This is progress?
To say that I am utterly disgusted by your 'up' arrow for the Common Council approving the Krupp development is a polite understatement (Fortunes, 7/21/06). Once again the city has chosen to ignore the people who must reside next to a four-story monstrosity that will be plunked down in the middle of a primarily single-family neighborhood.
While seeming to promote diverse residential neighborhoods, the city has actually taken diverse neighborhoods and turned them into ugly, noisy and dirty multi-unit dwelling disgraces.
My near-west-side neighborhood, the oh-so-prestigious University Heights, is a prime example. Not only has the city saddled us with a noisy, dirty, pollution-belching power plant, but a three-story apartment complex as well. Oh sure, we were told the complex was to be mixed use with retail space, but it is painfully obvious that was never intended. The minuscule 'retail' space tucked into a corner of the ugly faÃade is unsuitable for any type of business.
What the complex has brought to the neighborhood is increased noise, more parking problems (as if they weren't bad enough before), and more litter. The litter in my yard has included liquor bottles, used condoms and vomit!
Now we are waiting for the next shoe to drop. We have already lost diversity in the 2500 block of University Avenue. Wonderful neighborhood businesses such as James J. Chocolates and EVP Coffee have fled, and our beloved Lulu's will soon follow due to another development! Ain't progress grand!
Regarding Phil Erde's letter questioning the greenness of biofuels (7/21/06): There is no debate about the 'net-zero emissions' of carbon dioxide when speaking of combustion of biofuels compared to combustion of fossil fuels. Combustion of biofuels is spectacularly greener.
Erde's response doesn't take into account important facts of atmospheric and geologic science. Coal, natural gas and petroleum resources have been isolated from the atmospheric carbon cycle for millions of years. The relatively stable levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the last millennium began shooting upwards in the past several decades, coinciding with the onset of fossil-fuel combustion.
Peer-reviewed research has shown that there is a correlation between fossil fuel combustion and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Once fossil fuel materials are extracted and combusted, they reintroduce carbon into the atmosphere, which effectively adds to the current levels of atmospheric carbon greenhouse gases and carcinogenic pollutants.
At the rate that fossil fuels are consumed (and even at much lower rates of consumption), the capacity of the carbon-sequestering mechanisms of the carbon cycle are overwhelmed by the large addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere over a short period of time.
If fossil fuels were consumed at a very slow rate, and if the trees and other carbon sequestering mechanisms of the planet's carbon cycle were allowed to ramp up capacity to process this perturbation, then possibly the atmospheric levels of carbon wouldn't rise so rapidly. Even this tack has its risks and would eventually result in resource depletion.
Fortunately, all of the combustion products of biofuels came from what energy and nutrients the plants absorbed from the atmosphere, soil and sun about one year ago when those plants grew. Therefore, biofuel combustion fits entirely inside a stable carbon cycle, and thus has genuinely sustainable possibilities.
Combustion of biofuels, in short, is spectacularly greener.
The real problem
The bicyclist-versus-motorist feud has only gotten worse in Madison over recent years. Regardless of skyrocketing oil prices, the number of cars on the road continues to increase while bicyclists are fighting for a spot.
I absolutely agree that all bicyclists must obey the rules of the road. However, changing the law to require cyclists to ride on the sidewalk as an alternative would be more dangerous than anything else (Letters, 7/28/06). Cars backing out of driveways or pulling out of parking lots would have to be on the lookout for cyclists. Sidewalks simply do not have two lanes for bicyclists traveling in opposite directions. Besides, where would the pedestrians go?
The real problem is inadequate space for bikes on many roads in the city ' we need more lanes!
Lulu is hell
Okay, I have been trying to read Lulu Eightball now for a while and I can't. Life is hell without Life in Hell. Please bring it back.