YOUR VIEW: Bike trails, Earth Day


Take care of current bike trails before building more

The questions on the proposed bike plan by a Delaware City Council member and testimony by the public at Monday’s City Council meeting should be cause for pause before making a final decision. While many testified against the Delaware Run portion of the plan, even those enthralled by the overall plan should know that the city currently budgets only $5,000 annually on maintenance of the existing trails.

The person representing the Stantec Consulting Services, that prepared the bike plan, remarked that even under the current system the City should spend $80,000 per year on maintenance. When asked by a City Council member, he was unable to tell us what the maintenance costs would be for the new plan. It could be tens of thousands of dollars more.

Apparently the City is not providing adequate funds for maintaining the current bike paths and does not know what the maintenance cost would be for any or all of the proposed new routes. Obviously, the $5,000 current annual spending is a pittance compared to an estimated $80,000 annually recommended by professional planners for the current system of bike paths. Will the City have $80,000-plus to fund adequate maintenance of existing trails and cover projected costs of future bike paths?

The consultant implied that the City should budget $400,000 over the next five years for existing trails rather than $25,000 as currently budgeted.

It’s one thing to build something with grant money as if the money is “free,” but always unwise to accept grant funds if the facility cannot be maintained.

— Dr. and Mrs. Lynn E. Elfner

Delaware

Eating right helps the Earth

As thousands across the U.S. get ready to protest environmental budget cuts, each of us can also help with our driving, our recycling, and our diet. Yes, our diet. A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 70 percent of global freshwater use, 38 percent of land use, and 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by fossil fuel combustion to operate farm machinery, trucks, factory farms, and slaughterhouses. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, crop debris, fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force in wildlife habitat destruction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources.

On this Earth Day and every day, let’s cherish our environment with eco-friendly plant-based eating. Our next trip to the supermarket is a great starting point.

— Dusty Grantford

Delaware

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