Welcome to the War on Cars Watch, a weekly blog to bring together all the stories that affect motorists with regards to street planning such as road diets, and traffic calming as well as programs such as Vision Zero and Complete Streets.
Please read this blog and let us know what you think by commenting below! Check out the NMA’s War on Cars Watch Facebook Page where we feature a story a day!
Regular comments after articles come from NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn, and the italicized comments throughout the Watch comes from NMA Member Michael Jabbra (marked with an MJ).
- Editorial: The Streets Were Never Free. Congestion Pricing Finally Makes That Plain—Motorists and Truck Drivers already pay a great deal to use the roads!
- Coming Soon to Every Major City near You: Manhattan’s Brand New “Congestion Toll” — the tsunami has begun!
- Videos and pictures prove how dangerous and deadly many “road diets” are
- The Race to Code the Curb – but does the curb need to be coded?
- Opinion: Open-streets festivals can help cities practice for congestion pricing (War on Cars Watch)
- The Highways Splitting Cities in Half (War on Cars Watch)
- AUDIO: How can we make Mobility as a Service or MaaS an everyday reality?
- Viewpoint: Lyft and other Gig-Economy Giants cash in with IPOs before Labor Laws Catch Up with them
- Slaying puts focus on ride-hailing safety, fake drivers
- Bye-bye, bikes? Many mobility companies quietly shift their focus to scooters
- Arizona: On Phoenix’s most dangerous streets, little has been done to address the pedestrian death toll (Vision Zero Watch)
- New ‘Arkansas Stop’ law allows cyclists to treat red lights like stop signs –The Idaho stop is spreading like cancer across the US—all road users should use the same traffic laws so that it is clear what they are to all road users!
MJ: Congestion tax at LAX….because you’re supposed to carry your luggage to the airport while riding a bicycle…or try to cram 2-3 suitcases onto an already crowded bus. There is no question about LAX congestion – believe me, I’ve put up with it many times. Nevertheless, this seems like a giveaway to taxis and rideshare companies.
MJ: Not everyone wants to be crammed into an apartment or condo. Surprise, surprise. However, some people do prefer that, and that’s okay…as long as the apartment or condo provides parking, because not everyone is content with rideshare or mass transit. Again – stop legislating lifestyles. Leave people alone.
- Los Angeles area: Metro prepares to upgrade the Valley’s popular Orange Line bus route…will mean longer wait times for motorists
- Where Could Cordon Congestion Pricing Work Best in Southern California?
MJ: This article highlights the problems of congestion pricing in Los Angeles. Where do you draw the lines? What gets charged and what doesn’t? And of course, this is more Big Brother surveillance of drivers. Streetsblog seems perfectly okay with Big Brother if it’s used to chase drivers off the roads.
- Santa Monica, Westside Political Leaders Disagree on “Go Zone” Congestion Pricing Proposal
- Los Angeles: Community Divided Over Venice Boulevard Road Diet (War on Cars Watch)
- Los Angeles PD accepting online police reports for minor accidents
- Sacramento to test transportation app that rewards low-carbon travel
- San Diego: Lawsuit Challenges City Measure to Eliminate Parking in Transit Areas
- San Francisco pledges new ‘action plan’ for dangerous streets (Vision Zero Watch)
- San Francisco Commentary: For Vision Zero, Twenty mph is Plenty for our city’s default speed limit (War on Cars Watch)
- San Francisco Leaders Tout Latest Safety Improvements, Upgrades to Polk Street (Complete Streets Watch)
- Opinion: Bring back sanity to San Francisco’s traffic-congested streets
- Solutions to ridesharing congestion in the works in Downtown San Francisco
- San Francisco’s love-hate relationship with rideshares spawning proposal to tax Uber, Lyft rides
- Opinion: San Francisco should incentivize electric and shared ride-hailing
MJ: Shared ride-hailing: That’s all very well if you’re riding with someone you know and trust. What if you aren’t? Exactly who are you riding with? That concern is one of the factors that keep people from taking mass transit. Incentivizing electric cars? Most ride-share drivers just use their own vehicles. Many of them can’t afford electric vehicles. Over the long term, more and more electric cars will trickle on to the market. The problem with this author is that he thinks he can wave a magic wand and make it happen instantly.
