Mayors Push back against Big Bike and Anti-Car Groups during COVID-19 Crisis: Keep the US Moving Blog for April 15, 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 would 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 road diets in your area, please contact the NMA, [email protected] or connect with KUSM at [email protected] and find additional information on their website at https://www.keeptheusmoving.com/.

Mayors Push back against Big Bike and Anti-Car Groups during COVID-19 Crisis

The nation’s mayors have plenty to do right now. City budgets have been ripped to shreds due to the COVID-19 crisis, and providing essential services might be difficult currently and sometime into the future. A couple of mayors have said that banning cars on streets is not a current priority.

Big Bike and anti-car groups have been pushing hard to have more streets (maybe even all streets) shut down so people can walk and ride bikes. Never let a good crisis go to waste. Streetsblog even ran an editorial this week that this is just the start of the street revolution.

Even though a number of cities have closed streets (temporarily) to cars, some mayors have pushed back against the pressure.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says there are no plans to open up streets, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said recently that open streets are not a priority. De Blasio has already had to cut some of his street safety initiatives such as Vision Zero and bike lane expansion due to the financial toll the pandemic has had on the city budget. Staten Island Ferry overnight trips have also been cut due to reduced demand. The cuts are not that deep despite what the Big Bike advocates would have you believe. The mayor is cutting $3 million out of the $58 million out of the Green Wave bike lane plan announced last summer. Vision Zero will lose $7 million: $4 million from street safety projects and the other $3 million for VZ advertising.

The entire NYC DOT budget is $1.1 billion, and road-related projects consume most of it. The city has been pushing an aggressive program to fix the city’s notorious potholes—unclear if that program has been cut as well.

City Hall spokesperson Freddi Goldstein called all the cuts “responsive to the current reality of suspension of non-essential operations.” On March 24, the city announced it would need to cut a total of $1.3 billion due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Many cities around the country will also need to make these difficult choices in the near future if they have not already.

One thing for sure, though, politicizing streets during the COVID-19 crisis makes Big Bike and other anti-car groups look unempathetic to what most of us are going through currently.

Here are ten other top headlines that are important to all who care about keeping the US moving.

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, feel free to contact us via email at [email protected].

Keep the US Moving is a grassroots organization dedicated to publicizing the detrimental effects of arterial road diets. We connect people who want to share experiences and information to help their communities craft truly safer roads. KUSM has a very active and closed Facebook group. Connect with them at [email protected] 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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