Letters to the editor

Lamenting over lost lion and other storefront characters

My friend Ulla and my grandma and me think the law for the bear and lion is terrible. I think they [sidewalk characters] set a good example for children and Ulla thinks they look special. My grandma thought they looked friendly in front of the stores.

Anyway, we think it's a horrible law.

Kendra Lively, 8

Lions and waiters and bears, oh my!

When the issue of sidewalks cluttered with stuffed animals, angels, lions and plaster waiters came up last November, I commented to Ashland City Administrator Martha Bennett that this is a dumb issue, that the sign ordinance needs updating, and at the very least, Code Enforcement Officer Dean (I don't make the law, I just enforce it) Walker needs to take a deep breath and a stiff shot of common sense and bug off.

I was told that the sign ordinance "is very complicated" and amending it will take a lot of time and study. Well good. Amend it at the council's leisure; perhaps between therapy sessions on how to behave.

Well, now it appears that Walker's deep breath has worn off and the guardian of the sidewalks has emerged with fervor to keep us all safe from the threat of all things he thinks might threaten pedestrian navigation. No matter that he recommends replacing them with flower planters. Apparently planters are just peachy and not prone to jump out and charm visitors like the aforementioned miscreant offenders.

Again, I recommend that officers Walker and Adam Hanks be told to grow some common sense, judgment and discretion. But most of all BACK OFF and leave the bear, the lion, etc. ALONE.

The Ashland Budget Committee recently recommended cost cutting measures. I suggest that a hard look be taken at Mr. Walker's work load and sense of priorities. If he can't be assigned to something more productive, perhaps he should be shown the door.

Don Stone

Police patrols help protect pedestrians

Where are the Ashland Police Patrol cars? It took a student to be hit by a car and killed before the city and other authorities would drop the speed limit on Siskiyou Blvd.

Drive down the boulevard at any time of day or night and you can find at least one speeding driver. Some drivers did not follow the 35 mph speed limit, why did we assume they would follow the law at 25 mph?

Something more has do be done to prevent speeding and reckless driving (for example: weaving in and out of traffic). I suggest having the police patrol Siskiyou Blvd. more often. I rarely see a patrol vehicle on Siskiyou. I thought the purpose of a marked patrol car was to deter or prevent people from breaking the law?

There are some in Ashland that don't like the police to patrol on the main streets in our town because then it could become a "speed trap." Well, I say to those thinkers, "Then don't speed!"

I like the police presence. It keeps the law breakers in check! Where are the police?

Chris Wolf

Of neighborhoods and pedestrians

Having just returned from an extended trip to Australia I have found myself even more appalled at how callous we are in the U.S. in terms of putting cars and trucks above pedestrians and neighborhoods!

Nearly every neighborhood I traveled through in many cities of varied sizes in Australia had speed bumps that would make the ones on Oak Street look like small ripples in the pavement. These speed bumps slowed traffic to 5-10 mph and were placed roughly every 300-500 feet. Also pedestrian crossings at all streets are given the highest priority with flashing lights, rumble strips and cross walk buttons that actually work.

Even in our relatively progressive city we have problems putting our priorities in order. It took numerous pedestrian accidents downtown to get better safety measures put in place there. After an unfortunate death on Siskiyou Blvd. the city hemmed and hawed over how to respond with apparently more concern over traffic flow and then only doing moderate safety improvements.

In addition, for years I have asked the city to do something about the speeds on my street (Faith Ave.) and its dangerous intersection at Ashland and Clay streets &

only to have the city come up with reasons not to do anything instead of enhancing our neighborhood safety and preventing future accidents.

Having been to a few Traffic Safety Commission meetings it is clear that other concerned citizens and neighborhoods are doing the same without timely, effective and appropriate responses from our city.

It is sad that we value energy use and transportation over livability and safety.

Greg Jones

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