War on Cars Watch for March 13, 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 comes from NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn and the italicized comments throughout the Watch comes from NMA Member Michael Jabbra (marked with an MJ).

Here are the national stories from March 6-12, 2019

Randall Poole Viewpoint: Traffic Safety Hype –the numbers don’t lie and are frequently manipulated by safety advocates!

As Others See It: Look up from your phone Pedestrians –Traffic Safety is everyone’s Responsibility!

MJ: That’s right. Drivers and pedestrians and cyclists and scooter riders – everyone needs to pay attention. Unfortunately, there’s this perception, no doubt encouraged by the anti-car crowd, that pedestrian or cyclist deaths are always the fault of the driver.

Peak Car’s Impending Arrival Has a Deadly Side Effect –another peak car story—can we believe it?

Viewpoint: How Driving is Encouraged and Subsidized — By Law (War on Cars Watch) –Streetsblog folks don’t get it…the car and other vehicles is what keeps the economic engine going…

MJ: Streetsblog seems to think that everyone is a single person who is content to live in a tiny apartment and never has cargo, or children, or anything else to transport, and is lucky enough to live close enough to his/her job to walk or bike through a safe area. Talk about blind spots!

Pedal-ins and car burials: what happened to America’s forgotten 1970s cycle boom? (War on Cars Watch) –from the UK’s The Guardian Newspaper

New US Bill Would Provide a Tax Break for Bike Commuters –to bring them up to par with transit riders and drivers.

E-Scooter Bans Show Cities Are Hesitant to Embrace Innovation (Maybe it’s because they are dangerous)

New-vehicle interest rates reach 10-year high –bad news for motorists who want to buy a new car

Viewpoint: Confessions of a Traffic Engineer: The Misuse of Level of Service (Long YouTube Presentation–War on Cars Watch) –this video is over an hour but if you are interested, might help your understanding of why there is a War on Cars.

International

EU Moves Closer to Mandating Car-Safety Upgrades which includes Car Speed Limiters (War on Cars Watch) –this does not bode well for motorists everywhere—not only does this put a complete damper on driver, it also is unsafe to not have the ability vary speed due to issues on the roadway. Under the Vision Zero mantel, Volvo has decided that speed limiters will become standard equipment on their cars beginning in 2020.

California

MJ: I live in Los Angeles. Yes, congestion is a huge problem here. Yes, there’s room for better mass transit. However, taking mass transit, or rideshare, or walking/biking should be a choice, not something foisted upon people by money-grubbing governments. Besides, I don’t trust that the municipal government will use money levied on driving to improve mass transit or to fix roads. How do I know it won’t go to public employee fat pensions and benefits, or to some other pet political cause?  

Florida

Georgia

Illinois

Massachusetts

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Tennessee

Texas

Virginia

Washington State

Wisconsin

 

Commentary from NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker

Randall Poole, the NMA, and others are skeptical of reports from those in the revenue streams from traffic enforcement.

Streetsblog.org is one of the serious voices of car-haters and they want driving sharply reduced and want travel speeds sharply reduced on the collectors & arterials that support commerce in our cities. We rarely agree with their voices and need to oppose them.

Rising new car prices, in part because of expensive federally mandated systems, and rising interest rates on car loans means many people keep older cars which are less safe on the roads for longer.

We get some rational reporting on speed from international sources, but very little from the USA.

Road diets and other traffic calming measures on our main collectors and arterials often cause more congestion and some diversion to smaller streets that were never designed for heavy commuting traffic flows. In some places, the backlash against the negatives is growing. This is a local issue in which local members should get involved.

The IIHS study in Boston showed reducing speed limits from 30 to 25 achieved reductions in the actual mean and 85th percentile speeds of precisely 0.0 mph. In the continuing pursuit of the classic definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result – now they are considering 20 mph limits.

Fortunately, MassDOT denied a similar 30 to 25 limit change in Saugus, pending speed studies that could actually raise some limits.

Many other cities change or consider changing limits to unjustified lower levels, moves that can actually reduce safety by increasing speed variance. The$e change$ do $eem to have a $erious purpo$e for more ticket$ and more ca$h.

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One Response to “War on Cars Watch for March 13, 2019”

  1. John Carr says:

    Before praising MassDOT’s letter to Saugus, you should read it more carefully. It reads, in part, “..or the town may opt-in to MGL Chapter 90, Section 17C.” Section 17C says towns can post 25 mph for no reason if town meeting voters authorize selectmen do to so. The district highway director is telling the Saugus, “if you need our permission you may not get it, but you don’t need our permission.”