Many readers of the article "City considers bold new transit system" (Sept. 18) will have been left with the impression that this "bold new system" is both new and promising. In fact, the technology under discussion is neither.
Personal rapid transit (PRT) has been promoted with the same claims for four decades, and over that time has produced no effective systems while generating a mountain of advertising material and drawing a substantial amount of objective, critical analysis. This analysis shows that PRT systems in the real world (as opposed to the world of promotional computer simulation) will be unsightly, costly and ineffective.
I hope that Mountain View decision-makers, before they take significant steps toward a PRT system for our city, at least do the following:
1. Review the long history of this technological concept and weigh the claims being made for it against the large existing body of contradictory critical analysis.
2. Carefully consider more conventional and proven alternatives to PRT when examining potential transportation investments for Mountain View. Rely on the advice of transportation professionals, not technology salespeople.
3. Review any new PRT systems deployed by other organizations, and compare their results against Mountain View's real needs and real pocketbook.
Teachers wasted chance with Obama speech
Well there you have it. A truly historic presidency has occurred in our lifetime that many thought could never happen, and when he steps out to speak directly to our schoolchildren (and he speaks very well), our school leaders make it "optional" ("President's school speech optional in most classrooms," Sept. 18).
Pray tell, what's worthy of our children's time? Perhaps a speech by the principal? Or better yet a snoozer by the superintendent?
I know school officials are all well-intentioned and care a great deal about the schoolchildren. But I ask them, what example have they set in making choices as a citizen? Should I pay attention when the president speaks? Isn't he/she just the leader of the party in power? Should I even bother to vote when I'm old enough? Whatever.
For crying out loud, he's the leader of the United States of America. He's an inspiring symbol of what's best in America. Study and work hard and there are no limits on what you might do. Kids need real-life examples to shape their dreams. Few in their lifetimes will have the same potential to inspire them — and even us.
And local schools officials decided it was ... optional.
I sure hope they don't trip over their curriculums on their rush to the parking lot.
Caltrain no good for bikers
I am a Caltrain monthly pass holder who, along with other cyclists, is regularly bumped at the San Antonio stop. I occasionally have an early meeting and need to take this train, and now always drive to work instead because I know I cannot rely on this train. Ridiculous!
Sierra Vista Avenue