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!
Since the Watch was on vacation the Holiday Season the dates for this blog are from January 16-22, 2019.
Here are some National News Headlines concerning the War on Cars:
New report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows divide between rural, urban US on speed limits and related deaths. Vision Zero and the use of automated traffic enforcement figured prominently in the report. Our friends at TheNewspaper.com posted an analysis on the report. Governing.com did as well but not favorable to motorists of course even though NMA is mentioned.
In the meantime, StreetsblogUSA (rather gleefully) reported that Engineering Group Takes on High Speed Limits. The NMA knew that limiting the 85th Percentile under the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices was on the table but we thought that more reasonable heads would prevail. Motorists will very soon feel the effects of this ruling because many cities and states will now feel emboldened to set artificially low of speed limits.
Penn State researchers released a report stating that speed limits set too low cause more crashes.
TheNewspaper.com posted information about a new study that we are not surprised about at all: Study Finds Traffic Ticket Debt Hits Poor Hardest
Forbes.com also posted this Vision Zero propaganda piece: Speeding To Blame for Nearly 1 in 3 Traffic Deaths, Is ‘Culturally Acceptable’
The Wall Street Journal published a critique of Vision Zero: Vision Zero, a ‘Road Diet’ Fad, and Is Proving to Be Deadly. Here is a bicycle blog rebuttal: Vision Zero is not a fad — and it’s not making our streets more deadly (Vision Zero Watch).
McKinsey released a report on MaaS or Mobility as a Service: The road to seamless urban mobility
Uber might be planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters that are used for rental shares. Does this sound like a bad idea to you?
Why does this NYTimes article feel like anti-car propaganda? Stuck and Stressed: The Health Costs of Traffic (War on Cars Watch)
And here is an odd viewpoint piece from Streetsblog USA: Can New Mobility Tech Disrupt Car Dependence? (War on Cars Watch)
Here is an upbeat opinion from the 2019 Detroit Auto Show: The Detroit Auto Show Is a Source of Hope–Fun isn’t Dead Yet!
Congestion Pricing for Los Angeles was the news this past week, which the NMA is opposed to on all levels. Here are four stories from the city of angels.
- Los Angeles: Metro will recommend moving forward with congestion pricing, says CEO (War on Cars Watch)
- Los Angeles: The Benefits of Congestion Pricing (War on Cars Watch)
- Los Angeles Times Editorial: If you want to save mankind (or at least ease traffic) you’ve got to pay a toll (War on Cars Watch)
- Los Angeles Metro weighs charging drivers by the mile, adding freeway tolls to cut congestion
California Commentary from NMA Member Michael Jabbra
It’s no surprise that the anti-car crowd wants congestion pricing. It’s a source of money, and the municipal government is hungry for money. It’s part of the climate change/global warming philosophy – cut those carbon emissions by punishing anyone who drives. And yes, congestion really is a problem in Los Angeles. And yes, we can’t simply keep on widening freeways. (Do you want your home or business taken away via eminent domain for another freeway lane? I didn’t think so.)
But again, the anti-car movement is really about control. Being able to drive anytime, anywhere is hugely empowering.
For the record, I don’t have a problem with alternate forms of transit just because they’re not cars. I do have a problem with the assumption that everyone lives within, say, one mile of their jobs, or within one mile of a light rail system or bus stop. I do have a problem with the assumption that everyone is able to ride a bicycle or an e-scooter; some people are physically unable to do so. I do have a problem with the assumption that no one is ever going to carry a lot of stuff with them that can just be carried on board a bus or in a backpack on a bicycle.
In other words, I have a problem with the assumption that everybody’s transportation needs are the same, and that we all have to give up our individual vehicles for e-scooters, or Uber, or Lyft, or poorly planned and poorly policed public transit. There’s a word for the assumption that everyone’s needs are the same and that everyone’s choices (for transportation or anything else) have to be coerced by government: Communism.
The city of Aspen is parking its $2.6 M three-month transit experiment set to begin in the summer. Their goal was to encourage 800 motorists to not commute into the city and use other means of transport. The primary reason for the halt—the person in charge of the project has left the city’s employment. This would have been challenging anyway because the people who work in Aspen’s tourist trade cannot live there since it is so expensive.
District of Columbia
Mayor Muriel Bowser gave a speech last week about her second term agenda and many in the crowd booed her when she suggested reducing car dependence in the city. The GreaterGreaterWashington website, however, shouted that everyone should be applauding—–Boooooo!
At an Atlanta City Council work session last week, a presentation regarding the “rebaselining” of Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST infrastructure improvement programs indicated that progress is being made in the city’s Complete Streets Program.
Here is an editorial from the Valdosta Daily Times worth reading—gotta read the whole thing to get his point: On the road with 10,000 criminals (War on Cars Watch)
A racial profiling study was released in Illinois last week. Here are two reports:
- Black motorists in Illinois stopped, searched more than other drivers: report – Chicago Sun Times
- While pedestrian stops by Chicago police plummeted, officers’ traffic stops soared, ACLU says – Chicago Tribune
A state senator has filed a new bill to strengthen electronic tolling privacy.
A great letter-to-the-editor in the Boston Globe: Our roads are barely suitable for bikes, let alone bike lanes
The Senate has cemented auto insurance reform as top priority in the first bill for 2019—SB 1.
Beginning construction this spring, Ann Arbor plans network of protected bike lanes.
This is a bizarre article…at the very end it even mentions that state lawmakers are pondering a bill to allow red-light cameras: Las Vegas traffic safety officials alarmed by deadly trends on valley roads (Vision Zero Watch)
The Charlotte DOT wants to add speed cameras to city streets under their Vision Zero plan.
Here are a few headlines—what a mess in NYC!
- Viewpoint: NY Governor Andrew Cuomo is the Latest to Wrongly Blame Bike Lanes for Congestion
- NYC: Judge Extends Block Of Congestion Pricing Plan Through Jan. 31
- New York City: Bike lane battle rages on in Manhattan amid L-train drama (War on Car Watch)
- Bronx, NYC: ‘It’s going to be a disaster:’ Morris Park fights against ‘Road Diet’ safety plan
- Brooklyn, NY: Bay Ridge officials search for answers as car crash stats explode (Vision Zero Watch)
- ‘Congestion pricing’ could make driving to Manhattan more costly for Long Islanders
An Arlington motorist wrote this great letter-to-the-editor: ‘Vision Zero’ has zero benefits
New poll: Tolling freeways, city streets deeply unpopular across the board in Seattle and King County – Do we really spend money on a toll like this…NO ONE LIKES TOLLS!
International War on Cars Watch
The NMA has been finding a great deal of motorist news coming out of Canada—here are four War on Car Watch articles that caught our eye:
- Sober 82-year-old fined for drunk driving in British Columbia after she couldn’t blow hard enough to give a breath sample
- Canada’s New Drunk Driving Law Will Make You Thankful for the 4th Amendment
- Vancouver wants to charge Uber and Lyft users a congestion fee
- Alberta premier warns Opposition United Conservatives eyeing toll roads
A couple of stories from France last week that are repercussions of the Yellow Vest Protests.
- France: Report Shows Lowered Speed Limit Costs $4.4 Billion
- French Government Retreats From Lowered Speed Limits
Climate plans could make Germany’s ‘no limits’ Autobahns history—Say this is not so!
Here is an excellent first person viewpoint on the dangers of Ridesharing from a journalist based in Singapore: The Cab Ride That Nearly Killed Me Changed How I Think About Ride-Hailing Apps
Drivers have started to resist the low-emission car scheme in London – We are not surprised one bit on this one!