Should we stay or should we go?
I’m writing as a concerned citizen of Durham. In recent weeks, there have been three fatal biking accidents locally, which speaks to the insufficient infrastructure for both pedestrians and cyclists regionally.
My husband and I moved here from Michigan eight months ago and selected Durham over Raleigh and other communities regionally largely due to the Tobacco Trail, which my husband utilizes daily for his 9-mile bike ride into his job at RTP. After moving to Durham, we quickly fell in love with the city’s character and purchased a home. We’re a one-car family and find that this adopted lifestyle allows us to spend more of our paychecks at the local Durham restaurants and markets we love to frequent. I think you’d find a similar tale with many of the urban households that have decided to settle here in Durham. They value their community, and prefer simple modes of transportation like biking and walking – modes that allow us to know our neighbors and our community in a fundamentally different way.
There are construction cranes dotting Durham’s landscape today. These exciting changes for our city will bring an increased demand for cycling, pedestrian and transit-related amenities. Look at any report – young professionals today are abandoning the suburbs and choosing to live in connected, vibrant and bustling cities instead, often without a vehicle as a means of transportation. As a municipality, Durham needs to recognize this shift in demographic demand and understand the essential nature of providing basic transportation infrastructure for these alternative modes.
Dale McKeel, the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, does an amazing job with the resources he’s provided. His dedication to improving the city is evident and his work should be recognized and applauded. Currently, the city only appropriates half of Mr. McKeel’s salary, leaving Durham with essentially only a part-time position to cover all the needs of the entire city borders. If the city of Durham wants to retain and attract young professionals, and given their propensity to transform cities with their energy, passion and desire for change, I know we do; it’s time to recognize that additional funding needs to be appropriated to create better urban design that embraces and encourages all modes of transportation.
We want to stay in Durham, we want to stay so much. But quite frankly, I can’t be worried about my husband getting hit on his way to work, or my children getting killed when we ride as a family down to Watts for their first day of school. We want to do whatever we can to help move Durham forward – so if there are opportunities – please let us know so we can get plugged in. In the meantime, please consider our family’s desperate request that the city recognize the dire state our infrastructure is in, and wake up and do something about it.
Mary and Jay Sell
Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to Mayor Bill Bell and is printed here with the writers’ permission.
Bike at your own risk
People need to realize that, when you consider the relatively small population that choose to walk or bicycle to get around (as we are too spread out on the landscape), the level of injury and death is unacceptably at epidemic proportions.
It should not be that almost every single cyclist I know has had, at least, one accident involving a car. Three of the four members of my immediate family have been hit by cars while riding their bicycles. Which other activities, that we do daily, exhibit that level of risk?
Cycling, or walking, are normally benign, safe activities, but in the presence of car. Instead, it has become very risky to do either. Had we been fighting an exotic disease, these events would have been top stories in the news, and drivers violating the safe access rights of cyclists and pedestrians should be prosecuted for endangering the vulnerable.
People should be more upset than they are. I have been quite upset, for about 36 years now.
Sally S.K. McIntee
via editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page
Not always driver’s fault
Actually, cyclists in Durham are continuously breaking the road rules and doing insanely risky things that endanger others in the right of way beside themselves.
I was in a bike safety club and a community worker in bike safety awareness for youth for years, and I've never seen such egregious biking behavior and disregard for safe cycling as I have in Durham.
I'm pretty tired of this one sided point of view I see everywhere assigning the fault to drivers. Driver behavior in Durham is truly deplorable but cyclists’ behavior is terrible also.
Debra Billieux Hawkins
via editor Mark Schultz’s Facebook page
Abundance of evidence
Regarding Bob Wilson’s column “Life after death? I’ll believe it when ...” (DN, bit.ly/11yl5qJ )
The author of this commentary has shown himself to be ignorant of the facts as he resorts to a common ploy used by skeptics – keep stating mistruths and keep repeating erroneous information. The fact is that pioneers of psychical research such as J.B. Rhine, as well as other modern-day scientists, have now produced replicated studies of ESP, with meta-analyses of the data showing odds against chance of over one billion to one. Yes, there is an abundance of scientific evidence that our minds can act independently of our physical brains (a pre-requisite to a belief in survival).
The author is evidently equally ignorant of four decades of research of children’s past life memories, numerous studies of near death experiences conducted under controlled conditions, and mediumship studies going back 150 years. The mediumship studies were conducted by some of the greatest minds of science, including medical doctors, scientists, psychologists, professors, and those in the legal profession. Further evidence is available from studies of deathbed visions, a phenomenon well known to health care professional working in hospice care.
As to the allegation that the “outfit” to which he refers, Forever Family Foundation, is advertising its service as a medium for fraudulent mediums - the Foundation is an all-volunteer 501c3 not for profit that educates the public about existing evidence of non-local consciousness. It conducts a certification program to weed out the mediums who cannot do what they claim, but does not offer services for mediums nor any scientists on its board.
And yes, in addition to the scientific evidence, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence, as such phenomena is not conducive to laboratory study. However, that does not mean it should be ignored, especially when polls have shown that the majority of people have had experiences that cannot be explained by materialist science.
Some may believe that blind faith in life after death is enough, but others prefer to see some evidence. Instead of digging one's head in the sand, perhaps those such as this commentator should take some time to actually learn about the existing evidence before dismissing it.
Spoons and forks
Regarding Bob Wilson’s column “Life after death? I’ll believe it when ...” (DN, http://bit.ly/11yl5qJ)
It’s really a shame this gentleman who wrote the article didn't attend the conference, then maybe he would have seen with his own eyes, what really did happen.
At the Rhine Research Center on Thursday numerous spoons and forks bent that day. One woman even bent six spoons and a fork. I personally bent two spoons and one fork.
And yet spoon bending was just one of many events happening at the weekend conference. He also couldn’t have known, since he didn't attend, the scientist, psychologist and doctors who were present and the outstanding evidential information they presented. This wasn’t something just whipped up out of the blue, this is decades of work.
Maybe this article is a good lesson for everyone who reads it to have the facts before making comments that are incorrect. I truly hope this gentleman gets a chance to read up on the afterlife evidence that is out there. It's really quite amazing, and the amount of folks who have been helped by it is even more so.