- New parking app upsets homeowners near San Jose State University
- More designated bike lanes coming to San Jose, CA (War on Cars Watch)
- DOT creates Office of Innovative Mobility to address emerging tech
- Cyclist-focused meeting will help Boulder County, Colorado transportation planners gauge needs, wants
- A Florida Bill SB1792 Would Make It Even Harder to Sue Towing Companies for Illegally Taking Your Car
- Florida Opinion: A car rental is a car rental is a car rental, so let’s level playing field
- Atlanta Officials: Creating Midtown complete street from scratch would provide vital MARTA link (Complete Streets Watch)
- Doraville, GA Homeowners Win Round One in Lawsuit Challenging Overzealous Ticketing Scheme
- Breakin’ the law: What should Chicago do about cyclists who don’t play by the rules? (NMA Mention)
- Chicago’s Towing Program Is Broken
- Cambridge, Massachusetts bike network rolls toward historic milestone
- Is the Boston area ready for micromobility?
- Boston to assess higher parking, hotel fees
- New Jersey Lawmakers Not Pleased About Potential Traffic Problems Congestion Pricing Could Create at Tunnels
- Hoboken, NJ will launch an e-scooter pilot as momentum stalls in NYC
- New York: Lawmakers Quietly Dropped E-Scooter Legalization From The Budget
- NYC Congestion Pricing Triggers Hustle for Discounts, Exemptions
- ‘Our Legislators Lied To Us’: New Push To Repeal NYC Congestion Pricing Gains Steam As Lawmakers Reveal Dirty Tricks Used To Get Deal Passed
MJ: The same thing is done for federal legislation, in which bills are stuffed with riders so that a president has the choice of allowing a bill stuffed with lousy riders to go through, or vetoing a bill that might have some good ideas in it to get rid of the lousy riders. This is nothing new. What stinks about this is that congestion in New York isn’t going to go away magically. It’s highly likely that a lot of the money raised by New York’s congestion tax (or that of any other city) will go to government employee pensions and pork.
- Car and Driver: Great News! Driving in New York City Is About to Become Way More Expensive
- Uber spent $2M to help push through congestion pricing in New York City
- NY Governor Andrew Cuomo says only ‘very rich people’ can afford to drive into Manhattan
- Manhattan is Blocking E-Scooter and E-Bike Legalization
- OOIDA and NMA to appeal dismissal of suit challenging legality of PA Turnpike tolls
- Lehigh, Pennsylvania: Zero traffic deaths by 2030 (Vision Zero Watch)
- Seattle backpedals on bike lane plans (War on Cars Watch)
- Militant Seattle bike activists livid with city and they should be (War on Cars Watch)
Commentary from NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker
The NMA has long advocated for proper user fees for the roads. Fuel taxes are the fairest and least expensive to collect – along with the benefit they do NOT create a hackable and saleable database of our travels to destroy privacy further. Congestion charges are a double-dip AND are further regressive to low-income service workers.
London has gone berserk in taxing vehicle owners and drivers. Our UK counterparts, the Alliance of British Drivers, are pushing back hard against the unfair taxation.
It is true that cyclists can safely treat most stop signs as yield signs and most red lights as stop signs – so long as the sight lines are clear to be sure there are no conflicting risks. What is never mentioned is that the same is true for car drivers. The US has a fetish for stop signs, most of which should be yield signs. And modern roundabouts are a better solution than traffic lights in a high percentage of the intersections.
Unnecessary stops cause more air pollution, noise pollution, wasted fuel, wasted time, and wear on vehicles – none of which improve safety or traffic efficiency.
Many cities want to eliminate the requirements for minimum parking places for housing developments – hoping that more people will own fewer cars and take transit more often. This totally ignores the fact that virtually all renters and homeowners frequently travel AWAY from their residences to places where cars are necessary. The changes are pipe dreams of a car-less future that is NEVER going to come about.
Written or unwritten quotas for tickets like the example in Diamond, MO should get the command officers fired for cause and prevented from working in enforcement again.
Many cities will watch NYC to see the results of the new congestion charges. It may – and should – generate some serious backlash.
There is a “secret” that Lehigh, PA, and all other Zero Vision cities and groups need to learn. Zero traffic deaths is an easy goal by 1) totally separating pedestrians & cyclists from any moving vehicles and 2) restricting the actual travel speeds of moving vehicles to about 20 mph on all types of roads and highways. Commerce will collapse, but auto accident fatalities will drop to virtually zero.