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.
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.
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.
- Speed versus safety — is faster always worse? –German drivers are the best in the world and on many roads there are no speed limits!
- Japan to fight road toll… by raising speed limit –this doesn’t really make sense!
- The Netherlands: Turns Out Driverless Vehicles Cannot Coexist With Cyclists
- Police Scotland ‘will not prioritize enforcing 20 mph laws’
- Just how awful is the California Department of Motor Vehicles? Will the CA DMV become insolvent in two years as this article suggests?
- Credit cards, payment plans, shorter lines: California lawmakers move to fix DMV (AB317, AB867, AB1101, AB1102, SB57 and SB460) –Are these bills the fix that the DMV needs or should more be done?
- This past week, CA Streetsblog posted Part 1 and Part 2 of the First Evaluation of the Active Transportation Program.
- California: Innocent Driver Sues over License Plate Camera Arrest –seems like police shenanigans here!
- Editorial: To beat congestion, Los Angeles needs to charge drivers more. But how can it be done right?
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?
- Los Angeles County Seeks Input on Draft Vision Zero Action Plan
- Los Angeles: Scooters become the next data privacy fight
- Los Angeles, CA: Stay In Your Lane: Fight Over ‘Road Diet’ In Mar Vista Intensifies (TV Report)
- Los Angeles City Council backs Venice Boulevard’s controversial ‘road diet’ as activists threaten to sue
- Los Angeles Editorial: Road Diets and High-Speed Rail: Doubling Down On Stupid
- Los Angeles Neighborhood Association Survey Shows Little Support for ‘Sunset Experience’ Project
- San Diego: Highway upgrades promised to voters headed for chopping block with SANDAG facing $10 billion shortfall
- San Francisco pledges to eliminate traffic deaths; car collisions surge immediately (Vision Zero Watch)
- San Francisco Mayor London Breed targets bureaucracy in effort to improve SF pedestrian safety
- San Francisco Seeks New, Aggressive Game Plan to Tackle Climate Change and Reduce Vehicle Emissions
- Managed Lanes breaks ground in San Mateo County, California
- Can 350 More San Francisco Parking Garages Get People On Public Transportation?
- San Francisco will remove parking along Howard Street where cyclist died to improve street safety
- Florida DOT backlog: Incorrect toll violations billed might cause drivers to face driver’s license renewal problems
- Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard: Built for speed, not safety. Residents want treacherous road redesigned (War on Cars Watch)
- Atlanta, GA: ‘Complete streets’ plans move forward in fast-evolving Midtown corridors (War on Cars Watch)
- Georgia Bills Would Regulate E-Bikes and Scooters Statewide
- The road to solvent Illinois pensions requires a tollway lease
- Should Illinois Continue Tracking Racial Bias In Police Stops?
- Chicago DOT’s Vision Zero Program wants to Quiz Motorists on Their Driving Habits (Vision Zero Watch)
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to propose 20 mph limit in neighborhoods and new Uber, Lyft pickup sites –This is all in the guise of Vision Zero but we think it also has to do with making more money—policing for profit. Boston is yet another city wanting to use fees (taxes) from motorist to fund transit. Wasn’t Boston considered one of the most congested cities in America?
- MassDOT denies requested 25 mph speed limit on three main Saugus streets
- Ithaca, NY: Lower speed limits part of city plan to improve traffic safety with ‘Vision Zero’ (Vision Zero Watch)
- Building a bike network in south Brooklyn, NY (War on Cars Watch)
- NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Statistical Argument for Congestion Pricing is Being Called into Question
- Council Speaker Corey Johnson wants to break the NYC Car Culture–He released his 104 Page Transportation Manifesto (War on Cars Watch)
- Jalopnik Editorial on NYC Council Speaker’s Plan to Break the “Car Culture.” This Plan Could Make New York City’s Streets Not Suck (War on Cars Watch)
- Viewpoint: Has Congestion Pricing’s Moment Finally Arrived in Albany?
- Reality Check: Could a ‘road diet’ on Asheville, North Carolina’s Charlotte Street delay emergency responders?
- Proposed Nashville ordinance would lower some residential speed limits below 30 mph (Vision Zero Watch)
- Texas lawmaker wants to lower neighborhood speed limits to 25 mph (HB1287)
- Dallas DOT Is Making Plans for a Better-Connected City
- Virginia: Montgomery County Council Deputy Director says Complete Streets are too expensive and too hard on drivers (War on Cars Watch)
- Will drivers accept congestion tolling in Seattle?
- Seattle aims to eliminate traffic deaths in just 11 years (Vision Zero Watch)
- An update on Seattle’s ‘Vision Zero’ street safety efforts (Vision Zero Watch)
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.