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.
This blog will give you highlights of the week’s stories and commentary from our NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker (is below) and California NMA Member Michael Jabbra (in italics spread throughout and marked MJ). Please read this blog and let us know what you think by commenting below!
An important story posted by the NY Times—some great research and the tracking of the individuals might just freak you out. After reading, we bet you will want to ban apps from tracking your location just like we did.
Scooters, scooters everywhere…apparently: The scooter stampede of 2018 is great news for urban transportation (Vox.com)
And here is an odd story that appeared on USA Streetsblog: Safety Officials to Cities: Stop Buying Such Huge Trucks (Vision Zero Watch)
A little reported story on the Yellow Jacket Protests in France: French Speed Camera Revolt Intensifies
- What Should Governor-elect Newsom’s Transportation Priorities Be? (War on Cars Watch) (CA Streetsblog)
In Los Angeles
- Los Angeles: Metro CEO supports congestion pricing, free fares on public transit (LA Curbed)
- Los Angeles Metro’s latest plan to get more of your money (Congestion Pricing) (LA Daily News)
- Opinion: Free public transit and roads without traffic? Sounds like a fairy tale, but Los Angeles can have both (Congestion Pricing) (LA Times)
- Los Angeles extends rules against sleeping in vehicles (LA Curbed)
In San Diego
- San Diego approves $2.3M for bike network ‘missing link’ in Carmel Valley (San Diego Union-Tribune)
In San Francisco
- San Francisco gets $15 million federal grant to start sprucing up Market Street (for traffic calming) (San Francisco Chronicle)
- San Francisco: Mission Street merchants hate the red bus only lanes, regardless of any benefits to transit (Mission Local)
Commentary from CA Member Michael Jabbra
Congestion pricing is unfair. There are rush hours because that is when most people are going to or leaving work. Punishing people for working is wrong.
Lowering fees on mass transit isn’t enough. To really attract people, mass transit has to be clean and safe, and it has to go where people want to go, when they want to go. The Los Angeles record on that is mixed.
- Denver, CO: Pedestrian Advocacy Group Asks for City’s Help in Making Streets Safer (i.e. Traffic Calming) (Denver CBS)
- Some Denver City Council members say repurposing parking space is key for new e-scooter rules to roll smoothly (Denverite.com)
Washington, D.C. (city headlines)
- Why a DC bicycling group wants to charge cars to enter the city (Washington Post)
- Atlanta, GA: City Council OKs transportation plan, amid more calls to progress ‘complete streets’ (Atlanta Curbed)
- Georgia: City of Macon joins Thousands of cities in Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Initiative (41 NBC)
- Carson City, NV holds meeting to discuss Complete Streets Project (War on Cars Watch) (only have found this story so far on the meeting) (Carson NOW)
Someone present reached out to us via email though and said that he was only one out of 50 folks there who was against the traffic calming plan. He wanted to know what he could do to change it!
Locally organize is the best way—find other like-minded motorists and get busy. Don’t wait until the city spends huge amounts of money before you oppose the issue. Remember—Traffic is always local!
New York City Headlines
- NYC Mayor De Blasio Vows to ‘Do More’ to Clear Bus Lanes, But Won’t Promise 100 Miles of Bike Lanes Per Year (NYC Streetsblog)
- New York: DOT Will Move Ahead with Ambitious Safety Plan for Bronx’s Morris Park Avenue (NYC Streetsblog)
- Brooklyn, NY: Bay Ridge’s Anti-Bike Cold War Starting to Melt (War on Cars Watch) (NYC Streetsblog)
- Pittsburgh’s Healthy Ride bike-sharing program expanding after a rough stretch (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Memphis, TN Leaders Unveil a New Manassas, Safe for Bikes and Pedestrians (Traffic Calming) (Memphis Flyer)
- Group sues Texas over driver surcharge program (Palestine Herald)
- Texas Scorecard: Legislative Priority–Repeal Revenue-Generating Fees (Texas Scorecard.com
- Texas: Vision Zero advocates look to Legislature to help reduce traffic deaths (Austin Monitor)
- Texas police made more than $50 million in 2017 from seizing people’s property. Not everyone was guilty of a crime. (Texas Tribune)
Texas Legislature only meets every two years and January 2019 it begins…everyone in the state is gearing up for it and there will be many motorists bills brought forward including banning red-light cameras and how the DMV is managed.
Washington State Headlines
- Seattle DOT reports 20 percent decrease in cyclists, blames weather – and not because of winter either! (MyNorthwest.com)
Commentary from NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker
If you don’t want to facilitate being tracked almost everywhere you go, you must leave your cell phone off and not synch your phone to your car to broadcast locations to the manufacturer. I do those things and turn my cell phone on only when I make a call.
The NMA does NOT condone vandalism against ticket cameras, but it is common in many countries in Europe.
In many cities, the pedestrian and cyclist lobbies are strong and well organized. They are making a lot of progress choking down lanes on main collectors and arterials to satisfy a small percentage of cycling commuters and getting cities to engineer reduced speeds on these main arteries to make pedestrians feel safer. It is a key issue we need to combat to retain the rights of the majority to commute and shop by car.
Some of their efforts would be really intrusive, for example the efforts toward congestion pricing and maybe even limits on the total number of cars that could enter DC in a day. The District of Colombia is our nation’s capital, it belongs to all of us, and any efforts to restrict free access are really offensive to those who value freedom of travel.
Basically every NMA member and friend needs to watch for efforts to restrict our freedom to travel without for-profit traffic enforcement in their local area. Then get involved by calling & writing the elected officials, speak at council and other public meetings, write letters to the editor in local papers, etc. There are many good tools and guides available on the website to help you take action. SO TAKE IT!
In Texas and some other states, punitive fees and surcharges are getting serious pushback, often with the help of groups like the ACLU. After 15 years, the hated Driver Responsibility Fees law was repealed in Michigan with all debts forgiven and no fees to reinstate the licenses of those who couldn’t pay the debts.
Similarly, predatory civil forfeiture programs against people who have not been convicted or in some cases not even charged with crimes are being restricted or banned outright. The NMA is working on this issue in many places, and with some success. Again, the ACLU has brought lawsuits against several states to end the practice. If these issues are in the news in your area, speak out against the bad practices.