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    Letters to the Editors

    Who won't enjoy the monorail? Try all of Clearwater


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 14, 2003

    I have tried -- really tried -- to understand the reasoning of the letter writer's Feb. 25 epistle, Monorail would enhance Clearwater's image. My comments also might be germane to the next letter, With roads nearly saturated, we need monorail for quality of life.

    First, is there a valid point being made in suggesting that "the trolleys and cable cars" of San Francisco would enhance the image of Clearwater? I lived in San Francisco for 15 years and can report that:

    -- San Francisco has a population of 700,000 people in an area of 49 square miles.

    -- Cable cars serve less than 8 percent of that area and travel at 9 mph, when not stopped for loading/unloading.

    -- Trolleys serve almost 12 percent. "Trolley buses" serve maybe 20-25 percent but are simply buses with overhead electric lines instead of diesel engines.

    -- The Bay Area Rapid Transit System is a simple (but expensive) subway until it reaches less-congested areas in the East Bay (Oakland, Richmond, etc.) where it becomes just another surface railroad.

    -- San Francisco has more than one tourist attraction. (Clearwater has the beach.)

    Second, how can Clearwater be compared to Tampa International Airport? The TIA monorail serves only to connect one parking garage to one airport terminal, only on one (of four or five) parking level. If you can't park on the monorail level, you simply walk several hundred yards to the main terminal, or you can take stairs or elevators to the monorail level and then ride those few hundred yards. Everyone using the TIA monorail is going to or coming from a concentration of airline service facilities.

    Third, can the letter writer actually keep a straight face when comparing Clearwater to the Disney parks? How extraordinary! Disney monorails connect one Disney tourist attraction to the next Disney tourist attraction to the next Disney tourist attraction, etc., ad nauseam -- which is the sole reason for millions of tourists to utilize acres of parking lots to get anywhere near a Disney park to use the monorail.

    Fourth, "who won't enjoy the ride to the beaches (plural?) and its other stops?" Answer:

    -- Locals who want to get to and from work every day and will have to drive miles to a monorail station, walk (or hire a taxi, or ride a nonexistent PSTA bus) to their place of employment and reverse the process in the evening.

    -- Locals who have to park in a nonexistent mainland parking lot (now a redeveloped high-rise condo), ride the "sky-train-rail-ride" monorail to the Clearwater Beach (singular) terminus, which can't be at the notorious roundabout because the ex-fountain will be dedicated to exciting "sea bird" statuary, then ride the Jolley Trolley (a bus) to (a) have dinner at a favorite restaurant or (b) attend a party at the home of friends, etc.

    -- Tourists (the lifeblood of Clearwater Beach) who have to park near the new Clearwater Mall, ride the "nonstop" monorail to its Clearwater Beach terminus, lug their two-, three- or four-weeks worth of luggage to their north or south Clearwater Beach hotel/motel/condo/private home, where they will enjoy the "Clearwater image" while walking to shops, restaurants and other attractions not served by the monorail, etc. -- in the rain, yet.

    Finally, can anyone -- anyone at all -- convince the real world that tourists will come to Clearwater more than once after they "enjoy the image" of finding the beach so packed with sweaty bodies, they can't spread their beach towels or even walk from Pier 60 to the Adams Mark? The mind boggles.
    -- R.J. Radford, Clearwater

    Largo officials should install sidewalk on Lake Avenue

    I would like to know why the city of Largo will not install a sidewalk on the west side of Lake Avenue from Nursery Road north to Seabreeze Street (less than 300 feet). Ten years ago, Largo said the problem was a small clump of trees. Now the problem is the culvert at Nursery Road. This is about the only block on Lake Avenue that does not have a sidewalk. It is Largo's responsibility (I checked).

    It seems Largo has money for larger projects but not a sidewalk for this one block.
    -- Sheilah Weaver, Clearwater

    New City Council member says thanks to Oldsmar residents

    Now that I've had a minute to catch my breath after a hard campaign, I thought I'd take a few minutes to thank the residents of Oldsmar who signed my petitions that put me on the ballot.

    I also am appreciative of the many friends around town who campaigned for me in their own neighborhoods and anywhere else they happened to be in town when the occasion arose. Their support gave me the added encouragement that one needs sometimes.

    I'd also like to thank the small businesses that allowed me to put up my campaign signs in front of their establishments that gave me exposure, and the St. Petersburg Times and its editorial board for recommending me.

    But most of all, I'd like to thank the residents of Oldsmar who gave me their votes of confidence at the polls on Tuesday. I am looking forward to representing the people of Oldsmar for the next three years.
    -- Janice Miller, Oldsmar City Council Seat 3

    Military group inspires patriotism with Massing of the Colors

    On March 2, there was a wonderful, inspiring event that took place at the Espiritu Santo Catholic Church in Safety Harbor. It was the 25th Massing of the Colors, conducted by the Clearwater Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars.

    This was the most motivating program I have attended in years. With the abundance of war news, this solid program brought more than 500 people and groups together to really appreciate what we have in our country today: patriotism!

    For those of you who missed this event, I hope you'll attend our 26th annual Massing of the Colors next year. As a member of the Clearwater Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars, I am proud to be an American.
    -- Geale H. Miller, Adj., Clearwater Chapter of MOWW

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