Reduce traffic on the Plaza
The cty of Ashland is looking for public input on improving the Plaza. However, Covey Pardee Landscape Architects will not consider "traffic issues" because they're "outside the scope of the project."
As these folks are landscape architects, this makes sense. What doesn't make sense is the city considering a two-lane Main Street without contemplating traffic changes around the Plaza.
Constructing "a low stage on part of the Plaza," as proposed by one design concept, is a community-friendly idea. But the postage-stamp-sized Plaza is far too small as it is. The problem: The island of the Plaza is encircled by traffic lanes. The solution: The City of Ashland could transform the streets surrounding the Plaza into a landscaped, pedestrian-friendly area.
A two-lane Main Street will cause "backups, greater congestion and more frustration with traveling through the city," as a June 23 Tidings editorial asserts. This will not necessarily be a bad situation. Drivers will be forced to slow down, and many will re-evaluate their need to drive through the downtown area. Others will feel misplaced anger and resentment toward the bicyclists breezing past them. There will undoubtedly be a period of adjustment.
Those too lazy to walk several blocks to the downtown area from parking lots should no longer be pampered — unless they're tourists, in which case the city could provide rickshaws and bicyclists wearing 16th-century attire to carry them from parking lots to downtown.
People who are fanatically attached to their motorized appendages should not be given precedence over a bicycle-, pedestrian- and community-friendly downtown area.
Welcome to the real-world concept of sustainability.
Narrowing Main Street: Don't do it
As a resident who works at and frequents Main Street on foot, by car and by bike, I personally feel that reducing main street is a lousy idea for the following reasons:
1. Narrowing the road will create a bottleneck, congestion and frustration, possibly increasing the risk for accidents instead of decreasing it.
2. Biking downtown is pleasant right now without a bike lane.
3. Widening the sidewalks?! Are we expecting people walking their pet llamas?
4. There is already a north-and-south bike path. Improvements could be focused here.
5. Construction will be a large inconvenience for the entire town, especially the shop owners along Main Street, increasing the potential for lost revenue.
6. Four hundred thousand dollars? Yeah, right. These things often run way over budget.
My appeal: Don't do it!
Food project says thanks for support
Wednesday, June 20, was officially the third anniversary of the Ashland Food Project's first pickup and our successful partnership with the 40-year-old Ashland Emergency Food Bank. Since that day in June, 2009, Ashlanders have filled their green bags with more than 270,000 pounds of food. It's an amazing achievement.
As Governor Kitzhaber said at our celebration on June 19, the Food Project is an inspiring example of neighbors helping neighbors. It's also a testimony to the innovative spirit of the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. Our community is very lucky to have such a wonderful food bank — and the AFP is lucky to have such a dependable, supportive partner. Without their cooperation, the AFP would have had a very difficult time taking root. We salute the AEFB's volunteers and board for the wonderful work they've done — and continue to do. We look forward to working with them for many years to come. And to all our donors, neighborhood coordinators, volunteers and supporters, a heartfelt thank you!
John Javna, Paul Giancarlo and the Steering Committee of the Ashland Food Project
Be careful with pets in hot weather
I'm not trying to tell you how to take care of your pets, but I'm concerned about the safety of dogs in hot weather.
If dog owners knew the danger involved in leaving their pets in their cars with the windows cracked, they would leave them at home.
The following information is a quote from a flier from The Animal Protection Institute.
"On hot — or even warm — sunny days, the inside of the car heats up very quickly. On an 85-degree day, for example, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside a car can climb to 102 degrees in 10 minutes, to 120 degrees in 30 minutes. On warmer days it will even go higher.
"A dog's normal body temperature is 101.5 to 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A dog can withstand a body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit for only a short time before suffering irreparable brain damage — or even death. The closed car interferes with the dog's normal cooling process, that is, evaporation through panting."
So, with this important information, please, the next time your pets beg to go with you on a hot day, just tell your best friends that it's too hot for doggies.
When taking your pets in the back of your pickup on hot summer days, be sure to put a blanket in the bed of your truck so your pets won't burn the pads of their feet. They'll lick you for it.
Letters to the Editor
Reduce traffic on the Plaza