Letters to the Editor

Posted: August 13, 2012

Delightful changes along the Parkway

I couldn't agree more regarding most of the points made in Patrick Kerkstra's article "Toward a more inviting Parkway for all" (Aug. 3). My wife and I are retired and live on the 2900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. We are delighted with the significant changes that have taken place on the Parkway, especially the landscaping of the Rodin and Barnes museums, and the addition of the Sister Cities Park. We feel very fortunate to live so close to such a beautiful venue and we do take advantage of it.

The comments about the need to make the place more pedestrian-friendly are right on target. We frequently walk Pennsylvania Avenue from 29th Street to the vicinity of Sister Cities. Once we reach Spring Garden Street, on both the north and south side, our walk becomes a nightmare. The journey from the north side to the south side of the Parkway is downright dangerous. The traffic signals are most inadequate at Pennsylvania and Spring Garden. In one instance, the light is askew, so that one doesn't even know which signal applies for crossing. On the south side of the Parkway, at Spring Garden, there are no clear signals to guide one's walk.

One dissenting thought: I actually view the "homeless encampment" as a positive, reminding those of us who are more fortunate of the sufferings of others. Those people were there before the Barnes. Kerkstra implies that they should be out of the sight of visitors, thus obviating the uncomfortable feelings generated when we, the fortunate, are confronted with the paradox of poverty, substance abuse, and mental illness while trying to enjoy ourselves.

Angelo Sgro, Philadelphia, agsgro@comcast.net

Expansion good for health of families

As a nurse at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, I am excited and proud to be part of the $110 million expansion project ("Good to get to the root of kids' poor health," Aug. 2). Not only will the building combine new critical- and intensive-care beds, but it will also include the Center for the Urban Child, which will house several pediatric practices and specialists under one roof.

As I currently work in one of these clinics, I see many children who come through our doors whose caregivers may need extra guidance to maintain a child's health. Many children have health issues that can be overwhelming. A little education and help in organizing the child's needs can make a big difference.

Health problems could be exacerbated by environment or not knowing basic hygiene, such as brushing one's teeth properly. Those things could escalate illness and cause trips to the emergency room. Assigning these children and families a "medical host" who will follow them through their health-care needs will help the child have continuity of care and maintain the best possible health.

Beth Kain, Rockledge, kainfam23@comcast.net

Encouraging criminal-justice shift

Thank you, Emilie Lounsberry, for your article "Policy trend: Fewer inmates, more treatment" (Aug. 2). It is encouraging to know that a policy shift is occurring in Harrisburg in regards to the "lock-them-up approach" that has dominated the country's criminal-justice system since the beginning of the War On Drugs. We should all be alarmed at the number of nonviolent citizens who are currently incarcerated.

If this paradigm shift is to take hold, we must continue to hold legislatures and communities accountable for the rehabilitation of their citizens. There needs to be meaningful criminal-justice reform and adequate funding for those interventions. Gov. Corbett should prioritize and restore funding to local substance-abuse programs. Communities need to soften their not-in-my-backyard stances and allow nonviolent offenders access to the resources that support successful reintegration into those communities.

Natalie Jordan, Yeadon

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