Ringling Bridge toll would reduce traffic

If an automated toll-by-plate system were installed for vehicles going to Longboat Key over the Ringling Bridge, it could accomplish a couple of things. First, it would help provide funds for alternative solutions like a water taxi. Second, a toll road is always a deterrent, so it would reduce the number of vehicles using the road.

A database of license plate exceptions could be maintained and matched to the license plate so that residents, commercial vehicles, business owners, employees, etc., would not be charged.

The technology is already in use in other places in our state so it should be fairly easy to implement. I don’t know if there are any laws in place that would prevent this approach, but if not then, planners, please give it consideration.

Harold Petrie, Venice

Out-of-control traffic ahead for Siesta Key

Two articles Feb. 27 caught my eye. One was a celebration of Siesta Key Beach once again being highly rated by Tripadvisor. The other was a front-page story, “Island leaders plead for help.”

The plea-for-help story dealt with how “out-of-control construction” has created traffic congestion, making it a challenge to get on or off Longboat Key.

And while the Tripadvisor story was, on the surface, a positive one, it means that traffic on and off Siesta will increase. That traffic congestion will reach the out-of-control level Longboat Key is now facing when the Benderson Siesta Promenade overdevelopment begins.

Having a mall and residential hotel built at the Stickney Point Road/U.S. 41 intersection, incompatible with the surrounding neighborhoods, will make access to Siesta Key darn near impossible.

I don’t know where to turn for help in limiting this catastrophe (I realize it can’t be stopped completely). In keeping with Sarasota’s reputation as a city and county controlled by developers, the commissioners seem indifferent to our plight. Can this cry in the wilderness help?

James Medlin, Sarasota

Traffic will force out residents, tourists

The Feb. 23 article about ongoing “traffic tangles” from downtown Sarasota to Longboat Key should come as a surprise to no one. As the saying goes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” This is the inevitable result of unbridled development, coupled with the approval of obscenely high densities.

How can our planning and zoning officials let development so far outstrip infrastructure in Sarasota and Manatee counties?

Quite simply, there are too many cars in too small a space. And it’s only going to get worse, a lot worse. The proposed traffic circles can’t even begin to address the core problem.

In the not-too-distant future, look for residents to start fleeing the islands, followed closely by those in Sarasota and Bradenton. You can also be assured that tourists will be looking for more agreeable places to spend their money.

Wayne Girardet, Bradenton

Racist to focus on infection to the south

I am writing in response to the letter published Feb. 29, “Wall will keep out infected immigrants.” I find this letter one of the most disturbing I have ever read in the Herald-Tribune.

More cases of coronavirus have been reported in Canada than Mexico, yet the writer is worried about “infected” undocumented immigrants entering our country from the south. Why isn’t he worried about our northern border? I believe I know why.

These southern “infected” immigrants want a better life for themselves and their families — they are asylum seekers to our country fleeing unimaginable conditions.

I would gladly have an asylum seeker as my neighbor rather than any person who closes his eyes to the cruelty being perpetuated by the U.S. government at the Texas-Mexico border.

I want to remind the letter writer that we are all immigrants here. You shame your ancestors who were once “infected” immigrants.

Joan M. Roscoe, Venice

Astronomer unravels mysteries of night sky

Thank you for publishing Howard Hochhalter's astronomy articles in the Herald-Tribune. His writing and his presentations at the Bishop Planetarium are interesting, informative and entertaining.

Hochhalter, planetarium manager, has the gift of discussing complex astrophysical phenomena in a way that anyone can understand. And his enthusiasm for his subject is contagious — he makes you want to know more about the night sky.

If you haven't been to the Planetarium at the Bishop Museum in Bradenton, it is well worth the trip.

Kay Longley, Venice

Stock market plunge was front-page news

You have got to be kidding — the biggest one-day stock market loss since 2011 and the Herald-Tribune doesn’t run a story on the front page Feb. 28? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!

You'll never get away with this. My bet is that you will actually lose readers. Not me, though. I'll keep reading the Herald-Tribune so that I can critique and debate you.

Patrick J. Feheley, Sarasota