The Coast News Group
Letters Opinion

Letters to the Editor

A glaring truth

I read the April 25th Coast News with great interest as I waited in Terminal 1 for a delayed plane.

Four articles concerning development pointed to a glaring truth about San Diego County.

Developers beat a path to this county with plans to destroy pristine, California native plant stands for new housing communities with large expanses of heat reflective concrete and few, if any, solar panels.  Dissatisfied home owners and the San Diego fire chief’s opposition to new developments sited infrastructure overload and reduced emergency response time as good reasons to leave well enough alone or at least try to develop a plan with more sensitivity to existing inhabitants whether they slither, fly or walk on two or four legs.

Homeowners have been voicing their opposition to development for years, but to hear a municipal leader’s dissatisfaction with proposals to increase density was a welcome sound.

Can other community leaders not recognize the effects caused by the ever-increasing development in this beautiful county?

The third article, a Community Commentary, made me aware of the reduction of designated open space by the long-awaited City of Carlsbad General Plan 1986 Prop E promises.

And the fourth article discussed the “above normal” fire season prediction for our arid region and firefighters’ preparation.

I’ve never written to comment, but I had to commend your staff on aligning these four articles in one edition.  The timing of that edition was eerie.

This last week of fires in San Diego was a preview of potential problems if we continue to encroach into our historically open spaces.

Is it sustainable to put future homeowners in harm’s way?

Will front end funding support fire retardant building practices, the increased costs for fire insurance and municipal services to protect life and property?

When will these concepts be brought into the development equation?  These are the questions that popped into my mind.  Thanks for letting me express them.

Helene Bell,



Re: Side-by-side cycling

In response to Mr. Johannsen’s letter complaining about bicyclists “obstructing traffic,” (May 16, 2014) I offer five important bits of terminology.

1. Door Prize: Defensive bicyclists ride 3 to 4 feet from park cars to avoid getting doored. In some cases, most of the bike lane is within the door zone, forcing us to ride the line. In such cases, blame the traffic engineer, not the cyclist.

2. Right hook: On the approach to an intersection, through traffic should be to the left of right-turning traffic.

3. Left cross: Even motorists who are not busy texting or yakking on the phone sometimes overlook bicyclists, particularly those who are placing themselves outside of their central attention field by hugging the curb.

4. Right drift: Roads are crowned, and inattentive motorists tend to drift toward the right, often overlooking bicyclists too far out in the periphery of their visual field. Sometimes you need to be more in front of someone to get his attention.

5. Crowding: It is easy to demonstrate that the closer a bicyclist hugs the curb, the less lateral margin overtaking motorists will provide.

To suggest a given person behaves worse when bicycling than when driving is absurd. If anything, a defensive driver will be even more defensive when bicycling. He/she will not slow you down or inconvenience you unnecessarily, but will do what is required for safety. More often than not this entails moving leftward and “riding large,” i.e., taking up real estate to which he/she is legally entitled, for good reason.

John A. Eldon, D.Env.


Electronic and Environmental Engineering

Instructor, UCSD and UCSD Extension