Readers’ comments: December 8, 2023

The ‘reality’ is people do want improved bike safety
Dear editor:
I want to respond to a recent letter [“Bike lanes are a colossal waste of money,” December 1] to the Courier by Douglas Lyon. In his letter, Mr. Lyon paints a false reality. He claims a “… reality, which clearly indicates that no one wants to be out bicycling.” That is false based on facts. The facts are, my family and several of our friends love bicycling. I personally do it for recreation and I often ride my bike to the grocery store and downtown. My wife rides her bike to work every day. My kids used to ride their bikes to school, but I no longer want them to because of lack of safety. Over just a few years three horrific accidents occurred involving bicycles on my kids’ route to school. Two of those accidents (both on Mills Avenue) resulted in the riders’ death and the third in serious back injuries to the rider. This third accident involved a mom riding to pick her child up from day care. After learning of these accidents I don’t feel safe having my kids ride their bikes to school, which seems ridiculous in Claremont, where there is no school bus service.
I know that many people do not ride bikes. But the facts are there are many of us who do. And for those who do like commuting by bike, including kids riding their bikes to school, it makes sense to make bike travel safe.
Dave Smith 


Do better, Courier
Dear editor:
Your editorial policy states that letters “are published at the discretion of the editor.” What kind of discretion, I wonder, was exercised in the decision to publish the fatuous letter railing against bike lanes sent by Douglas Lyon [“Bike lanes are a colossal waste of money,” December 1]? He questions the credentials of Harvey Mudd Professor of Political Science and Environmental Policy and Malcolm Lewis Chair of Sustainability and Society Paul Steinberg, calling him only “purportedly” a member of the faculty: a 30-second search of their website would have cleared that up for him. And for you: why publish such easily debunked slurs? Lyon seemingly dismisses Steinberg’s data as “biased” because it reveals a gendered difference regarding desire for bike lanes. He declares that Claremont’s bike lanes are empty … based on his own observation, I guess? He suggests that bicycle commuters in Europe only ride because they cannot afford cars — and he knows, because he’s been to Europe. (I bike to work most every day, leaving my car in the garage at home. But never mind that.)
I’m not primarily irritated at Lyon — he’s inconsequential. I’m irritated at you, Courier, irritated that you chose to publish this letter. Not because I’m what Lyon calls a “bike lane fanatic”: like every bike rider I appreciate them, of course, but that’s not really the issue (there are practically none on the route I take to and from work, and that’s fine). The issue is that the letter is six kinds of ignorant. I would give it to my first-year writers and ask them to catalog all its logical fallacies, but they’d think I was insulting their intelligence. Do better, Courier. You’re under no obligation to publish every idiotic letter that you receive (including this one). Please don’t waste our time and patience.
Kevin Dettmar


City making ‘huge mistake’ in tree management strategy
Dear editor:
A concerned Claremont resident asked me to review and comment on the city’s proposed tree species mitigation plan. I hold a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Cornell University, and am an emeritus professor at Cal Poly Pomona.
Although we have been told that the plan has been withdrawn, it is not clear that the City of Claremont has any intention of preserving trees where hardscape conflicts occur.
The plan targeted three species, stone pine, red ironbark eucalyptus, and Canary Island pine for removal. The 5% loss of red ironbark eucalyptus and 2.3% loss of Canary Island pines does not seem to justify this action. The proposed plan appeared to be less about mitigation of the named species than on repair of curbs and sidewalks that have been damaged or threatened by tree roots. It appears that in Claremont, tree removal is the only solution.
Where there is a conflict, all alternatives to removal of the trees should be considered, and many cities employ practices to preserve trees where possible. For example, the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Tree and Sidewalks Operation Plan. Similar efforts to preserve trees have taken place in Palo Alto and Sacramento. Such practices include diamond plates, shaving roots, and meandering sidewalks to provide more room for roots.
Although we have been told that a plan to remove all of three tree species has been withdrawn, it is so flawed in methodology and scope that it reveals an abject failure to understand the principles of urban forestry and resource conservation. It is a huge mistake to leave the future of Claremont’s trees in the hands of the Community Services Department when its director fails to understand principles of modern urban forestry.
Fred Roth
Rancho Cucamonga

Share This