Editorial: Thumbs

Published 5:43 pm Saturday, August 24, 2013

Editorial: Thumbs

thumbupTo Big AL.

It’s a fine name for a dredge. Frankly, we are glad mean, scary names like Mud Monster and Dredginator came in second and third. Big AL treats our dredge like a pal, which he is. After all, dredging will go a long way toward cleaning the water of Fountain Lake. The name Big AL — a take off the common “A.L.” abbreviation for Albert Lea — will be featured on a decal or mural to be placed on the dredge. The name was submitted by Logan Howe. Nice name, Logan!


thumbdownTo bicyclists who ride against traffic.

There she was Sunday just riding happily westbound on the shoulder of the eastbound lanes of East Main Street, the segment that goes between the Home Depot and Walmart corner to the Dave Syverson Auto Center area. When she entered traffic, she must have decided that going against the flow of traffic was the law, rather than going with the flow. And it seems too many riders feel this way. If we were the police, they would get citations every time. The law says bikes must travel ride on the right side of the road just like the motor vehicles. Going westbound? Be in the westbound lanes. Only pedestrians, when a sidewalk is not present, are supposed to walk by the curb against the flow of traffic. It’s really that simple.


thumbupTo Illinois and Wisconsin.

On Monday, Illinois raised its speed limits on rural interstate highways to 70 mph from 65. Now Wisconsin is surrounded by states with 70 mph limits for interstate highways. Wisconsin posts 65 mph limits. We are glad to hear the Badger State’s legislators are mulling raising its limit to be in line with neighboring states, much like Iowa did in 2005. Take a drive through Wisconsin, and you’ll find most anyone with an out-of-state plate driving at their home-state speed, not Wisconsin’s speed. In fact, 20 states set them at 70 mph, 15 at 75, one at 80 (Utah), one at 60 (Hawaii) and 13 at 65. The states at 65 are mostly part of the Washington-to-Boston megalopolis. The only three states west of Pennsylvania are Wisconsin, Oregon and Alaska. We’re not saying faster is better — that’s a different discussion — but we do believe drivers like consistent freeway standards when going from state to state, whether it is speed limits, striping or the color of informational signs.