I think that traffic courtesy is generally reasonable in Canberra. However, a developing bad habit is that drivers leave much bigger spaces between vehicles at traffic lights than they once did. Probably they feel they can easily pick up the gap once the traffic starts to move. The problem comes at places like the Hindmarsh Drive intersection on the Tuggeranong Parkway, when driving toward Woden at busy times.
There are three traffic lights in a row, and the vehicles at the back of the queue often have to go through another light cycle because they are held back by the inter-vehicle gaps ahead of them.
It seems to be a case of people just not thinking – if their vehicle gets through that's fine, and the devil take the hindmost.
We certainly can't blame our roads for this slowing of traffic on the road to Woden and onto the Parkway to Civic.
Neville Exon, Chapman
Road safety near schools
I was concerned to read about the number of drivers caught exceeding 40km/h in school zones.
The ACT has many school zones (sometimes not well identified) so that, unless you are a local, drivers are less likely to be as cautious and attentive as they should be. I notice in other parts of Australia school zones are clearly identified with bright LED signs powered by solar panels during school hours.
Could our green-minded ACT government install these signs as a matter of urgency to protect our school kids? The cynic in me could believe the government's priority is more about collecting revenue from unaware drivers than it is about road safety.
Bruce Boyd, Bruce
Snakes on a plane
Can I take my emotional support gorilla on a plane or train? I feel much safer as nobody picks on the little guy who has a pet gorilla.
The recent refusal of an airline to allow a peacock as an emotional support animal has highlighted the use of animals to aid humans.
The use of support animals, especially guide dogs and now seizure dogs, is almost universally accepted and they are welcome by both public acceptance and the law. The few cafe owners that used to try to ban guide dogs on the grounds of hygiene found that this was both illegal and improper.
The use of emotional support animals seems to be a more recent occurrence and is not so clear cut. The person has to have a disability that is certified by a medical authority. There seems to be no precise list of what animals are acceptable, although snakes are more likely to only be in the films. Some people won't or can't fly on planes for any number of reasons, but maybe the comfort of the many outweighs that of the individual.
In the old days emotional support was provided by valium and sleeping tables which might still be the best option as toilet training a gorilla is quite difficult.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Melbourne
Our land of sun power
John L Smith (Letters, February 4) states "... using millions of small solar/battery installations in order to reduce [the grid's] size doesn't stack up. This is not Germany. This is the land of copious sunshine and land aplenty."
Exactly! It is the copious sunshine and land that makes Australia ideally suited for solar power generation of any size – from small rooftop arrays to solar farms. The same goes for wind generation.
Mr Smith's primary concern appears to be that owners of rooftop solar don't appear to contribute to the upkeep of the grid, yet fails to see that they still pay their supply charges plus pay the full cost for electricity consumption. Furthermore, the electricity generated on their roof has a lesser distance to travel to meet the electricity needs of the next property without rooftop solar.
He also claims that the spot price is 7c per kWh. The spot price is variable and depends on supply and demand at any given time. The 7c he refers to is the miserable, well below wholesale price most energy companies pay to owners of rooftop solar for their excess energy.
It appears that Mr Smith is jealous of his neighbours' rooftop solar; if he is a home owner there is little to stop him from getting some solar panels installed himself and if he is renting, he could always have a chat to his landlord. I have just last month arranged for a 5kW system to be installed on my property in Perth for my tenant.
G. Bell, Franklin
Salvos' generous spirits
Thank you Canberra Times for your insightful article ("The Salvo chaplains offering a lifeline", February 4, p17).
The compassion, non-judgment and generosity of spirit demonstrated by Major Andrew Schofield, Sharon Widdowson and Bronwyn Burnett are exemplary.
They demonstrate the grace of God in a tangible way and offer a lifeline to clients of the court that no bureaucracy could do.
Ric Small, Evatt
Abusing master plans
R.R. Temple (Letters, February 7) is right to complain about the abuse of master plans. Sadly, they're not strictly part of the Territory Plan. Consultant planners seem to be heavily involved. In some cases, their firms grew out of former government employment, and some are actually connected with real estate businesses.
On behalf of clients, they seem to regularly put forward highly inflated development proposals for sites on or just outside the land covered by the master plans, bludging off and insulting the hard work government planners and the community put into them.
Planning authority rejection of such a development proposal has actually led to the leaseholder petulantly closing down the site. Some such proposals may have constructive merit, most don't.
Sadly, in many cases our neo-conservative Treasury encourages acceptance of these nefarious proposals, simply for the relatively trifling "betterment" monies.
It favours "land economics" over planning. That insults the local community, and irresponsibly overlooks the important urban, architectural, landscape, and environmental design principles, as well as the social imperatives, that informed the master plan. That's unprofessional and uncivilised.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
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