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!
NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn compiles the list, with commentary from NMA Member Michael Jabbra (marked with an MJ). NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker gives us his considerable wisdom at the end of this week’s list.
Information from June 19-25, 2019
MJ: This is welcome news. Now it’s time for us to press our Senators and President Trump so that this bill can become law. Civil asset forfeiture needs to stop.
- Shifting from LOS to VMT would save time, money, and better support local goals (War on Cars Watch)
- Viewpoint: Don’t Blame ‘Distracted’ Pedestrians for Rising Toll (War on Cars Watch)
- Most Americans think you won’t be arrested for driving after using pot
- Federal Transportation Official Says Marijuana Consumers Think They Drive Better While High
MJ: People, let’s do the right thing. Don’t mix driving with alcohol or drugs. Legalization of marijuana does not magically decrease its intoxicating properties.
National Mobility as a Service or MaaS Stories
MJ: I don’t live in the Bay Area, but I have heard that it is hard to make ends meet there, even for those who are better paid than ride-share drivers. Without wishing to excuse CEO greed, I would suggest finding another line of work. If many ride-share drivers do this, then the ride-share companies would face a labor shortage, and then they would have to raise wages to attract labor. One major reason why ride-share driver wages are so low is that almost anyone can drive a car, but not everyone can, for example, do surgery or high-level computer work (security, or artificial intelligence). Lauren, you deserve better – and there are employers out there who will treat you better. Perhaps even outside the Bay Area.
- South Australian Government announces speeding fine and fee increases to plug GST hole
- British Columbia, Canada promotes active transportation (e-bikes! scooters! skateboards!), and Vision Zero (Vision Zero Watch)
- Canada: Cash, cars, and computers: How British Columbia confiscates millions without showing evidence of crime
- Study finds UK citizens want ‘smart’ measures to protect vulnerable road users
- London pushes motorists toward electric cars
MJ: Somehow I doubt that any of this money will make it to local roads here in Los Angeles, many of which are terrible. When citizens vote no on tax increases, they are sending a message to government: We don’t trust you. The problem is not a lack of money so much as it is government’s failure to earn people’s trust. All the money burned on high-speed rail could have gone to road repair and local mass transit.
- Editorial: The distorted economics of ride hailing must be fixed by California law (AB5)
- California: CARB and CALSTART mark 10 years of clean vehicle voucher program
- California has let two Chinese startups offer robotaxis to the public
- Frustration over Paid Parking Expansions in Davis: Ballot Initiative on the horizon? (War on Cars Watch)
- La Verne, CA residents oppose proposal to widen White Avenue
- La Verne Forms an Active Transportation Committee (Complete Streets Watch)
- Los Angeles Editorial: Towing can devastate a poor family. But the solution isn’t to throw out the rules (AB516)
- Los Angeles and San Francisco using data to target Vision Zero efforts (Vision Zero Watch)
- Los Angeles based Motorist Rights’ Activist Jay Beeber has caught the ire of Streetsblog over Planned Rapid Bus Transit in the San Fernando Valley (War on Cars Watch)
- ‘Stop this madness’: San Fernando Valley residents trying to block bus rapid transit
- Across Los Angeles, ‘fancy scooters’ are a thing. But in parts of the San Fernando Valley, not so much
- Los Angeles Metro Wants Drivers to Rent Out Their Cars
- Peeling License Plate costs Driver over $1000 fine in Los Angeles area (video report)
- Parking or bike lanes? Petaluma’s road diet dilemma
- San Francisco: City approves protected bike lanes, transit improvements for Howard and Folsom streets (Vision Zero Watch)
- As Denver’s armada of e-scooters grows, operators roll out new models, and other cities pump the brakes
District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia
- Fight over Potomac River bridge plan that would put bikes on highway
- First protected bike lane going up in 14th St. NW project (War on Cars Watch)
- Floridians are suing a cop fired for planting drugs in their vehicles
- Governor Ron DeSantis signs bill lifting sidewalk restrictions on electric scooters
- Atlanta: City, e-scooter and bike companies agree on speed limit
- Smyrna bans dockless e-scooters, bikes, as Atlanta grapples with enforcing regulations
- Illinois: Seventh Circuit Orders Return Of Impounded Cars
- Lawsuit Challenges Chicago Towing Racket After City Destroyed Disabled Woman’s Van
- Cambridge to update bike safety plan with more separated lanes in the works (War on Cars Watch)
- City proposes road diet, protected bike lanes for West Roxbury’s Centre Street
- Driving while black in Missouri: One family meets with the Blue Springs police chief over traffic stop
- Kansas City moving toward adding bike lanes on busy Meyer Corridor to improve safety (War on Cars Watch)
New Jersey and New York
- Skip that windshield; the ticketless parking ticket could be headed your way in New Jersey and New York
- Albuquerque Editorial: ‘Complete Streets’ needs update – with safety first (Complete Streets Watch and Vision Zero Watch)
MJ: Batteries are getting better all the time. Range is increasing. It may even be possible to have electric aircraft, at least for short trips such as Los Angeles – Las Vegas or New York – Washington D.C. Yet electric cars should be freely chosen by people, not forced by government mandate. Memo to politicians: not everyone can afford an electric car at this time. Let the technology improve, and the price come down, and people will come to electric cars on their own.
