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, firstname.lastname@example.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
- Road Diet Alert: US House Lawmakers Propose $2.5 Billion Over Five Years for Bike, Pedestrian Projects (HR5626) –Route Fifty
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
- Toronto Vision Zero has turned into another City Hall industry (Vision Zero Watch) –Toronto Sun
- Car ads are bad for our cities (Vision Zero Watch) —Curbed
- Is D.C. waging a ‘war on cars’? –News Break
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.
- 11 more cities worldwide that have joined the car-free revolution –Fast Company
- Viewpoint: How to end traffic–European cities offer a roadmap for life with fewer cars (War on Cars Watch) –Curbed.com
- Canadian Road Diet Alert: Gauging the cost of lowering Whistler, BC speed limits –Pique News Magazine
- Paris’s mayor has a dream of ‘the 15-minute city’ by bicycle —Fast Company
- Governor’s Theft of Gas Tax Funding: Reduction in Auto Lanes, Increased Bike Fatalities (NMA Mention) –California Globe
- Where Should Southern California Do Car-Free Streets? –LA Streetsblog
- Berkeley Road Diet Watch: Not just Market Street: This iconic Bay Area avenue could ban cars too —Mercury News
- Freemont will soon have some of the best bike infrastructure in the Bay Area –San Francisco Streetsblog
- Los Angeles Road Diet Alert: Design Concepts Unveiled for the Hollywood Walk of Fame’s Master Plan (Complete Streets Watch) –Urbanize LA
- Bike lanes could come to part of Ninth Street in Modesto. Not everyone is pumped –Modesto Bee
- Car-Free Market Street, Launches in San Francisco (video report) –NBC Bay Area
- A car-free Valencia Street? It could happen. —Curbed San Francisco
District of Columbia
- Drivers will be charged $150 for blocking bike lanes in DC –WUSA Channel 9
- Iowa Road Diet Alert Update: Discussion over transportation plan gets heated in Waverly –Community Newspaper Group
- Boston Plans To Clone Roslindale’s Washington Street Bus Lane –Streetsblog Massachusetts
- New York City’s DOT Chief reveals new bike lanes in Brooklyn after spike in cyclist deaths –NY Post
- NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Won’t Ban Cars In Front Of Schools, Says Parents ‘Need’ To Drive –Streetsblog NYC
- NYC Opinion: A better future for the BQE: A park instead of giant parking lot –NY Daily News
- A Novel Plan to Fix One of New York City’s Worst Highways–Remove Lanes –NY Times
- NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Doesn’t Agree With His Own ‘Expert’ Panel To Nix Two Lanes On BQE –Streetsblog NYC
- Gold Beach Puts Road Diet on the Menu –Curry Pilot
- Providence unveils plan for more bike-friendly streets –Providence Journal
- A pedestrian-only block in Alexandria may become a reality this spring (Vision Zero Watch) –Greater Greater Washington
Hashtag: #CompleteStreetsWatch and #WaronCarsWatch
- Boston: Fees On Uber and Lyft Accelerate Local Sustainable Transport Projects (Complete Streets Watch) –Streetsblog Massachusetts
- Bowling Green Street Committee struggles to meet needs of drivers, cyclists and walkers (Complete Streets Watch) –Bowling Green Independent Media
Hashtag: #VisionZeroWatch and #WaronCarsWatch
San Diego calls on residents to sign pledge to ignore cellphones, other distractions while driving —San Diego Union-Tribune
Somerville Seeks Feedback for City’s First Vision Zero Action Plan (Vision Zero Watch) –Streetsblog Massachusetts
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 email@example.com.
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
- All Traffic is Local: A Look at Force-Fed Road Diets
- The Problem with Road Diets
- 10 Reasons to Fight against Road Diets in your Community
Vision Zero and Complete Streets
- Vision Zero Invasion of the Car Itself
- Do Vision Zero Programs equal more Traffic Accidents?: NMA E-Newsletter #559
- Level of Service: Measuring Traffic Congestion
- Transportation Engineers Debate Vision Zero, Part 1: NMA E-Newsletter #563
- Transportation Engineers Debate Vision Zero, Part 2: NMA E-Newsletter #564
- An Appropriate Balance for Whom?: NMA E-Newsletter #552