Degradation of springs
My thanks to Mallory O’Connor for her piece on “Using art to help save Florida’s iconic springs.” We now see how difficult it is to slow the continuing degradation of our beloved springs.
I moved to Florida in 1986, and met my future (now my late) wife, Rita Allen Shapiro, in Orlando. She took me on years of adventure, diving the springs, runs and rivers throughout North and North Central Florida. It is sad to paddle some of the same waters, viewing the now dingy-green algae-covered subterranean surfaces where rainbowed patterns of light once danced on crystalline white sands and bright green plants. Drawdown of flows and infusion of nutrients have dimmed their attraction and future.
My hope is that the art of the past decades can enlighten some of those in political power, and who serve on boards such as the St. John’s River Water Management District, and draw them to their senses.
Jeffrey Shapiro, Gainesville
In case you missed the item in the New York Times, Carmel, Indiana — a town of 102,000 — has replaced many traffic lights and stop signs with 140 roundabouts and they're still installing more. The main reason has been safety because they reduce the serious accidents that occur at intersections.
More than half of serious wrecks occur at intersections and the Federal Highway Administration provides funding for roundabouts through certain safety programs. Also, cars are not sitting and idling at a light and therefore use less gas and carbon emissions are reduced. It is estimated that the fuel savings in Carmel amount to about 20,000 gallons a year and 30 fewer tons of carbon emissions.
Other cities such as Sarasota are replacing intersections with roundabouts and the Institute of Transportation Engineers is advocating for them. While they can't replace every intersection, such as the larger ones, they do sound like a good idea where applicable.
Bill Frankenberger, Gainesville
Electric vehicle benefits
Many car buyers who want an electric vehicle (EV) are not convinced it will make a difference. My AAA Living Newsletter addressed the question by sending me to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator. The calculator includes the emissions produced by your local utility to determine greenhouse gas emissions related to your EV.
I entered the year and make of my EV (Chevy Bolt) along with my ZIP code.The result? Driving my EV cuts my vehicle carbon emissions by one third. That helps the planet, but will driving an EV save me money? AAA's 2019 study of gas versus electric vehicle operating costs projected a 55% savings in fuel costs and a 26% savings in maintenance.
Scared to take it out of town? AAA's survey showed 78% of EV owners have a second car but put more miles on the EV to avoid buying gas.
Don Davis, Gainesville
Send us your holiday stories
Do you have a story about your best Christmas gift or another interesting holiday story that you would like to share? Email your story to email@example.com to be considered for publication as a letter to the editor or guest column.
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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Florida's iconic springs, traffic and electric vehicles: Reader letters