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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Many Thanks

RECEIVED Tue., April 22, 2014

Dear Editor,
    I would like to thank the Chronicle, as well as the people and businesses of Austin for all of their support throughout Colon Cancer Awareness Month this past March. As event director of the "Get Your Rear in Gear" 5K Run/Walk – an all-volunteer, nonprofit benefit – the outpouring of support to get the word out about the importance of screening for this mostly preventable disease was both encouraging and reassuring. Colo-rectal cancer is the second-most deadly form of cancer in both Texas and the U.S., and according to the CDC, if the entire population were screened at the recommended age of 45-50 years, the death rate would drop immediately by 60%.
    In our effort to get this message out, I was amazed at the community mentality that remains at the heart of our ever-growing city. When we had our fundraiser at Clive Bar, it turned out to be the coldest, iciest day of the year, and just when I thought nobody would show, we ended up having a great turnout, complete with a pro bono concert by Atlas Maior and delicious donations from generous food vendors and door prizes from the other bars on Rainey Street. Thank you to everyone involved – especially the patrons who saw us from the street and decided to pop in.
    Gratitude is owed to the colon cancer survivors and family members who have lost loved ones who donated their time and efforts, and were willing to openly share their experiences on a subject that many people don't wish to talk about. I like to think that maybe you inspired someone to get screened and helped save his or her life. The individuals, as well as the UT student groups, who volunteered should be commended for getting up early on a Sunday and coming out to lend a hand on race day: the HOSA chapter, Phi Chi Theta, and the Longhorn Pre-Pharmacy Association. With the exception of one individual from the city of Austin Office of Special Events, everyone else was very supportive and eager to help out in this endeavor.
    With the APD, Austin Gastroenterology, Austin Cancer Centers, Texas Oncology, and the rest of our sponsors and supportive businesses (who are too numerous to list here), thousands of dollars were raised for the local Livestrong Program and the Cancer Support Community of Central Texas. To all of those involved, be assured that your efforts and donations are very much appreciated and are going to a good cause in helping Central Texans affected by this preventable, treatable, and beatable disease.
    Thank you, Austin! You make me proud to be from here.
Ryan Murray

Better Transit Proposals Needed

RECEIVED Mon., April 21, 2014

Dear Editor,
    Suppose that you have $800 million to spend on urban rail. Since the federal government will not contribute more than half, Austin taxpayers would have to provide at least $400 million [“Project Connect: Central Corridor Options,” News, April 18]. The Chronicle cites $65-80 million per mile for urban rail, so you could build 10-12 miles (slightly less since the per-mile cost does not include a maintenance facility).
    How would you spend this money to maximize the benefit to the community? If you built the two tunnels that Project Connect proposes, that would cost $705-765 million. That leaves money for about one additional mile of rail.
    How would you decide where to build the rail? Would you consult with local bus riders and rail transit advocates with detailed knowledge of projects in other cities? Would you consult with affordable housing advocates, who are concerned with higher property taxes, not only from the bond but the inevitable property value increases from rail? Would you build the rail to maximize the ridership and access to jobs and other services? Would you build as many miles as possible, to access Downtown, as well as South, East, and North Austin?
    Unfortunately, Project Connect has not consulted with those interested parties, nor would its proposal maximize ridership or rail miles built.
    What if instead we built surface rail with the lowest-cost bridge option? What if we built it where there is already high demand for transit, along the most dense residential and commercial corridors? What if we kept costs as low as possible, so that we could build as much as possible?
   I strongly support better transit in Austin. But if we're going to spend the money, we need a project that serves the people well, and the current proposal does not do that.
Susan Pantell

Dangerous Road

RECEIVED Sun., April 20, 2014

Dear Editor,
    In the 78732 ZIP Code, it is not merely the traffic congestion at issue, but traffic safety as well.
    From 2006-13, the Travis County Sheriff Department dispatched officers to the scene of 308 collisions in ZIP codes 78732 and 78734. Of the 308 incidents, 124 were on the 1.8-mile portion of Quinlan Park Road between Bright Sky Overlook and Steiner Ranch Boulevard. These incidents include a driver hitting a mother pushing a baby stroller in a crosswalk. The predominance of the TCSD records are of single-vehicle reports related to "crossing the center median."
    Quinlan Park Road has at least five posted speed limits: 35, 40, and 45, and the two school zones, 20 and 25. Within any of these zones, it is common to encounter traffic at 50 mph, with 60 mph and faster not unusual.
    Yes, the traffic congestion is notable, due mainly to the single-road access. However, road improvements will do nothing to stop the dangerous driving on Quinlan Park Road. This is the sole reason we will sell our house and leave Steiner Ranch.
K. M. McDaniel
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