Colour on wheels
I FULLY concur with Steve Baker's request for motorists to ''give cyclists a metre of space if they saw cyclists as people'' (''Cyclists need a little extra room for safety'', March 3, p12). I believe the important point here is ''seeing''; you may have more success with your request if you ditch the black Lycra for a more visible colour.
Mark Dawson, Gordon
Action on tailgating
KATY Gallagher has acknowledged (ABC 666, March 8) that two of Canberra's major road safety problems are speeding and tailgating. Tailgating is endemic in Canberra and shows an ugly side of Canberrans.
The point-to-point speed cameras on Hindmarsh Drive have been credited with bringing down speeds to legal limits, but the greater benefit is that they have almost eliminated tailgating there, presumably because there is no point in pushing other drivers to speed up or get out of the way.
Bring on more point-to-point cameras, I say - they work.
Terry Werner, Farrer
Death at The Lodge
LOCAL historian Alan Foskett is incorrect when he says that John Curtin did not live in The Lodge during his prime ministership.
Curtin died in a small bedroom in The Lodge in 1945. Ben Chifley did indeed suffer a massive heart attack at the Hotel Kurrajong in 1951, presumably in the arms of his mistress Phyllis Donnelly, as his sickly wife stayed in Bathurst.
It was James Scullin who refused to live at The Lodge, describing it as a ''wicked waste of money'' and inviting his guests to join him at the Hotel Canberra. The press gallery was horrified and perplexed by Scullin's behaviour, much as it would be when John Howard refused to live at The Lodge.
Julian Fitzgerald, Farrer
Sort out parking
WHEN are the relevant authorities going to face up to the significant issue of parking in the so called national triangle? If they don't, Canberra will continue to lose its attractiveness as a place to live and a place to visit.
As a resident since 1965, I have to admit that for 30 years or so of working in different parts of the central area I never paid for parking or caught a bus to work. However, Canberra is a totally different city these days and parking needs to be dealt with.
The supportive article in The Canberra Times of March 7 about the The Dream of a Century exhibition at the National Library encourages us all to visit the exhibition, but my visit to NLA a couple of days ago demonstrated yet again how bad the parking problems are in that area. I was there at 10am. After driving around the area adjacent to Questacon I diverted to the Albert Hall where I found a two-hour spot.
Fortunately, I am still fit enough to enjoy a walk, but I despair for those who are unable to do so and I despair for tourists who don't know the area.
I find it hard to believe that at 10am on a weekday, with nothing special on at NLA or Questacon, there was not one spot available.
While the ACT government would want us to believe otherwise, I don't believe that public transport is the answer for most of us. From what (little, admittedly) experience I have had of bus routes, private transport is by far the more efficient means of transport in Canberra. I would suggest that for most of us, if we can't go by car, we won't go at all, which is a great pity because we have wonderful opportunities in Canberra.
I have no problem about paying for parking as long as I can be reasonably assured of getting a spot.
Peter Forster, Curtin
Fuel for thought
AS CANBERRA'S Green/Labor government relentlessly loads up leafy old suburbs with flats, deliberately constrains parking and approves residential skyscrapers, all in the name of ''densification'' - their crude, doctrinaire plan to indirectly force reduced fuel consumption/emissions - we read how car emissions everywhere will be massively reduced in real life (''Leading the charge'', March 9, Drive p8).
Every major car company now produces cars that use less than four litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. Most are home plug-in hybrids. The new Volkswagen XL1, for example, uses 0.9 litres per 100 kilometres. Most use less than two litres. All are fully committed to hybrid technologies.
Time soon to stop stacking us on top of each other in the (vain) hope that we'll sell the car and ride the bus?
Manson MacGregor, Amaroo
Give me shelter
IN RESPONSE to recent correspondents who quite reasonably reflected on the replacement of concrete bus stop shelters with less sturdy structures, (Letters, March 6 and Letters, March 9) it seems appropriate to point out that fewer than half Canberra's bus stops have any shelter.
This includes major stops at which the relevant TAMS bureaucrats apparently remain determined to test the endurance of the relatively few hardy souls willing to patronise ACTION.
Hugh Dakin (March 9) is correct when he says the government was lured into replacing the more vandal-proof shelters by a little earner from advertising on the more modern replacements. That these structures provide quite limited shelter from wind, sun and rain clearly carries less weight in TAMS than the comfort of bus passengers.
Recently, on what is now a rare trip to Fyshwick, I observed one of the new bus shelters guarding a stop on Newcastle Street which has not been served by any bus since May last year. This shelter symbolises a lack of co-ordination within TAMS between those planning bus routes and those responsible for deciding which passengers are favoured by shelters.
It is only fair to point out that despite ineptness within ACTION, the bus company is not responsible for determining the location of shelters nor for the design of Canberra's haphazard bus routes.
Nevertheless, there is much ACTION should do to improve scheduling of services which for years have not met the published timetable. And while the government is more focused on an ill-advised rail link between Gungahlin and Civic, it should seriously address the lack of amenities to present bus users.
Graham Downie, O'Connor
Heed the European mess
THE LATEST Greens policy proposal is to apply levies on Australia's major banks in accordance with their asset holdings. Apparently this policy is modelled on that being applied in Europe. Given the mess Europe's economies and banks are in, one must question the wisdom of copying them.
Edward Dobson, Hughes
Sort our parking (II)
IF THE ACT Government is going to heavily promote events such as Enlighten, it would be assumed traffic management would have been considered. More than one hour to get out of the National Library car park on Friday night was a joke.
Jill Freeman, Kambah
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