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Letters to the Editor 

ROUNDABOUT ARGUMENT

The single-lane roundabout replacing the Shelburne Road rotary creates a traffic oasis for all users [“Local Matters,” December 17]. Fifty-three recent car crashes demand action — advisory groups and technical people recommend a standard roundabout that reduces car crashes and creates pedestrian-friendly conditions (one-laners cut serious ped and car injuries by about 90 percent).

The alternative “hybrid” of two lanes entering from Shelburne Road compromises both safety and service. The source in the Seven Days story, transportation engineer Georges Jaquemart, affirmed the single lane as the only realistic choice. Jaquemart’s experience includes several Vermont transportation studies.

Expect most busy Vermont intersections to convert to roundabouts. A series of roundabouts replacing signals — to respond to Burlington transit operators — reduces through-travel times. Besides, roundabouts improve pedestrian movement, a critical element for transit success. The single-laner benefits commuters. Peak traffic delay on Shelburne Road/St. Paul compares to the larger reductions at the South Willard, Locust and Ledge stop signs. This ends unfair delays for neighborhood residents who also commute. Simply put, a roundabout treats all commuters equally. How can one disagree with that?

Finally, the hybrid choice penalizes all three commercial businesses by making their access more difficult — the single-laner allows all traffic businesses access, in and out, without a left turn.

The single-lane roundabout — the choice for all reasons!

Tony Redington

MONTREAL, QUEBEC

Redington is a transportation policy analyst who used to work for the State of Vermont. He’s writing a book about roundabouts.

GAY MARRIAGE IS A CIVIL RIGHT

Steve Cable’s arbitrary assertion notwithstanding [“A More Perfect Union?” January 7], civil marriage is a quintessential civil right. The only requirement for obtaining a state marriage license is establishing legal age. The only prohibitions are having more than one legal spouse at a time and marrying a close blood relative. No course, exam, or proof of good health or good character is necessary. God, the Bible and intention to procreate are not mentioned on a marriage license or license application.

Anyone may marry any number of times; a civil marriage license is valid forever and only the partners may terminate it: by death, divorce, or, occasionally, annulment. Only gay and lesbian couples are categorically excluded from civil marriage for no legitimate or even stated secular reason. Surely this is as much a civil rights violation as being denied the right to vote or practice one’s religion. The California Supreme Court summed it up beautifully and succinctly in ruling that the state has no compelling interest in limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

Judy Olinick

MIDDLEBURY

DELANTY’S DUE

Thank you for the excellent story on Greg Delanty’s scaling of the poetry heights by age 50 [“Burlington Poet Gets an Agenda,” January 7]! Really nicely done. And of course we at Saint Michael’s are very proud and wish we could take credit. At least we’ve provided him a steady gig! He’s astonishing, and your story gave an excellent picture of him.

Buff Lindau

BURLINGTON

Lindau is public relations director of Saint Michael’s College.

NUMBERS GAME

In 2001, the Chittenden Bank marketed some mortgages with the option of having them serviced locally, for a significantly increased rate of interest. Tired of the runaround from remote and impersonal mortgage lenders, I refinanced with Chittenden — and paid this premium — in order to get this feature.

When I got the letter last week announcing Chittenden had sold my mortgage to Everhome [Local Matters, January 14], I called Chittenden to ask if the interest rate would now revert to what they were charging in 2001 for nonlocal servicing.

“Not a chance,” said the customer-service representative. While she maintained it’s written in my contract that Chittenden could at any time sell the servicing, that’s certainly not how they pitched it back when they solicited my business in 2001 . . . In short, she said, Chittenden’s partner Everhome would continue to charge me for services they were not providing and would continue to do so for the 20+ years remaining in the mortgage.

Even if this isn’t fraud, as she maintained, her response clearly evidenced Chittenden’s lack of concern for their customers and leads me to wonder how many others were sold this bill of goods . . . Bernie Madoff, eat your heart out!

Sue Schein

BURLINGTON

TAKE BACK BARRE

I think that my own position is closer to Cathy Resmer’s than to Don Eggert’s [“A More Perfect Union?” January 7], but that’s mostly because a narrow majority of people nationally supports civil unions, and a larger majority opposes gay marriage. I’ve been out of Vermont for almost 10 years now, so I have no idea how it breaks down locally. But having grown up in Barre, the birthplace of the Take Back Vermont movement, I’m not optimistic. And I’m wary of getting into a fight that the religious right seems incredibly eager to have.

Still, I’m completely sympathetic to Eggert’s perspective. I don’t like the idea of anyone being treated like a second-class citizen, even if it’s in name only. I think we’ll see that change in our lifetime, but like so many civil rights advances, a generation or two of bigots will have to pass on from this earth before we’ve got a realistic shot at it.

Bryan Stratton

PORTLAND, OR

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