Editor’s Note: The War on Cars Watch will be on vacation for the next two weeks and will reemerge on January 9, 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!
Here are some National News Headlines concerning the War on Cars:
- US Senate Condemns Motorcycle Profiling – now if they would also do this for motorists!
- Data shows fewer parking spots relieve congestion – another way to discourage driving.
- Against all odds, progressive land-use reforms are taking root in American cities
- Opinion: The Pedestrian Strikes Back –from the NY Times.
- The Policy That Will Make the Uber/Lyft IPO Pay Off (and Hurt all other Motorists–War on Cars Watch)
An International News Headline of Interest:
- Road user subscriptions will fund the road ecosystems of the future says European Union Road Federation Lab – this is very bad news and let’s work on stopping this in its tracks. Who wants to have reserve the exact time on a road in the future? Yikes!
Arizona tallies 21 assault cases against Waymo self-driving cars – no matter what you might think of driverless cars, folks should not push violence against them.
The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board was upset with the recent news that the city plans to raise speed limits in order to write more speeding tickets: Los Angeles Editorial: Why does California give free rein to lead foots? (War on Cars Watch)
They also wrote this: Opinion: Los Angeles is a city of parking lots. It doesn’t have to be
Parking minimums were also in California news this past week.
- Sacramento City Council Passes a Citywide TOD Ordinance–removes parking minimums and places car restrictions near transit
- San Francisco Eliminates Parking Minimums
- Denver art project meant to calm traffic – please don’t use art to calm traffic.
- ProPublica wants to hear from you: Chicago Motorists: We Want to Hear About Your Experiences With Vehicle Tickets
- Minneapolis Moves to Eliminate Mandatory Parking – this is becoming an epidemic!
- New York City’s Self-Induced Transportation Crisis (War on Cars Watch)
- NYPD Commander’s Text Messages show how the Ticket Quota System Still Persists
- NYC Opinion: Congestion pricing, elitism in action: Don’t price access to what is supposed to be public space
Commentary from NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker
Efforts of many kinds to restrict or make car travel in cities inconvenient will become even more common in the future. Congestion and parking issues helped to make the suburban malls more convenient and contributed to the decline of shopping in many city centers in the last several decades. Will this issue drive more jobs to the suburbs if the commuters who don’t live downtown find it harder and harder to get to work efficiently? Time will tell.
I rate the predictions of high percentages of people soon using car sharing, Uber/Lyft, carpooling, etc. as too optimistic. Some people will embrace these options, but many will prefer the complete freedom of using their own cars with flexible or instantly changeable schedules, privacy, ease of making multiple stops, and the ability to carry purchases or personal items in their own vehicles.
Some cities are removing parking minimums from residence structures. It does make them less expensive but carries a severe negative. Assuming that many city dwellers will not own a car can be a very false assumption. Then when they move into the new residence without a parking place and do own a car, the pressure on available parking places in the neighborhood can become intolerable for those that already live there.
Many cities are doing things that increase cycle and pedestrian traffic. This means there will be more exposure to potential accidents for these groups. It should come as no surprise that significantly increased distances walked or cycled will mean more accidents involving those groups – just as driving more miles raises risks for drivers.
NY and some other cities are considering congestion pricing, but it is a very regressive tax on people with modest incomes and fixed work hours.
Make no mistake, we are in a war with the car-haters and we need to defend the invaluable freedoms to travel when and where we wish with a minimum of interference. Don’t be silent. Get involved locally when your freedoms are endangered. Attend council meetings & speak out against restrictions, write letters to the editor, talk to merchants if changes might alter where you shop, and get like-minded friends involved.