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/.
Road Diets at the Street Level
By guest writer and co-founder of Keep the US Moving, Matthew Schneider
Something peculiar is happening in cities and towns across the United States. Road Diets and Complete Streets treatments are slowing emergencies, slowing business, inconveniencing motorists, causing neighbors to be enemies, and generally disrupting City Hall.
Gary Galles, Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University, explained in a recent interview on KFI-AM. “When you change policy, you can’t just change one incentive story. If you slow down cars on a road, you slow down emergency vehicles as well. There are approximately 350,000 sudden cardiac arrest cases each year in the United States that happen outside of hospitals. This effect by itself could dominate any savings in any pedestrian/bicycle lives saved.” Professor Galles, explained.
There are Vision Zero programs in scores of US cities, and virtually everywhere they are having impacts on emergency response times. The Uniformed Firefighters Association has noted delays and problems directly attributed to Vision Zero road redesigns in a story in the New York Post. Firefighters, paramedics, and police officers in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Seattle, Oakland, New York, Boston, and elsewhere have confirmed that lane reductions, particularly so-called “road diets,” have increased their response times dramatically.
Slowdowns in emergency response are not the only peculiar concern. Businesses along proposed Vision Zero road redesigns from Kokomo, Indiana to West Roxbury, Massachusetts are concerned. This cause for concern is justified as business closures and slowdowns have been noted on dozens of different corridors at hundreds of locations across the country.
Road redesigns are causing tempers to flare in neighborhoods too. In Silver Lake, CA, when Rowena Avenue was put on a road diet, a significant amount of traffic diverted into the neighborhood side streets where neighbors captured motorists getting into heated arguments because of the unexpected congestion.
All of this activity is causing unwelcome angst in our communities, the growing skepticism of our public leaders, and an erosion of public trust. An Alexandria, Virginia Counselor Amy Jackson, said at a recent City Council meeting, “The Seminary Road Diet has caused what I believe to be an erosion of public confidence. Those who live on and around Seminary Road have “anxiety and fear” after the council made a decision that impacted the area in ways that were not intended.”
Across the nation, the story is identical. I know this because versions of all these negative impacts have all been noted in the small city that I live in Waverly, Iowa (population 10,153).
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THIS?
They say all traffic is local and now more than ever we need to pay attention to what is going on at the local level. I would encourage everyone to get involved in any way you can with your local government. Last year I ran for City Council and won to begin to fix these and other problems.
I am also networking with other elected officials from around the country. If you are in a city with a Complete Streets or transportation problem, I want to hear from you. You can reach me at email@example.com.
Trending this Week
- War on Cars Watch Study: Car Sticker Price is a Predictor of Driver Aggression Towards Walkers –Streetsblog USA
Editorials this Week
- War on Cars Watch: Where are the bike lanes in the Lego world? –The Verge
- Vision Zero Viewpoint: Traffic safety may be subjective, but designing the road shouldn’t be –Greater Greater Washington
- How to avoid being a livable streets jerk –Chicago Reader
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.
- California’s Active Transportation Program Cycle May 5 Fund Quick-Build Projects (such as bike lanes and traffic calming) –Streetsblog CA
- Oakland’s new 13th Street Commons –Streetsblog San Francisco
District of Columbia
- DC Council proposal to move 9th Street bike lane forward stalls over questions of race and gentrification –Washington Post
- Boston Pitches Major Transit-Focused Redesign for Blue Hill Ave. –Streetsblog Massachusetts
- Boston Proposes Road Diet, Protected Bike Lanes on Cummins Highway in Mattapan –Streetsblog Massachusetts
New York City
- Road Diet Alert NYC: Queens Business Owners Launch Petition in Opposition to DOT’s Plan for Protected Bicycle Lanes on 31st Street –Long Island City Post
- NYC DOT Expanding Loading Zones in Brooklyn after Car Parker Pushback –Streetsblog NYC
- ‘We’re being held hostage in our neighborhood’ | Alexandria, Virginia works to combat cut-through traffic concerns (Many main arteries are road dieted–could be the reason for the cut-throughs) –WUSA 9
Hashtag: #CompleteStreetsWatch and #WaronCarsWatch
- Atlanta’s DeKalb Avenue overhaul appears on the horizon –Curbed Atlanta
- Road diets have become campaign fodder in Kokomo, Indiana (Complete Streets Watch) –Kokomo Tribune
Hashtag: #VisionZeroWatch and #WaronCarsWatch
- British Columbia: Surrey considering lower speed limits on residential streets in Vision Zero plan –Daily Hive
- Santa Monica: Bike and pedestrian crashes decline but deaths rise (Vision Zero Watch) –Santa Monica Daily Press
- Berkeley City Council to vote on adopting a Vision Zero Action Plan –Daily Californian
- Survey: Denver voters support bike lanes, Vision Zero (Vision Zero Watch) –Colorado Politics
- 15 pedestrians have been struck and killed so far in Connecticut this year; advocates want new laws to address ‘full-blown crisis’ (HB5324) –Courant.com
- Central Florida: Operation Vision Zero increases traffic enforcement to cut down on fatalities –Click Orlando
- Minneapolis, St. Paul to lower speed limits together this spring (Vision Zero Watch) –Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Columbia: Vision Zero looks like a distant goal after last year’s spike in pedestrian deaths (Vision Zero Watch) –Columbia Missourian
- NY Sheriff’s Office tows 160 cars in Brooklyn Vision Zero crackdown –NY Post
- NYC’s “Vision Zero” Crackdown Impounds 160 Cars; War on Drivers Intensifies (War on Cars Watch) –The Jewish Voice
- Vision Zero Watch: More Pedestrians and Cyclists are Dying in NYC. Drivers are Often to Blame (War on Cars Watch) –NY Times
- Vision Zero Watch Oregon: In a New Report, Portland Metro Acknowledges That a Multi-Million Dollar Vision Zero Plan Isn’t Working –Willamette Week
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 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