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Give high-speed rail a chance

I question the tone of David Andreatta's editorial on high-speed rail across New York state ("New York's High-speed Rail Fail," Editor's Notebook, January 8).

Given the mounting dangers of climate change, the possibility of convenient, affordable mass transit across the state is something to celebrate. The current time it takes to travel to New York City by train offers an all-too-clear reason why the trains and train station are currently underused. The opportunity to travel by train to New York City in the same time it takes to drive there, without the hassles of driving and the complications of parking in Manhattan, would be a popular option. And with cheaper rates than flying (which can still take four hours, between waiting at the airport for a flight and traveling and arriving at one's destination), high-speed rail shouldn't be so quickly dismissed.

JEREMY SARACHAN, BRIGHTON

Thanks for the recent column on Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal for yet another high speed rail study.

While I agree that the train isn't currently competitive with cars or planes in travel time, there may be other angles to consider. Upgrading the maximum train speed to 90 mph could cut the travel time, improve reliability, and increase frequency. It would take advantage of station upgrades already completed and train replacements that Amtrak has recently announced. As a frequent traveler by train to Albany and western Massachusetts, I know that a good number of travelers on this route go to intermediate stops like Albany and the Hudson Valley, for which the train is more competitive.

Of course there may be better ways to spend state budget dollars, but that's a bigger question. Let's not rule out higher-speed rail because we can't afford a very high speed train for upstate New York.

MIKE LEHMAN, PITTSFORD

Tom-Tom is like North Korean TV news

Allow a mild complaint about CITY's lack of diversity in one specific area — political cartoons.

How is reading the political cartoons in CITY like watching North Korean TV news? You only get one point of view. In North Korea, the "Dear Leader" is always beneficent. In "This Modern World," by Tom Tomorrow, President Donald Trump is always malevolent.

The hazard of producing morality plays with the same theme, year after year, is boring one's audience. I confess to being bored witless by Tom Tomorrow. I doubt I'm alone in my boredom.

Mr. Tomorrow might be surprised to hear that there is much to be satirized on the left as well as the right. But Tom Tomorrow is tone deaf to other voices or viewpoints.

I do not call for the silencing of Tom-Tom. I call for the addition of more instruments to your house band — other cartoonists with diverse notes to play in the American political fugue. The addition of a cello, or even a trumpet, might prove welcome to many readers, though regarded as "deplorable" by some.

PETER KILBRIDGE, GATES

CITY reporter to the rescue

As a CITY enthusiast, it was a wonderful surprise for me to meet CITY staff writer Gino Fanelli in the parking lot at the Wegmans on East Avenue. The circumstances were somewhat unusual.

How many people do you know who would roll down their car window in a parking lot when a stranger taps on it?

And how many people might respond without blinking an eye, to hand over a cell phone to a stranger who says she forgot her keys, and needs to call her husband because she is locked out of her car?

And, after seeing the phone call not go through, how many people would go the extra mile to exit the car to try to make the electronic key work and, that failing, offer to take the stranger and her heavy bag of groceries home?

On Saturday, December 28, I was lucky enough to tap on the car window of Gino. Indeed, Gino answered my call, assisted me, and went out of his way to take me home — offering to do so with the most elegant gesture of a gentleman, by insisting that it was no trouble, just a few blocks from his usual route.

We had a most pleasant conversation about CITY.

Thank you so much, Gino, for your kindness and being a good Samaritan. This may not be a newsworthy story, but readers should know the excellent character of this CITY writer.

KITTY JOSPE, ROCHESTER

Why not a park at Parcel 5?

In October, two artists and volunteers created a public artwork on the vacant gravel lot that is Parcel 5 in downtown Rochester. The artists and volunteers swept the gravel into a design an acre in size. The public artwork was called Midtown Mandala and it was the last time Parcel 5 was used for anything.

There have been many proposals for Parcel 5. There were proposals to build a Broadway theater with condominiums and a marketplace. None of that seems to be an option anymore. These days, the city wants to build a year-round festival site on Parcel 5 with a visitor center. We already have a good visitor center a few buildings away from Parcel 5. It's open all day throughout the week and it's even open a little bit on Saturday. There's no need to relocate the visitor center.

Why not create a public park? Building something like Washington Square Park on Parcel 5 would add beauty to the city. People visiting the city would appreciate how nice it would be to have a park right on Main Street.

I really think it's the best idea for the city. It's been nice to hold events like the Jazz Festival or the Fringe Festival, but we need to commit to a public park with grass and trees and benches and sculptures and statues. It's something everyone can admire every day and all year around.

DAN BAUMAN, SPENCERPORT

Correcting ourselves

The January 8 Editor's Notebook contained costs to lease the empty retail spaces at the Rochester train station that were provided by Amtrak and were inaccurate. The leases range from $2,512 to $3,930 per year, not per month, according to Amtrak. The commentary has since been updated online.

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