Trolley Problem: Rt. 7 Canyon, Not Boulevard
Your article on the possible imposition of a trolley line along Route 7 raises terrible memories of my youth in London where there were both trolley (tram) lines and overhead wires for electric buses. The trolleys were the worst.
Unless the tracks were separated from the ordinary traffic, they were a hazard to other road users. It was bad enough for the automobiles whose tires were wide enough to ride out the grooves if they got caught, but they were murder on bicycles. Unless one tried to cross the track, making steering impossible and a fall almost inevitable. Even after the monsters had been retired, the tracks in some places remained for years awaiting removal at the next roadway resurfacing.
It seems to me that Falls Church has boxed itself in by allowing Route 7 to be narrowly sunk between big buildings which create a canyon rather than a boulevard. Along that stretch of road, there would seem to be no alternative to putting the tracks in the existing roadway. What a folly!
Whether tram or electric bus, the overhead wires were quite unsightly, cluttering a townscape which was relatively clear of such distraction. American cities have more widespread overhead utility lines, so adding yet more wires to already cluttered scenery seems a poor planning option. As to whether people would find trolleys were more attractive to ride, I suspect the novelty would last at most for a year, but for the rest of us they would become as commonplace as the ordinary bus. My only memories of the trams’ entertainment was that at the end of the line, the seat backs would be flipped so that the riders would have the choice of always facing forwards or forming little groups of four, knee to knee, in family style.
‘Truth Telling in Journalism’ Column Praised
I read Nicholas Benton’s column “Truth Telling in Journalism” in the November 24 edition because this is such an enormous issue as I see it. He is so correct that journalism must be able to present the truth, or the facts of a story. But we know that in America today, the truth has little value to most journalists, except when it coincides with their own preconceived prejudices and attempts to mold public opinion to their point of view.
This prevailing and omnipresent little white lies that our culture foists upon us and expects us to accept as fact, distort the few remnants of honest journalism. He is so correct in stating that “It is supposed to be all about truth-telling.” However, the assumption that it “requires a trained and tested ability to divine the truth” smells too much like elitism, that only a certain specially trained cadre of people can divine the truth and are qualified to judge what is true. The reality is far from that. Every American should/must judge the news that they hear for whether it is truthful, and they can and must do so, especially in the current environment where the truth is now seen to be of such little value.
The other part of this issue is that the whole truth of a story must be told, and not just the part a journalist wants the public to hear. This I see all the time, to the point I now must review two or three different news sources to see the full spectrum of the story, and it is amazing how the holes in each sources stories are so large when compared to the other source that it leads one to ask why? Of course, the only options are: 1) that some journalists are either intentionally withholding information for the above reasons, or 2) that they simply are incompetent journalists.
It seems that most of what I read and hear on the news is little more than poorly concealed propaganda. I know of two other recent large countries that fell into the propaganda trap, and neither one of them now exists; the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
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