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Letters to the Editor 

Week of December 17, 2003

Underground Ferment

The 503-word way to say, "You're wrong": Matt Smith's article "Subwaylaid" [Dec. 10] has not looked clearly at both sides of the issue. The Central Subway/Third Street Light Rail serves to move hundreds of thousands of people annually between areas that are in need of better transit access in areas that are too congested to accommodate any more cars or more surface transit. This project will provide a direct transit connection to people that are most dependent on transit (Visitacion Valley, Bayview-Hunters Point, and Chinatown) and provide better service to the tens of thousands of new residents and workers in the Mission Bay and South of Market area.

The price tag of this project should be considered an investment in transit improvement for the estimated 50,000-plus people who ride in the corridor and bring in twice as many riders as the estimated travel time is cut in half.

Chinatown is the densest community in San Francisco. Its car ownership rate is by far the lowest of any neighborhood's. Chinatown would be the perfect example of a transit-oriented community, with mixed-use buildings and high density, but it is in need of better transit to improve mobility.

Mr. Smith should get the privilege of trying to get onto a 30 Stockton bus during rush hour, enjoying the pass-ups and crush load condition when you finally get on. The 30 Stockton line carries close to 30,000 weekday riders and over 37,000 weekend riders and is consistently one of the most overcrowded lines on the system.

He should watch as the buses (correct me if I'm wrong, but the average speed of Muni buses along the Stockton corridor is close to 4 miles an hour) make their way to and from the Market Street area, so I feel that trains underground would speed up service considerably (even at 7 miles an hour), providing more reliable and comfortable service to current and new riders.

In regards to political payback, Rose Pak is a big supporter of this project. She has worked hard over the last 15 years to ensure the economic vitality of Chinatown, a job that someone from the Chinese Chamber should be doing. But Chinatown has also come out to support this project, collecting close to 10,000 names to support bringing better transit to Chinatown.

There are people out there (you know who you are) who would rather see this money used to fund projects along other corridors, but this project has the necessary studies and has the support of the Federal Transit Administration and local/state and federal officials. This project's funding is ONLY designated to this project. To move this money to other projects would require it to start from scratch, potentially costing San Franciscans millions of transportation dollars that may end up going to other parts of the country.

This project won't take away from other projects, such as Geary Street BART or rail service, but will serve to complement it by speeding up service. Projects like these are expensive, but they serve far more people than a new freeway would any day.

Peter Ho
North Beach

I like you -- when you agree with me: I often find much to argue with in [Matt Smith's] pieces, but your recent work on urban design ["According to Plan," Nov. 26] and transportation has been articulate, detailed, and right on the money. With smart urban planners willing to learn from other cities, parts of downtown can be turned into dense, livable areas, the first step towards dealing with this city's housing crisis. Too many housing ideas have been derailed by anti-growth advocates who either irrationally fear "Manhattanization" or are convinced they have a God-given right to public street space to accommodate two-car households and demand every new housing unit have indoor parking.

Perhaps our new mayor will show he is truly independent and stop the planned hijacking of public transportation for petty territorial concerns.

Ryan Singel

Fish Are Colorblind and Sensitive

What the white world of bass fishing needs ["Fishing the Mainstream," Nov. 26]? What a friggin' joke. He [Ish Monroe] is just another guy who is fishing, who just happens to be black. Just like other black, Hispanic, Asian, and other races fishermen. Don't make a big issue because he is black. Big friggin' deal. Make a statement if he is good or not.

Andrew Jackson
Las Vegas

Next Week: Profiles in Lobster Courage: I was really disappointed to see your cover story glamorizing sport fishing. Recent studies have confirmed what animal advocates have long insisted: Fish feel pain. Fish have very sensitive nerve endings in their mouths and can feel pain. Lost fishing hooks, lines, and weights also kill birds and mammals.

But the question remains, what is so fun about killing sentient animals for "sport"? What kind of sport is that? With so much violence in the world, shouldn't we be moving away from heartless killing of animals for fun?

I hope the Weekly will redeem itself by doing a pro-animal cover story, such as exposing the cruelty of factory farms or animal research.

Nora Kramer


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