War on Cars Watch for April 3, 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

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.

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.”

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.

International

California

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.

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.

Colorado

Connecticut

District of Columbia

Florida

The SunPass Saga continues…

In other War on Cars Business

Georgia

Louisiana

Massachusetts

Maryland

Michigan

New York

New York City will now be the very first US city to charge drivers for congestion pricing!

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.

Ohio

Oregon

Texas

Virginia

Washington

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.

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