Letters: Walnut Street's development and the criminality of secondhand smoke

Johnson City Press • Jun 3, 2018 at 6:00 AM

In Monday’s Question of the Week, we asked you to share your thoughts on Johnson City’s proposed plans for West Walnut Street’s development. Here are some of your responses.

Steer clear of beer

There are too many planners and citizens who believe that the downtown area cannot be successful unless there is alcohol consumption in every other new business to open.

Look around! There are already plenty of people in this part of Johnson City floating on our sidewalks, day or night, fueled from alcohol or something else. No more beer parlors please, or reputable retailers and city officials in 20 years might wind up with a big hangover.

Johnson City

Kudos for forethought

I wanted to share my thoughts on the Walnut Street redevelopment project. I live on the 700 block of Pine Street and so this is a very important topic to me and my family. The two economic hubs of Johnson City are ETSU and downtown. These two should be more intimately connected. I favor the redeveloping of Walnut Street and replacing the industrial and abandoned sites with mixed use residential and commercial spaces as well as parks, greenspaces and bike lanes. I think we should listen to the lessons of Jane Jacobs in “Death and Life of Great American Cities” and encourage mixed uses spaces to increase the richness and diversity of our great town!

Please work to move as much vehicular traffic off of Walnut and onto State of Franklin. This speeds up traffic for automobiles and keeps Walnut Street primarily for local traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists keeping the street safer, quieter and more welcoming. I prefer the proposed design that has protected bike lanes for bicyclists to ride between downtown and ETSU. Lastly, if you really want to encourage pedestrians and bicyclists, please provide enough trees for shade, and bury the eye-sore utility lines that hang above our heads. The more people who walk and ride bicycles, the healthier we will be, the less pollution we will have, the safer the streets will be, and the less on-street parking we will have to provide.

If Johnson City is going to continue to grow into the 21st Century, we must continue to think ahead. Kudos for the city leaders and for Kimley-Horn for thinking ahead.

Johnson City

And now for something completely different:

Secondhand smoke isn’t a crime

In response to your “As We See It” (May 19), I beg to differ with your narrow-minded/unrealistic stance on enacting a ban (yet another law?) about smoking in vehicles with minors present.

The Press states that lawmakers should protect (how?) children from secondhand smoke in cars and trucks.

“A child’s liberty to enjoy pollutant-free air and a life free of negative health effects.” Isn’t the “salute the flag and pass around mom’s apple pie” a little saccharine?! C’mon Press, let’s get real.

Don’t misunderstand, I totally get it, secondhand smoke is a health risk. But so is excessive drinking, fast food, skydiving without a reliable parachute and the music goes on...

By the way, our state legislators were wise to sidestep this Big Brother entrapment. It is an attack on personal freedoms and parental authority. What else would you call it?

Enforcing such a ban would require eagle eyesight and quick reflexes.

“Hey, Harry. Did ya see that smoking driver? Looks like the passenger is a minor. Let’s pull ‘em over and check it out, partner.”

“Oh, ignore the homicide call we just received. Secondhand smoke is a real crime!”


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