Trojan train indeed

Janis Jaquith's essay [April 7: "Trojan train: Keep D.C. a car commute away"] sent chills down my spine. The scary warning was that the cancer of development now vastly surrounding Washington D.C. could metastasize and invade Charlottesville through a commuter rail line.

In response to the essay, came the letters to the Hook touting the benefits of mass transit. If people would hop on the train rather than drive to D.C., the environment would benefit and gasoline would be saved.

So is it a Trojan train or savior of the planet?

This is a case that calls for some enlightened self-interest and a bit of perspective. Traffic up north would be no less of a horror and pollution would drop infinitesimally if visitors from Charlottesville left their cars at home. On the other hand, the effects on our lives will be quite noticeable and unpleasant if commuter service brings a flood of new residents.

Yes, the Charlottesville area is growing anyhow, and inevitably the attractiveness of America's best place to live will fade. But isn't that what happens to us as individuals as we age? We avoid anything that accelerates the process. We should be very careful what we wish for in the way of public transportation.

J.A. Barker