- NY Bill Would Ease Process For Paying Traffic Fines
- Buffalo, NY: Advocates Question How City Distributes Traffic Tickets
- New York City and MTA reach initial agreement on Manhattan congestion pricing rollout
- New York City’s Eighth Avenue To Get a Road Diet to Give More Space to Walkers, Cyclists (War on Cars Watch)
- ‘Disturbing’ number of Manhattan cyclists use phones while riding: study
MJ: Yet it will still be the driver’s fault if cyclists using phones get hit because they weren’t paying attention. Drivers and bikers, the call can wait. Your life is more important. So is avoiding liability. And anyway, somehow we all managed to survive before cellphones and social media. Be a rebel – put the phone down!
- Electric Scooters Will Be Legalized in New York, but Not in Manhattan
- New York City flexes again, extending cap on Uber and Lyft
- New York City: Bay Ridge Drama over Bike Lanes Continues–Community Board says no, Council Members say yes (War on Cars Watch)
- New York City Will Defy Community Board and Paint Bay Ridge Bike Network (War on Cars Watch)
- Manhattan’s 14th Street Landowners Sue City over Car-Free ‘Busway’ (War on Cars Watch)
- New York City: Bus lane proposal gets cool reception
- Editorial: New York has to take back its turf from the two-wheeled terrors (War on Cars Watch)
- City Commissioner Wants to Create Miles of Bus-Only Lanes Along Portland, Oregon’s Busiest Streets (War on Cars Watch)
- Oregon’s Rogue Valley Expressway creates more speeding tickets
- Nashville Mayor David Briley directs city lawyers to draft plan to ‘terminate’ existing scooter program, start new plan
- Ending of Driver Responsibility Program clears way for 1.5M licenses to be restored in Texas
- Where Texas DPS busted the most drivers for speeding in the Houston-area so far in 2019
- City, VIA Metro, Bike Advocates Discuss Creating Safer Streets in San Antonio, Texas (Vision Zero Watch)
Commentary from NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker
The NMA along with the ACLU, the Campaign for Liberty, and others helped support an amendment by Rep. Walberg to make it harder for local authorities to steal cars from people that may be innocent using civil forfeiture rules.
Pedestrian advocates want to blame 99.999% of all pedestrian fatalities on the car drivers, but that is nonsense. NHTSA data clearly shows that about 60% of the fatalities involve an action or inaction by the pedestrians that contributed to their own fatalities. Pedestrian advocates call this “victim blaming,” but that is nonsense. Pedestrians that do not exercise caution under risky circumstances ARE partly at fault if they become a fatality.
North American visitors to Australia should always be aware that OZ runs some of the most predatory speed and red-light camera rackets in the world. They want your money, so be very cautious.
As lane thefts via Road Diets and bike lanes for a tiny percentage of the commuting flow get more common, so have the opposition forces become more vocal. People drive because it is faster, more private, safer, more convenient, more flexible, etc. and private vehicle commuters are the overwhelming majority in most cities. Officials should support the majority, not the tiny fringe elements.
Texas finally ends their for-profit Driver Responsibility Program racket, as Michigan did in 2018. It destroyed the social and working lives of hundreds of thousands of lower income Texans, as it did for lower income residents in Michigan. These programs are manifestly evil and should never exist.