the unlimited Metrocard system was introduced, and ridership againg rose steeply.

Regardless of what measure you use, there is a single and consistent fact about the use of our subways: price matters. The lower the fare, the more riders we have. And we want more riders.

Congestion is getting worse in Manhattan’s Central Business District and is estimated to be costing us $13 billion a year in lost productivity.

To put this into perspective, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s entire budget, including capital costs, is only $11 billion.

Traffic is also destroying our environment. Besides the massive pollutants that are released into the air as a result of car traffic, massive pollutants are being put into our rivers, streams, and oceans. Cars spill immense of amounts of oil on our roads each year. Little drops of oil and gas add up to a far greater amount than the infamous Valdez oil spill.

Every time it rains, these deadly pollutants get washed into our rivers and streams. These are small examples of the very big cost of an expensive public transit system (“No to MTA bailout,” March 21).

But we can stop this by simply promoting and incentivizing the use of public transit. And there is no better incentive than to make it free.

By making the subway and buses free, we will also be providing massive relief for poor and working families who are finding themselves unable to afford transportation. We will provide relief to struggling artists who make our city so wonderful. Free mass transit will also make New York City a better tourist destination. Free mass transit will greatly benefit us all and make our city even more magical.

How do we pay for it? Congestion pricing.

Medhanie Estiphanos, Fort Greene

The writer is a candidate for Council District 35.

Bagged

To the editor,

As I wait in the lines of local grocery stores, bodegas and superstores, I notice the extensive amount of plastic bags being used to pack the customers’ items. On top of using these monstrous petroleum-derived bags, some customers “double-bag” to decrease the plastic bags’ potential from tearing.

A current proposal by Mayor Bloomberg would add a five-cent fee on all plastic shopping bags (“Shoppers to Bloomy: Bag this!” Nov. 13, 2008).

I am a member of the New York League of Conservation Voters, and I think charging customers five cents for a plastic bag will not reduce consumption.

The concept of charging customers for using plastic bags is strategic, but the extremely low price of five cents per bag is far too little for me to think twice about buying one to pack my daily groceries.

There are a number of solutions for this dilemma. One solution being that the plastic bag fee could be raised considerably, possibly up to more than $1. Another could be to encourage customers who shop at the stores to invest in a tote instead of plastic bags.

Jasmine Pybas, Park Slope

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Reader Feedback

MisterHistory from Brooklyn says:
Jasmine Pybas wrote: "On top of using these monstrous petroleum-derived bags, some customers “double-bag” to decrease the plastic bags’ potential from tearing."

Some of us remember when plastic bags didn't HAVE to be doubled, because supermarket bags were made of heavier, low-density plastic.
Those were phased out in favor of the flimsy-crinkly, easily-torn, high-density stuff - which, we were told, was (somehow) more environmentally friendly, if not "biodegradable."
And - no joke! - during the 1980s 'paper-or-plastic?' debate, some people argued that plastic-bag use would 'save the trees.'
[It's a bit like the bottled-water thing: Bottled water was pitched as a healthy product in recyclable containers. And then one day, it, too, was demonized.]
So it's no wonder that many people are skeptical re: the anti-plastic-bag stance.

Americans are NOT gonna tuck their 10-gallon jugs of Tide and OJ into little Euro-style string bags. Instead:
Tote-companies will rake in $ selling ever-more-ingenious, and big, eco-friendly bags.
Or - to make Big Toting easier and less leaky - people will get tons of clever collapsible carts, carriers, and wheeled crates.
We'll then find out that the environment is being killed by some major tote component, or by the resources used to produce hard-plastic carriers ... and will be urged to use biodegradable-plastic bags.
May 28, 2009, 11:10 pm

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