War on Cars Watch for April 10, 2019

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).

National

International

Arizona

Arkansas

California

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.

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.

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.

Colorado

Florida

Georgia

Illinois

Massachusetts

Michigan

Missouri

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

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.

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Washington State

 

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.

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