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I may be one of the few people in the metro area who loves Nicollet Mall ("A vision for a livelier, bus-free Nicollet Mall," June 7). As someone without a car, it's a place I can get to easily from anywhere. In the winter, I really appreciate that workers meticulously clear the snow and ice so I can walk safely, one of the few places that is true. I would really hate to see Minneapolis wage class warfare on the poor people who ride Metro Transit by getting rid of the buses. During the reconstruction they were rerouted and it was a disaster. The streets they were rerouted to had long lines of buses waiting to get to a bus stop so people could get on and off. The free ride buses and the downtown 50-cent fare are a real help to the handicapped and the poor.

What would make Nicollet Mall more inviting is to get rid of the cross traffic. l have traveled widely, and I love cities with a true pedestrian mall. Never have I found another city with a "pedestrian" mall that has cars and trucks roaring through it. If trains and buses controlled the traffic lights, pedestrians should be able to walk from S. 4th Street to S. 8th Street without ever stopping to wait for a green light while breathing car emissions and listening to the roar of traffic.

One of the big concerns I hear about Nicollet Mall is the lack of public safely. I don't think adding more alcohol to the mix will solve this problem. Instead, add more public art, especially some public art that includes water features. I would look forward to many visits to that kind of pedestrian mall.

Betty Lotterman, St. Paul


As a downtown resident who walks Nicollet Mall many times a week, encouraging more hanging out and drinking on the mall does not really seem to target the real problem. What the mall needs is more shops, restaurants, places of business, even the old farmers market. Then there would be a reason for hanging out. The focus should be on creating everyday reasons for being on the mall.

John Christianson, Minneapolis


Just when plans are to remove the Kmart building blocking Nicollet Avenue at Lake Street (to allow traffic to move freely), Mayor Jacob Frey is looking forward to blocking traffic in a "pedestrian-only zone" on Nicollet Mall.

Norman Holen, Minneapolis


Enjoy downtown? You can't be serious ("Enjoy summer 2023 with downtown fun," editorial, June 6).

The pandemic, crime and panhandlers have conspired to destroy the vibrancy of the jewel on the prairie.

The Star Tribune Editorial Board suggests downtown's decline began in 2019. Not in my experience.

I worked in downtown Minneapolis for most of my long career. In 2019 it was a vibrant, thriving city that I was proud of.

The city won't recover until people feel secure about their surroundings.

Unless city leaders recognize and deal with this, the next shoe to drop will be the loss of a major employer. It will then be too late, and the spiral downward will accelerate.

Gerald Kraut, St. Paul


What's better than human rights? This merger deal, apparently

It's an extremely sad day in sports and even more so for fans of professional golf. The PGA and European tours have decided to get in bed with the Saudi-funded LIV tour ("An uneasy truce in pro golf," June 7). Saudi Arabia, one of the world's most horrific abusers of human rights, the native country of 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, and a country that stifles individual rights, jails those who protest or write anything critical of their government, murders and dismembers journalists, holds mass executions without fair trials and restricts the rights of women. Just last spring, the European Parliament condemned a mass execution and urged the executions to stop. The Saudis are using something called their "sovereign wealth fund," which is nothing more than a worldwide investment to improve their terrible reputation with human rights abuses. "Sportswashing" is the name given to their practice.

The PGA Tour has been generous with charitable giving, with a record $203 million donated in 2020 and over $3 billion since its inception in 1968. You have to wonder if that will continue. At every PGA Tour event, hundreds of volunteers are required in many areas to oversee the fan experience, provide security, drive players where they need to go, serve as scorers and work in other areas to enhance the experience for everyone involved. You have to wonder how much more difficult it might be to attract this much needed help. Excluding the major tournaments, all of the tour events are heavily supported by corporate sponsors that provide a huge chunk of the millions in prize money given to players. When Phil Mickelson and other top players defected to the LIV tour, they lost their own sponsorship deals. Mickelson himself lost deals with KPMG, Workday and Heineken/Amstel Light after joining the LIV tour. These deals paid him an estimated $40 million annually.

I can't help but wonder how well 3M Open Director Hollis Cavner will be sleeping in the coming weeks as his wonders how many of his sponsors and volunteers will drop out in protest before the tournament begins in late July. Cavner himself has been very outspoken in his protests of the LIV tour. He's not alone. How sad it is when money trumps human rights.

Tom Intihar, Brooklyn Park


Down with the 'chat assistant'

I have an idea that will increase the health and well-being of Americans and bring down the cost of health care, as a result: Create a fund (I haven't figured out who will do this yet — small detail) to help out all of our poor, money-strapped corporations to reinstitute that front-line position they eliminated oh so many years ago in the name of progress: the receptionist. The living, breathing, thinking, talking, sometimes even chuckling humanoid who could answer your question or transfer you to someone who could.

Think of it: No more hours spent with the robotic "chat assistant" who has 10 programmed answers, none of which pertain to your question at hand. No more hours spent on the phone, lost in voice mail hell, listening to what must be the favorite tune of the devil himself ... for the 23rd time. No more scaring the children (not to mention the dog) with expletive-filled screams after being cut off shortly after you got a real person to talk to. And for me, no more calls to my insurance company like the one I had yesterday, where I'm put on hold, transferred, put on hold, transferred, to the tune of 3 ½ hours, the time it takes me to fly nonstop from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Los Angeles. I would happily sit in a middle seat in coach with crying baby next to me, a kid kicking my seat from behind, and my bag of five pretzels for dinner over another experience like this — hands down.

Blood pressures nationwide would go down, heart attacks and strokes would go down, insurance rates would go down (certainly!) and everyone's happiness level would go up. What's not to like? My point, exactly.

Caryn Schall, Minnetonka