Letters to the Editor, July 14, 2012

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 1:08pm

To: the Editor—

There is a town in central Florida called The Villages. Geographically, it is roughly the same size as Block Island. That is about the only thing that The Villages and Block Island have in common.

One of the things that makes The Villages unique is the use of golf carts for people to get around, whether to visit friends or to go shopping. The golf carts have a top speed of about 20 miles per hour and a range of about 65 miles (battery powered) to a little over 200 miles (gasoline powered.) They can carry up to four people. On the heavily travelled roads, the golf carts have their own lanes, but on the less heavily travelled streets, the golf carts share the road with the cars. As for parking, the golf carts often park perpendicular to the curb, with two golf carts fitting in a space usually taken up by one automobile.

For years, there have been discussions about the traffic and parking issues around the downtown areas of Block Island. During that time, there have been many suggestions as to how to alleviate the problem, but since the problem still exists, I’d like to add my two cents to the issue.

How about making golf carts legal on Block Island streets? The downsides are (1) the ferry company and the gas station could object because they could lose some business, (2) I don’t know how golf carts would handle the Block Island hills, and (3) the Rhode Island statutes may not allow this.

But the upside would be (1) a decrease in the number of automobiles on the island resulting in a reduction of air pollution (2) a decrease in the number of tanker trucks coming across on the ferry, (3) a reduction of the traffic and parking issue downtown, and (4) if golf carts replaced (even partially) mopeds, the annoying buzzing sound of the moped herds would disappear. (The businesses that now rent mopeds could rent golf carts, so that would be a wash.) Also, and no small matter, the accidents and injuries resulting from the use of mopeds would hopefully be severely lessened, reducing the load on emergency services (the Medical Center, Rescue Squad and Life Star).

I don’t claim that this would be a panacea nor do I think that the use of golf carts should be mandatory. But allowing golf carts to serve as an important part of the Block Island transportation network should be considered.

I would be glad to research details if there is any interest in this proposal.

Norm Topf

Corn Neck Road

To: the Editor—

Adding to failures of the Portsmouth wind turbine discussed in letters to you from Mr. Terry Mooney, Ms. Arlene Tunney et al in your June 23 issue, the turbine has failed yet again, this time catastrophically. The gearbox has failed, first reported in the July 3 Bristol Patch and confirmed personally to me on July 9 by Mr. Gary Crosby, the project manager.

Replacement costs of around $400,000 have been estimated. It is not covered by warranty.

It is important to publicize this as widely as possible, because the Portsmouth turbine has been widely publicized as a role model to be emulated everywhere.

The secondary damage has also already begun. A small turbine erected in Bristol this year and inspired by the Portsmouth windmill has already failed.

Nicholas Ratti, Jr

Bristol, RI

To: the Editor—

The Block Island Chamber of Commerce filled 20 bags of items donated from the business community to thank Disaster Medical Assistance Team for their assistance over July Fourth. We wish not only to thank DMAT but to thank the following businesses for their generosity: Ink It, Finn’s, Block Market, Littlefield Bee Farm, Golddigger’s, Froozie’s, Manisses, Jessie Edwards Studio, and Rebecca’s.

Kathleen Szabo, Executive Director

Block Island Chamber of Commerce