Many Reasons Why to Fight Road Diets in your Town: Keep the US Moving for February 5, 2020

By Shelia Dunn, NMA Communications Director

This blog is a collaboration between the National Motorists Association and the Keep the US Moving (KUSM) group written and curated by NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn (with some guest authors as indicated). The KUSM weekly blog focuses on road diets, traffic calming and programs such as Vision Zero and Complete Streets.

The NMA and the KUSM believe that it is important to include stories that oppose our viewpoint. We try to indicate those as needed.

We love to hear from you about the Keep the US Moving Blog. Please feel free to comment below the post and find additional resources to fight road diets below. If you are concerned about any of these issues in your local area, please contact the NMA, nma@motorists.org or connect with KUSM at KeepTheUSMoving@gmail.com and find additional information on their website at https://www.keeptheusmoving.com/.

Both the NMA and KUSM receive emails and phone calls each week from everyday folks in towns across America who want information on fighting road diets, traffic calming, and bike lanes. Many call because they are concerned that these forced upon road devices will hurt their small businesses, create more congestion on side streets, and more vehicle emissions in the long run. Here is a great list of reasons to fight road diets in your town or city:

  • Road diets can cause more accidents. When traffic does not flow, more accidents occur. Vulnerable road users sometimes have the mistaken belief that the road is safer. In reality, all users of the road need to remain vigilant and responsible. There are better and less expensive ways to make a street safer: Better crosswalks, improved stoplights, and bikeways placed on non-arterial streets.
  • Emergency vehicles such as large fire ladder trucks cannot always navigate corners on streets that have been reduced, which could violate fire codes.
  • Blocked egress during mass evacuations can cause injury and death.
  • Loss of parking can cause business districts to be decimated with job losses and business closures.
  • Gridlocked boulevards will divert traffic to residential streets which are not intended to handle that load.
  • Due to the increased gridlock, there is more individual vehicle wear and tear, greater overall street noise, and increased vehicle emissions.
  • Many times, a road diet may cause violations of the Americans with Disability Act due to difficult curb cuts and the loss of handicapped parking.
  • Road diets can present already underfunded local and county street departments with more street elements to maintain, stretching their budgets and liability exposure even further.
  • Road diets can create animosity between neighbors in the area.
  • Residents and business owners can have increased distrust of government if the process is forced and not transparent.

Now, the headlines from the past week:

Trending this Week

This bill, along with the Completes Streets Bill proposed this summer by Congress, will likely get buried in the upcoming Infrastructure Bill or tacked onto an Appropriations bill. Don’t let it happen! Contact your nationally elected officials today!

Editorials this Week

Road Diets, Traffic Calming, and Car-free Streets

Stories of the Week

Hashtag: #KeeptheUSMoving, #Keep(insert your town, city, state here)Moving, #NORoadDietsonArterialStreets, and #NOTrafficCalming.

International

California

District of Columbia

Georgia

Iowa

Massachusetts

New York

Oregon

Rhode Island

Virginia

Complete Streets

Hashtag: #CompleteStreetsWatch and #WaronCarsWatch

Vision Zero

Hashtag: #VisionZeroWatch and #WaronCarsWatch

California

Vision Zero campaign aims to eliminate pedestrian fatalities in San Diego (video interview) (Vision Zero Watch) –KUSI.com

San Diego calls on residents to sign pledge to ignore cellphones, other distractions while driving —San Diego Union-Tribune

Maryland

Montgomery County Council holds Vision Zero briefing (Vision Zero Watch) –WJLA.com

Massachusetts

Somerville Seeks Feedback for City’s First Vision Zero Action Plan (Vision Zero Watch) –Streetsblog Massachusetts

Minnesota

Vision Zero Watch: Can ‘Vision Zero’ be a realistic goal for Minneapolis? –MinnPost.com

Missouri

Kansas City considers distracted driving ordinance (Vision Zero Watch) –Northeast News

Texas

Vision Zero Watch: Explaining Houston’s Sky-High Roadway ‘Death-Goal’ –Streetsblog USA 

Resources

Check out the NMA Facebook Page called the War on Cars Watch! If you are interested in joining the closed group, follow the directions on the page. If you would like to know more about the National Motorists Association, check out our website at motorists.org. Also, if you would like to contact the NMA with a question or a link to an article about this topic or have a video of a road diet in your neck of the woods, feel free to contact us via email at nma@motorists.org.

Keep the US Moving is a grassroots organization dedicated to publicizing the detrimental effects of arterials road diets. We connect people who want to share experiences and information in order to help their communities craft truly safer roads. KUSM has a very active and closed Facebook group. Connect with them at KeepTheUSMoving@gmail.com and find additional information on their website at https://www.keeptheusmoving.com/.

Here are a few NMA Blog Posts that might interest you:

Road Diets and Traffic Calming

Vision Zero and Complete Streets

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