Clean air, gas usage and ability to drive 55

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I can still remember the days of leaded gasoline — and before the catalytic converter — where the sky was gray and if you opened the car window to cool down, your eyes stung and tears ran, as the cars in front of you emitted smoke from tailpipes.

I also remember the days of the 55 mph speed limit to reduce the amount of gas used during the oil embargo and for the hoped-for reduction in driving accidents on the roads. Because my car indicated gas consumption while driving, and the eight-cylinder cars were designed for highway driving, I relied on the gas miles-per-hour indicator for my highway driving speed, which was around the California 65 mph driving speed when the car was made, and drove slower in the mountain roads.

So, a 55 mph limit is pitched as a pollution fighter, (“Slowing down to spare the air,” April 20) at a time when the air has been cleaner in California than it has been for decades, the sky is blue and cars do not belch smoke from their tailpipes.

I did not drive at 55 mph then, and likely would not today.

My concern is when the sky turns green, from all the methane gases leaking from the miles of gas transmission pipelines and the distribution gas pipes leading into our homes, plus from the melting permafrost and from lakes and other waterways.

Frank Norton
San Francisco

Cyclist need to follow laws

I would like to comment on the debate going on about how many bicycle riders act in The City. I feel that many need to brush up on the rules of riding. Many cyclists I see do not stop at stop signs or for pedestrians who are already crossing in a crosswalk. I myself recently got hit by a bike while I was crossing the street.

As the number of bicycle riders increases in The City, I find more that feel like they own the road and the laws do not apply to them. Maybe San Francisco needs to enact a law that bike riders need to take riding tests and carry a license, just like with automobiles and motorcycles.

Paula M. Bartunek
San Francisco


Cellphones for homeless?

Did I really read that homeless folks seeking shelter could be asked to text in a reservation request for beds? (“Dialing up safe place to sleep” April 20) We live in the digital age, but from where do the homeless find funds to buy cellphones, much less expensive monthly plans?

Are our city leaders serious that a texting reservation program is the way to improve our woefully lacking shelter system? How about building or finding more shelters and providing free transportation to them, or education, jobs and job training as viable alternatives?

Ann Grogan
San Francisco

Giants’ pitching is fine

You may have been a bit hasty in publishing the Mychael Urban column (“Team’s identity in question without dominant pitching” April 19) which had the misfortune of appearing the day after Matt Cain delivered his two-hit masterpiece — his second masterpiece in a row.

Tim Lincecum may be in a funk, but I think he’ll come out of it soon. And even if he waits awhile, we have Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, and even “Lefty” Barry Zito firing on all cylinders.  
Four for one is still dominance in my book.

Phil Page
San Francisco

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