Letters from our Readers: Bay Bridge facts have this driver taking detour

Your Oct. 18 Bay Bridge article revealed that questions have arisen about whether the new bridge would withstand a major earthquake and that unlike BART, Caltrans is rebuilding the bridge to a lower seismic standard.

To think that the new suspension bridge could fail during a temblor and snap away from the skyway has caused this San Francisco motorist to take the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge whenever possible.

Is it any wonder that San Francisco and the state of California are in such economic trouble?

Frank Norton, San Francisco

French bikers aren’t rude

I just returned from Paris and was pleasantly surprised to see that bicyclists there are very courteous, yield to pedestrians, do not blow through stop signs and follow the rules of traffic. It would be nice if the bicyclists in San Francisco could obey the traffic laws and practice a little courtesy, instead of having a hostile attitude toward anyone not on a bike.

Paris has a very high quality of life that San Francisco aspires to, but will never achieve. Why can’t San Francisco bicyclists follow the Parisian model and quit breaking the law constantly? Incidentally, the ultimate “green” statement is not a bicycle. It’s walking.

Ben Herman, San Francisco

City needs appointed clerk

I urge Burlingame voters to join me and other community leaders in voting “yes” on Measure I, to switch to an appointed city clerk. Two-thirds of California cities have switched to an appointed city clerk. The duties of city clerks have become increasingly complex, yet state law only requires elected clerks to be age 18 and registered voters in the cities where they reside.

In practice, Burlingame city clerks are appointed now. For the past 25 years, the City Council has appointed a city clerk from the ranks of experienced city employees when the sitting clerk retired before term-end. Then, that interim clerk almost always runs unopposed in the next election and is elected.

If the clerk is opposed in an election or under recall, it’s expensive to have an extra election. You wouldn’t want an elected police chief or public works director, would you?

Terry Nagel, City Council member, former mayor, Burlingame

Cost-effective off-ramp fix

I’m a 20-year taxi driver and native San Franciscan. I see so many accidents at the hairpin turn going east onto Cesar Chavez Street from Highway 101 south. There is only one sign off to the left that you can’t see clearly enough, instead of the three or four signs needed. A simple white line painted around the exceptionally low curb would also help lower the accident count.

Despite years of ongoing accidents, this turn has never been rated a “major traffic obstacle.”

I suspect that is because these accidents mostly happen very early in the morning, 2 to 4 a.m., when partygoers are coming home and I’m getting off my shift.

Sure, you might think the victims are drunk, but that’s no excuse for an unsafe off-ramp. I’m sure making the curve safer would be cost effective, considering The City’s costs for firefighters, police and ambulances to aid the victims.

Peter Witt, San Francisco

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