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). Also, check out commentary from the NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker at the end of the report.
Here are the national stories from February 27-March 5, 2019
War on Cars
- The Design Bible That Changed How Americans Bike in Cities (War on Cars Watch) – Traffic engineers who are against cars seem to be now in charge of DOTs around the country. This bible is one of the examples of how they are changing driving for the rest of us.
- Editorial: Advance Warning Lights Are Good –an editorial from Jalopnik.
- Editorial: This is what Peak Car Looks Like (War on Cars Watch) – This term Peak Car has been around for a while…again wishful thinking perhaps or even War on Cars propaganda
MJ: This article says nothing about the limitations of computers and artificial intelligence. Nor does it say anything about how many of us like driving because a) we’re not dependent on someone else, b) a car can carry cargo or kids, and c) we just plain like being in control. If other people are happy with buses, trains, and ridesharing, that’s fine. They should leave the rest of us alone.
- Americans are spending more time than ever behind the wheel –gas is cheaper and many of us have places to go…
MJ: Gasoline isn’t all that cheap in California, but at least (so far) we haven’t returned to that dreadful summer of 2008 when gasoline was over $4 per gallon.
- Fight for your right… to repair –If we own our cars and other things, we should absolutely have the right to repair…important for all of us even if we are not DIYers.
- Pedestrian Deaths Reach Highest Level in Decades, Report Says –Vision Zero does not seem to be working for whatever the reason. Vision Zero actually gets in the way of safety because when you demonize one group over another, it doesn’t get you anywhere.
MJ: Higher population in cars and on sidewalks, combined with everyone with their nose in their phones. Are we surprised that there are more pedestrian casualties. Oh, I forgot: It’s always the driver’s fault. Darn all those people driving cars!
- What decades of traffic stop data reveals about police bias –racial profiling of drivers is a command tactic that police departments use around the country. It needs to stop!
- Editorial: Demographic ‘time bomb’ awaits automakers –This author gets it right…generational shift will change how we buy and lease cars
- Why Americans are suddenly paying $550 per month for new cars –This is why the ‘time bomb’ awaits! Most of us cannot afford $550 a month for a new car.
- Institute of Traffic Engineers Take on Parking Minimums (War on Cars Watch) –Traffic Engineers are on the frontline in the War on Cars and seem to no longer understand that cars are going away anytime soon.
- Smart city planners are rethinking parking by getting rid of it—This allows developers to make even more cash.
- All New Cars to Have Speed Limiters Fitted, Rules European Parliament –this is not a good development and we will soon find that this idea of a car speed limiter will be part of the US situation. When that happens—will anyone really want to drive if we are nannified in all aspects. All part of the Vision Zero playbook! Ughhhh!
- Editorial: Are You Willing to Let the Government Ride Shotgun? The Truth about Cars hits this one on the head!
MJ – Great – my car nagging me about how I drive. I’ll keep my dumb car!
- Volvo to impose 112mph top speed limit on all cars from 2020 (Vision Zero Watch) –And here is the first company that has decided—yeah, let’s make our cars so boring that no one will ever buy them.
- Data reveals devastating cost of tolls is crushing Sydney, Australia drivers –This story just makes me sad for all the drivers in Sydney who can’t really afford to drive anymore.
- Critics Vow to Block Sidewalk Labs’ Controversial Smart City in Toronto – Just because a company wants to experiment in a city, does not mean that the folks who live there want the results…more folks will start protesting these sorts of measures…We need lots more!
- California Legislative Update: New Session Brings New Bills for Bikes (War on Cars Watch)
- Mar Vista, CA: Despite Continued Protests and Now a Lawsuit, the city of Los Angeles is holding firm on Venice Blvd. Road Diet
- Los Angeles City Council Transportation Committee Denies Mar Vista Venice Blvd Legal Challenge
- Los Angeles Readies to Adopt Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) instead of Level of Service (LOS) for CA Environmental Equality Act (CEQA) Analysis – another way to get us out of our cars by changing the definitions of how things work. This is probably how officials think they can get drivers to pay for a Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax.
