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).
- Non-Arterial Bikeways: The Better Option – from the Keep the US Moving Website.
MJ: Yes, this is what’s needed. Most of the time, it’s better for bikes to take non-arterial streets. I do that whenever possible. It’s safer and quicker for bicyclists.
- US and State Lawmakers Want to Toll America’s Busiest Interstate – I-80 is the interstate in discussion
- Going to Burning Man? The Feds Want You Searched for Drugs – Does this violate a right to not be harassed by police unless there is probably cause? Attending a festival does not constitute probable cause.
- In Police Violence, the Fates of Cities and Suburbs Are Intertwined – Yes, indeed…police violence is everyone’s issue!
- Despite ‘Car-Free’ Hype, Millennials Drive a Lot –We always thought so…the lies to get us out of our cars are astounding!
- No, Car Ownership Will Not Die –this is a reaction to the NY Times editorial last week on Owning a Car will soon be as Quaint as Owning a Horse.
MJ: Yes, absolutely. The anti-car types assume that everybody lives in a city, lives within walking distance of their jobs, and never has to haul around equipment (Plumbers? Electricians?) and children. Furthermore, public transit usually has problems such as crazy or dangerous people, filthy seats, and just plain being slow. It’s time for these urban planners to realize that not everyone is like them, and not everyone wants to be like them. We could call this concept “diversity.”
- It’s official: DOT intends to propose hours of service reforms for truckers –this will help out truckers hopefully in the end.
- National League of Cities new report guides cities on trialing Road User Charge (RUC) systems (War on Cars Watch) –Road User Charge is just another name for Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax….
MJ: Yup. The principle that someone who drives more should be charged more because of more use, more wear and tear on the roads, etc. sounds fair, but it requires more surveillance of the driver. There seems to be no respect for privacy. What these people want is a Big Brother state without the brutality.
- Speaking of new terms…here is a new one– Can Deep Roads Restore Public Spaces and Limit Climate Change? (War on Cars Watch)
- As Electric Scooters Proliferate, So Do Minor Injuries and Blocked Sidewalks – Mobility as a Service or MaaS has some real issues…quit throwing more devices into our cities, please!
- Lyft and Uber’s driver problems: Grumbling, protests grow –this was never going to work anyway…that is why both companies are going to scooters and driverless cars.
- Can Lyft really help cities fix transportation? (War on Cars Watch) —more pandering to cities to grease the wheels for even more MaaS.
- What the Lyft IPO reveals about the rapidly changing driving habits of Americans – Don’t know about this one?
- Vehicle subscriptions off to rocky start but still have a future—anyone surprised?
- Australia: Experts call for the word ‘cyclist’ to be BANNED because it ‘dehumanizes’ people who ride bikes –now, these folks want us to call bicyclist, ‘people who ride bikes.’ Please stop the insanity!
- Canada: Calgary man fed up with cops setting up radar units in front of his house –don’t blame this guy one bit…what a nightmare!
- Canada: $6M for bike lanes, trails to build on ‘tremendous growth’ in cycling across Essex County, Ontario
- Opinion: Why U.S. cities need to learn from Copenhagen—fast (War on Cars Watch)
- Amsterdam: Modest Proposal to Eliminate 11,000 Urban Parking Spots (War on Cars Watch)
- Queen Elizabeth has reportedly given up driving and will only be chauffeured like the true queen that she is –The End of an Era, indeed!
- Scathing Report Outlines California DMV’s Failures
- Newsom proposes $168 million to reduce long lines at California’s DMV
- California bill curbing the use of contractors would not exempt Uber, Lyft, other tech firms
- California: Vision Zero Spurs Action Across the Bay (Vision Zero Watch)
- Caltrans seeks public input for pedestrian and bicyclist safety plan along Central Coast (Complete Streets Watch)
- Berkeley, CA leaders ban night RV parking
- Davis, CA Viewpoint: Tempers flare as traffic backs up (War on Cars Watch)
- Laguna Beach, CA Works With Uber, Lyft to Designate Rider Pickup Zones
- Lodi, California Plans a Road Diet for Safety and Economic Development
- Los Angeles: Pay $4 to drive to the Westside? Congestion pricing could cut traffic gridlock, the report says
MJ: Yes, Westwood is horribly congested; I’m glad that I rarely have to go there. Having said that, I don’t think this is going to go over very well. People don’t want to be punished for making their own transportation choices.
