I have noted several letters proposing voluntarily limiting speed to 55 MPH on roads like U.S. Highway 101 to lower emissions and gasoline usage (Mailbox, Dec. 26, 2019). This idea has some merit, as I most often drive below the speed limit despite my auto being easily capable of exceeding the limit all day.
May I suggest that drivers that choose to drive significantly slower than the speed limit stay in the right (slow) lane. Not everyone will be on board with the idea, and I can see a monster truck running over the top of, or forcing slower drivers playing CHP into the weeds.
Were that to become a tragic occurrence, I can envision an appropriate memorial for the fast lane turtle. Perhaps a site in a centrally located square in Arcata. The mounted twisted wreckage of the Prius with a plaque and inscription: "In memoriam to so and so. Progressive to the end, martyred by Dodge Ram."
John Dillon, Eureka
I wish to include my own two cents: I am 66 and I ride my bike as much as I can; if we can drive 55, why can't we all start riding our bikes? You never forget how! And it really saves on gas, with doing a lot for keeping you healthy and fit!
Pat Kanzler, Eureka
Mitch Trachtenburg's letter suggested that driving 55 would reduce GHG emissions to combat climate change. While that's a good suggestion, the really important part of his letter is the last line, "... why bother pretending we want to address the problem?" Because the honest truth is that we don't begin to want to inconvenience ourselves to address the climate problem.
Every couple of months, a new study shows the climate disruptions and their serious, ecosystem level negative effects are happening much faster and more severely than projected. To make real planetary differences in this dire situation will take extraordinary sacrifices from everyone, everywhere on the planet, from all social and economic classes, and from all cultures, no matter how long or short their histories are.
In Humboldt, after Terra-Gen, we know that it is more important to preserve pretty views, prevent construction dust, avoid disturbing a few hundred acres of long ago logged private ranch land, concede to one particular group's religious beliefs and prevent a limited number of creatures from dying than to take serious and difficult actions to try ameliorate the climate catastrophe or leave a habitable world for our grandchildren's children. Or even just make our own corner of the world more self-reliant and resilient in the coming turmoil. And all this refusal to act in the name of environmentalism and social justice. We don't need to be doing something, we need to be doing everything – conservation AND solar AND onshore and offshore wind AND hundreds of other hard things. But we really only want solutions that are convenient, simple and don't offend our sensibilities, like driving 55.
Indeed, why bother pretending we'll do whatever it takes to "address the problem?"
Kit Mann, Blue Lake