Letters (Aug. 11 2010)

Rodeo is abuse and terrorism of animals


I fault the Free Press for giving publicity to the rodeo at the county fair.

Religion mandates our responsibility to the care of the Earth and all life.

Abuse and terrorism of animals, roping steers for sport should be outlawed.

Elma F. David



Light won?t have much effect on safety


At its Tuesday (Aug. 3) meeting the (Hillsboro) City Council accepted an offer from the program Safe Routes to School to underwrite the $3,000 cost of placing a flashing red light at the intersection of Adams and A streets to increase safety for students going to and from the elementary school.

I question the need for the light. I pass that intersection when students are going to school most weekday mornings as I walk to work at Tabor College and I do not sense any problems.

In fact, there are often children frozen at the crosswalk because they are afraid to cross with cars waiting at the stop signs, and there are drivers sitting in their cars attempting to determine whose turn it is to drive through the intersection. I don?t think that a flashing light will solve those dilemmas.

However, the light might give students, parents, school administrators and even law enforcement a false sense of safety. It could also result in unforeseen long-term costs to the city and a reduction in property values.

On the last concern, I applaud the council for accepting the offer contingent upon the light having a timer so it will not operate after dark.

Safe Routes to School wants to encourage more students to walk to school. This is a worthy goal because it would theoretically reduce traffic and make walking safer, to say nothing of the good that the additional exercise would do the students. However, I am not certain that it is a practical goal.

My observations may be colored by the fact that I was raised in a large city where sidewalks were in good repair and there were 4- to 6-foot buffers between the sidewalk and the street for my entire walk to school of about a third of a mile.

This is not the case in Hillsboro. Kennedy and Eisen?hower streets are without sidewalks, as are most of Wilson and parts of Adams.

The part of A Street that is closest to the schools has sidewalks on one side of the street, but there is little or no buffer between sidewalk and street. Furthermore, when it rains, water collects at intersections, such as A and Adams and First and Adams, making it necessary to walk several feet into the street to avoid getting wet.

I am not certain there are any truly ?safe routes to school? from some directions.

I think Safe Routes to School might better have spent its money on bicycle-safety education with the hope of stopping young boys from racing their bicycles in the street and on the sidewalks on Adams Street, and pedestrian education that would train students to walk facing traffic on the streets that do not have sidewalks, so that all of the students would be on the same side of the street when they are walking to and from school.

(Wilson Street can be a real obstacle course with students popping out from behind parked vehicles on both sides of the street.)

An attempt to increase car pooling, especially during inclement weather, might also reduce traffic and make walking safer.

There is nothing the city can do about the unfortunate location of the elementary school at the edge of town where there are fewer sidewalks than elsewhere in Hillsboro, but I do think that more thought needs to be given to what will really make students safer when they go to and from school.

Gari-Anne Patzwald


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