- At least 240 people killed in LA traffic collisions in 2018 (Vision Zero Watch)
- Opinion: Los Angeles should dismantle its freeways –Seems this is another crazy anti-car rant!
- CA State Senator Suggests Rush Hour Fee To Cut Down Congestion in San Francisco
- San Francisco must use ride tax to promote electric Uber, Lyft cars
- Vallejo, CA arrest during a traffic stop raises troubling new questions about the use of force
MJ: It may be possible to make the case that the officer used too much force. Still, when I was a teenager, the rule was no license, no drive, and no exception. That seems to have softened recently.
District of Columbia
The SunPass Saga continues…
- Florida DOT secrecy still clouds SunPass saga, 300 days into tolling nightmare
- Contractor Fined $4.6 Million Over SunPass Problems
- What to do if you’re surrounded by an ATV gang or motorcycle mob? Get out of the way and call 911, central Florida cops say
- SunPass Fees Suspended until June 1 by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
In other War on Cars Business
- Watkinsville, Georgia approves 50 percent hike in traffic fines
- Renew Atlanta, TSPLOST officials reveal final project lists (Complete Streets Watch)
- House-backed bill (HB112) punishing drivers for pedestrian crashes stuck in Maryland Senate committee (Vision Zero Watch and Complete Streets Watch)
- Baltimore Mayor Pugh says the city will remove Roland Park cycle track, cancels pilot program
New York City will now be the very first US city to charge drivers for congestion pricing!
- New York will be the first US city to charge drivers to enter its busiest areas
- New York City Congestion Pricing Hits Speed Bump Over Who Gets Exemptions
MJ: And of course, this will catch on like wildfire. Politicians and urban planners everywhere will say “In New York, they can spy on and tax drivers – why can’t we?”
Here is some other War on Car stories from the most populated city in America.
- Viewpoint: New York City Community Boards–The Roadblock to Safer Streets
- New York: Residents Rally As Plan For Safer Queens Boulevard Lags Behind (War on Cars Watch)
- New York’s Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is now the most expensive toll in the US
- New York City: Planners urge the city to envision a pared-down version of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway or BQE (War on Cars Watch)
- Oregon Considers Allowing Grown Adults the Privilege of Pumping Their Own Gas—if we are old enough to drive a car, we are old enough to pump our own gas, thank you!
- Virginia May Reinstate Licenses for Drivers with Unpaid Court Fees – one-sixth of all Virginians have this issue and it’s about time to resolve it. Especially affects rural residents the most.
- Seattle DOT puts brakes on controversial 35th Ave NE bike lane project
- Seattle Mayor’s Bike Lane Retreat Enrages Activists (War on Cars Watch)
- Spokane, Washington: New Rules Won’t Require Bike, Scooter Riders to Wear Helmets
Commentary from NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker
Non-arterial bikeways ARE the better solution. The problem for the strident bike advocacy groups is that they don’t inconvenience and/or reduce the car drivers – one of the key goals for some of the most strident and unrealistic cyclist groups.
Efforts to toll more of the existing Interstates will continue to come up and should be fiercely resisted. All we need to fund our roads are proper user fees, including getting the federal fuel tax reset from its obsolete 1990’s value – and indexed to inflation.
Severely restricting or eliminating normal car traffic in some very dense European cities like Copenhagen with very good public transit is a MUCH easier task to accomplish that the same goal for most US metroplexes with far less dense settlement. Some ideas that may work in Europe simply will not work here.
San Francisco wants a rush hour congestion fee. How would that affect the lower income service workers who have fixed employment hours and live beyond practical use of city transit systems because they cannot afford the real estate anywhere near downtown SF? It would be an unfair burden, a very regressive tax on poor people.
“Too many commuters” into Boulder is a common issue in many places. City real estate gets unaffordable for lower income workers so they drive long distances to work. Many middle and upper-class workers prefer large lots in the far suburbs for their families and many simply will not use public transit that takes a lot longer than driving to get to work. Nor will they stand out in four season weather waiting for the transit vehicle.
Virginia and some other states are rethinking the (lack of) wisdom to suspend driver’s licenses of poor people because they cannot pay the high fines and fees. This puts those people in a Debtors Prison, often without a way to get to work to try to earn enough money to support their families – let alone save enough to pay the fines. It took 15 years to end Michigan’s idiotic Debtors Prison system, hopefully many other states will act faster.