For a relatively small city, Eureka offers a couple of unique public transportation features ("Eureka Council Moves Forward with H and I Street Changes," posted online Aug. 8). The first is a north/south six-lane neighborhood freeway, three lanes in each direction, that can zip you all the way from downtown to sister city Henderson Center at an average speed of 40 to 50 miles per hour in just minutes. Intersection stop lights are timed for maximum speed by holding cross traffic in your favor. One drawback to this system is you might find yourself stopped on 14th at H or I just after the light has changed at 10 p.m. with absolutely no traffic anywhere in sight and sit there for what seems like forever. Apparently there are no cameras since I haven't yet gotten a ticket in the mail.
The other feature is an east/west public drag strip with 15-second countdown timers at major north/south intersections. This allows you to pick up speed as the timer reaches the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 yellow caution light preceding the stop light. At about 40 miles per hour, you can beat this light from a-block-and-a-half away. With good light-timing and no one in your way, you can go from Broadway to Myrtle on Seventh Street in about two or three minutes.
Which reminds us all who are old enough to remember the proposed Eureka downtown 101 bypass of the late 1960s and early 1970s. With the removal of some tired Victorian-style buildings between Sixth and Seventh streets, a new and modern four lane bypass would zip the out-of-town traveler quickly and safely past the jumble and inconvenience of driving through downtown Eureka. The current arrangement accomplishes the same thing at a much cheaper cost. Just don't tell the out-of-town travelers. Let's keep this one to ourselves.
Rumor has it that some changes may be in the works. But for now enjoy the convenience and excitement. Look forward the latest issue of Hot Rod Traveler magazine which highlights Eureka's unique driving experiences.
Roy Marin, Eureka
The Eureka City Council's decision to reduce the number of lanes on H and I streets does not address the real problem: the pedestrian.
I have been walking and riding a bicycle in Eureka for 18 years and driving for 12 years. I have observed many people with headphones covering their ears while staring at a computer screen walking around totally oblivious to what is going on around them. I have also seen many pedestrians crossing major roads against a red light.
Reducing the number of lanes on H and I streets will do nothing to address this problem. Something needs to be done to hold pedestrians accountable.
In fact, reducing the number of lanes will make it more difficult to cross H and I streets at intersections not controlled by a traffic light. This is because the cars will be closer together in two lanes than they would in three lanes, giving a pedestrian or bicyclist less time to get across the street.
In a recent poll on KIEM-TV, 85 percent of the respondents were opposed to reducing the number of lanes on H and I streets.
Nick Baum, Eureka