Restoring the square
EDITOR: I urge Santa Rosa City Council members Erin Carlstrom, Julie Combs and Gary Wysocky to reconsider their opposition to reopening Exchange and Hinton avenues when Courthouse Square is reunified (“Debate reignites on plan for square,” Saturday).
The square needs traffic movement around its perimeter to bring the sense of energy that creates a core where people want to be. Crossing a street to enter the square actually enhances the experience of being in the core, of having arrived at the heart of the city.
If the historical streets are not re-established, we’ll end up with dead pedestrian zones similar to what we have now — uncomfortable places that don’t invite people to stay — only made worse by the loss of any option to get from Third to Fourth streets by car without going several blocks out of the way. Some people will just keep heading away from downtown altogether.
If the streets are reopened, my only concern is that they will be over-engineered in an attempt to limit traffic movement — making them narrow parking alleys rather than real streets. Please let them function as actual streets and return some of the charm that was erased from Santa Rosa by misguided urban planning.
For the birds
EDITOR: The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is considering raising rates in unincorporated areas of the county for street sweeping and dead animal pick-up. This vote is scheduled for today.
I live close to both rock quarries in Forestville; need I say more about street sweeping?
However, dead animal pick-up is different. Large animals, mainly deer, are taken away on a timely basis, and that is much appreciated. Smaller animals are left for Mother Nature — as it should be. The incredible vultures we have out here are much better at doing the job than any human. They do not pollute with diesel, they do not cost a penny, and they are gorgeous birds to watch.
Those of us in rural communities have no problem making sure that a skunk, raccoon, opossum or some other smaller wildlife that has the misfortune of being hit and killed is moved to the side of the road where the vultures can safely eat the roadkill.
The supervisors should stay out of it. They can do nothing more than screw up Mother Nature by trying to clean up every rural road. I’d rather have my rate increase go for pothole repairs or painting the lines on the roads. Rock trucks do a number on both.
Save water, boost yield
EDITOR: A recent editorial mentioned that agriculture can save some 20 percent of water with drip irrigation (“The rising cost of California’s long drought,” Friday). Savings can be much higher. More important, drip irrigation — done efficiently — can usually increase yields compared to any other type of irrigation. The usually increase is at least 20 percent. In one study with chilies, farmers saved 34 percent to 50 percent of the water and got a 33 percent to 48 percent increase in chilies.