Opinion | Trucks, Cars, Bikes Battling for Space on City Streets

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To the Editor:

Re “Online Retailers Are Taking Advantage of a Public Resource: City Streets,” by Christopher Caldwell (Opinion guest essay, Aug. 19):

The reason those Amazon trucks are double parked is that the parking spaces are already full of private cars.

Most private cars spend more than 95 percent of their life parked. (On average, Americans drive less than an hour per day.) This is an incredible waste of resources — the natural resources consumed to build the car and the public space devoted to storing the car when not in use.

For densely populated cities like New York, the delivery trucks are not the problem. The cars are.

Having a handful of delivery trucks, full of packages, wend their way through the neighborhood making deliveries is far more preferable than having everyone in the neighborhood driving their cars back and forth to the store. It reduces congestion and is far more fuel-efficient, and by extension creates a much smaller carbon footprint.

The delivery trucks will become even more efficient if they no longer have to sit in the congestion created by private cars and can more easily park directly in front of the delivery location.

The long-term goal should be to largely remove private cars from the city, and to expand mass transit, biking, walking and the use of delivery services.

Robert Constant
East Rockaway, N.Y.

To the Editor:

While criticizing large e-commerce companies for their ubiquitous delivery vans, Christopher Caldwell also strangely casts blame on the most affordable and least space-intensive mode of transport: the bicycle.

Though the average new car in America costs roughly $48,000, and car ownership increases steadily with income, he sees those riding bikes as “elites.” It’s a tired, and empirically inaccurate, claim that treats every car trip as essential and every bike trip as leisurely and discretionary.

Mr. Caldwell quotes someone asking how those of us who travel by bicycle get our groceries, incorrectly assuming that we cannot carry food home in backpacks, panniers and baskets.

If his goal is less noise and air pollution, fewer traffic fatalities, less carbon emissions and more play space for children, the humble bicycle will bring us closer to these manifold goals.

Given that he evokes Jane Jacobs in his defense, Mr. Caldwell may want to consider that she was the consummate urban cyclist and successfully fought to reduce on-street parking and preserve vibrant urban streets.

Marcel Moran

Treating Water From Nuclear Plants

To the Editor:

Re “Japan Is Setting an Awful Example With Fukushima’s Water,” by Azby Brown (Opinion guest essay, Aug. 23):

Mr. Brown’s criticism of Japan’s plan to discharge water treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (A.L.P.S.) at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is illogical and unfair. For years, comprehensive studies on A.L.P.S.-treated water were conducted, and alternatives were considered in consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Discharging the treated water into the sea was determined to be the best method when considering risk management, and an I.A.E.A. report recently concluded that Japan’s procedures are consistent with international safety standards. Furthermore, the amount of tritium in the water is less than what is regularly discharged from nuclear power plants around the world, including those in China.

We have held over 1,500 meetings with interested parties domestically and internationally, and many have welcomed the I.A.E.A.’s conclusion.

Monitoring results for tritium concentrations in seawater will be reported daily. Japan remains fully committed to providing information based on scientific evidence in a transparent and timely manner for people across the world, particularly those who have suffered from harmful rumors and disinformation.

Ono Hikariko
The writer is the press secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Mark Meadows’s Official Duties

To the Editor:

Re “Meadows Asks Judge to Shift Georgia Case to U.S. Court System” (news article, Aug. 29):

Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff, argues that his work on the Trump campaign was part of his official duties.

Really? By law, campaign work cannot be part of one’s official duties. It is a violation of the Hatch Act to do any campaign-related work while on the job, and he may be incriminating himself. Any work on or for a campaign needs to be done after hours and not on the taxpayers’ dime.

Irving Ruderman
The writer is a former congressional staffer.

Abortions to Save the Mother

To the Editor:

Re “After Ballot Losses, Where Does the Anti-Abortion Movement Go Next?,” by Jane Coaston (Opinion, nytimes.com, Aug. 21):

Ms. Coaston’s interview with Kristin Hawkins, an anti-abortion activist, included a phrase that is new to me: “maternal-fetal separation.” Ms. Hawkins said this term is used for a medically necessary termination when the fetus would otherwise not survive a full-term pregnancy.

Well, jeez, is a thing not a thing when we call it something else? Do abortion opponents want to fool themselves by using new terminology? Or are they finally coming to terms with the science, which shows that pregnancy does not always result in a healthy birth?

Pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancy and early rupture of membranes are only three of the serious complications of pregnancy, and they all can endanger the mother’s life.

Women with kidney disease, pulmonary hypertension and cancer often need lifesaving medical treatments which may harm or kill a fetus. If they opt not to have these diseases treated in order to protect the fetus, they could die.

I am ardently pro-choice, and I’ve listened to the “no abortions ever” arguments for decades. They’ve all seemed to completely ignore the health of the pregnant woman. If Ms. Hawkins and her cohorts can now bless the concept of maternal-fetal separation, I’d call that a good first step.

Dianne Olsen
North Adams, Mass.

Hungry College Students Need Help

To the Editor:

Re “A Food Pantry That Keeps Hunger at Bay for Needy College Students,” by James Barron (New York Today newsletter, nytimes.com, Aug. 14):

Mr. Barron’s recent report about the Purple Pantry shines a powerful spotlight on a widely overlooked problem: food insecurity among college students. With a shocking one in three college students facing hunger, charitable programs like the Purple Pantry can only serve as temporary solutions to a systemic national economic and social crisis.

Federal safety net programs like SNAP provide the most effective and efficient response to college hunger, but I am deeply concerned that college students and others are falling off a hunger cliff now that emergency SNAP allotments are expiring and some in Congress want to limit these lifesaving benefits.

With Congress turning its attention to the 2023 Farm Bill, this is a critical opportunity to enact the Enhance Access to SNAP Act and other sensible anti-hunger policies that seek to remove harmful and burdensome “work for food” rules.

Abby J. Leibman
Los Angeles
The writer is the president and chief executive of the nonprofit MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.

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