A lane for bikes

Your editorial about bike paths reminded of a conversation I had with my internist, Dr. Alex Marshall. We were discussing our enjoyment of cycling and lamenting our inability to bike safely into downtown from West Ashley.

Dr. Marshall suggested that lowering the speed limit on the James Island connector to 40 miles an hour, and allowing cyclists to use the “third lane” which already exists, would solve the problem. The Highway Department could install concrete barriers like those on the Ravenel Bridge to separate cyclists from vehicles and offer protection. Cantilevered steel bike lanes could be installed for bikes at entrance and exit ramps.

Intrigued by the idea, I measured the distance from where I enter from Harborview Road to the end on Lockwood Boulevard and found it to be about 1.5 miles.

If I were to reduce my speed from 55 to 35, I calculate it would take me another minute or two of travel; however, on many occasions I never even get to 55 miles per hour because of traffic. I spend a good bit of time sitting in traffic. To exit the connector going more slowly would not affect my overall time.

What a simple idea to convert an existing facility into multiple uses at an inexpensive cost.

Robert M. Kunes

Fairway Drive

Charleston

The right to marry

Let’s be clear about something: Allowing same-sex marriage does not in any way, shape, or form infringe upon an individual’s or church’s religious freedom. Period.

Marriage as it exists throughout the several states is a civil institution void of religious ceremony.

Whether or not another citizen’s own religion sanctions a particular civil marriage is irrelevant.

Does your religion support interfaith marriages? Does your religion permit the union of a believer and an atheist? Does your religion recognize an individual’s second marriage if the first marriage is not annulled?

The answers to these questions vary. And yet the state of South Carolina will grant marriage licenses to couples in the above-referenced categories, no questions asked.

In the eyes of the state, those two individuals are married in the civil sense.

In the eyes of a church or other religious group, those individuals may not be married at all. That is how marriage is in a country that simultaneously respects individual autonomy and religious freedom.

The reasons some religions might not recognize marriages between interfaith couples, a believer and non-believer, and a second marriage are the business of those private religious entities — not the state.

The decision of a religion to recognize or not recognize a marriage is safeguarded by the freedom of religion clause enshrined in the First Amendment. By the terms of this same amendment, however, the government — state and federal — is prohibited from cherry picking which unions it will recognize for purposes of civil marriage.

As we move forward and continue to discuss the same-sex marriage debate, let’s be clear on what we are and are not talking about.

We are talking about South Carolina’s recognition of civil marriage, not forcing an individual or religious group to recognize the validity of these civil same-sex marriages.

Daniel J. Crooks III

Tyler Street

Charleston

Fond memories

It was with pleasure that I read Mrs. Hemmingway’s letter to the editor in tribute to Carmen Walpole (Nov. 15). I wonder how many hundreds of her students remember her fondly. I do. I think I still have the grammar book given to us the first day of class in our freshman year at St. Andrews High School (over 50 years ago).

I still turn to diagramming a sentence if I am having trouble making sense of it, and I cringe when I hear incorrect grammar. What a shame there is not more emphasis on grammar, spelling, vocabulary and composition in today’s classrooms.

I had the privilege of being taught by Miss Walpole for three years. I worked very hard but could rarely make the “A” that I strived for. When I went to Carolina I was well prepared for freshman English — at that time known as a “flunk out course.”

I became a teacher and taught mostly 5th and 6th grade math. But I also taught a vocabulary course called Wordly Wise. Students were required to define the words, provide their various forms, spell them and use them in complete, grammatical sentences.

Susan Smith Jenkins

Class of 1964

Albemarle Point Road

Charleston

Pass texting ban

As a College of Charleston student coming from a state with strict texting-while-driving laws, I was appalled that South Carolina has no law against it. I was thrilled when Charleston passed the ban. I had been following the issue closely.

I understand that it will be difficult to transition into actually prosecuting lawbreakers, but I have seen no efforts to put this ban into effect.

Based on the article “Charleston police to post signs warning of texting ban” there should at least be signs and fliers with the details of the ban up by now. I have been looking for them while walking around on and off-campus and have seen none.

Also, to make matters worse I constantly see people texting while driving. Just recently, I witnessed a distracted driver almost hit a pedestrian in the cross-walk because he was texting and not paying attention. Texting while driving is dangerous, and police need to start prosecuting to protect the drivers and pedestrians of Charleston.

Moriah Alten Flagg

College of Charleston

Coming Street

Charleston

Set cruise limits

My family took a Seattle-to-Alaska cruise a few months ago, and of course I thought about the cruise boats coming to Charleston. Our first stop in Alaska was the fishing village of Ketchikan.

To our surprise, the first sight was not historic Alaskan scenery but four other cruise boats. It was the same at Juneau and the other stops. One tour operator said they get 25 tour boats a week.

The agreement Charleston has, as I understand it, is two boats a week, 102 per year, no two at any one time. That better be chiseled in stone, or the harbor is going to look like Bermuda, Alaska, etc. Demand a limit and make the city, SPA and cruise boats legally abide by it.

None of the Alaska ports had a terminal. I caution that if a $35 million terminal is built (with state public money), it is the beginning of a slippery slope to fill it with one boat a day to justify it. That’s why a firm agreement is needed.

Senior management of the SPA can receive bonuses. We need to be sure these incentives work in the best interest of us residents.

Nick Mihalas

Legare Street

Charleston

Imperial president

Both houses of Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with only Democrats’ support. How can it be changed by decree by the president? If he wants to change the law, why is it not the responsibility of Congress to do it? Obama has dictated changes such as exempting unions and now delaying the requirement that people give up policies that don’t meet federal standards.

This follows a pattern. His department secretaries have been told to ignore enforcing immigration laws and to enforce higher EPA standards. It appears that we do not need a legislative branch since the imperial president is doing it on his own. Whenever the House passes legislation to make things better, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to put it up for a vote to protect Obama and Democratic senators who don’t want the vote on their record.

I fear for what my children and grandchildren will face in the future.

ROGER STEEL

Marsh Hen Drive

Seabrook Island