- You May Pay Big Bucks To Drive In Downtown LA: Beware ‘Congestion Pricing’
- Los Angeles Metro will study how to make driving more expensive — in your car or in an Uber
- San Diego City Council votes to eliminate parking requirements for new housing developments in transit priority areas
- San Francisco MTA’s Vision Zero Action Strategy for 2019 (Vision Zero Watch)
- Horrible Week for Vision Zero Casts Shadow over San Francisco (Vision Zero Watch)
- Scary Video: Colorado: ‘Just hold onto something’: Family describes surviving avalanche that swept them off I-70
- Why you shouldn’t expect new highway lanes without a toll
- Connecticut lawmaker is on a mission to change how speed limits are set (HB6590) —getting rid of the 85th percentile is one of the worse things for motorists…this means cities can set their speed limits at the whim of what they think instead of what the speed that drivers are actually driving.
- Florida Rental car customers could be refunded for improperly charged tolls
- Protesters take to downtown Miami streets, demand that they be made safer – they were protesting outside of a meeting where safety folks were working to make streets safer—can anyone say publicity stunt?
- Florida: Community activists want transit options, not just highways, under Tampa Bay Next –this reports seems like propaganda against cars…can we trust any survey results anymore since anyone can skew the results to be what they want?
- Georgia DOT set to strip ‘suicide lanes’ from part of Atlanta’s Memorial Drive (War on Cars Watch) –no bike lanes yet!
- Despite public backlash, Iowa City road could soon transition from four lanes to three –road diets like this are senseless and seem to be a way for governments to balance funding instead of actually safety.
- Cops not required to document basis for traffic stops, Indiana Supreme Court rules – maybe they are not required, but police departments really should so they can analyze themselves and work with the community in building support and transparency.
- Massachusetts: ‘Fed up’ cyclists send letter to Uber, Lyft asking drivers to stop obstructing bike lanes –So, we have rideshare and what are they going to do if they can’t deliver folks safely to the curb?
- Minnesota legislators approve $13 million for MNLARS fix (the new DMV computer system) –how much more cash is this state going to pour down the drain on their DMV computer system…this is happening around the country and it just seems that our tax dollars are not being used in the best way.
- NY: Governor and NYC Mayor agree that Congestion Pricing is one way that the Subway should be funded (War on Cars Watch)
- Viewpoint: My congestion pricing conversion–NYC Mayor de Blasio explains why he’s onboard a plan to combat traffic and raise money for the subways
- NYC Editorial: Give buses their own lanes: To speed them up and win back riders, carve out and defend their space on streets
- New York City Council members renew call for residential parking permits in northern part of Manhattan
- Buffalo, NY: City Hall cashing in on traffic tickets ($100 in fees added to each ticket in the past year)
- Ohio Court Declares Stopping Slightly over the Line Illegal
- Cincinnati’s bus lane gets ‘BUS ONLY’ markings to help drivers see it
- Lawmakers, PennDOT officials fret over potential for lawsuit to roil turnpike funding –the NMA and OOIDA are involved in this lawsuit and it seems to be working…Governments need to quit over tolling regular citizens…we cannot keep affording this!
- Philadelphia Editorial: Police enforcement up on motorists, down on cyclists, pedestrians, potheads, and skateboarders
- Philadelphia: Most residents support making Market Street, JFK bike lanes permanent (Vision Zero Watch)
- Utah lawmakers consider “cash for clunkers” bill HB295 that could offer up to $5,500 for jalopies – is this just another way to get us out of our cars?
Commentary from NMA Foundation Executive Director James C. Walker
Many different forms of attack to get more people to stop driving or reduce their use of cars or restrict how & where they can drive will be with us from now on. What these attacks refuse to acknowledge is that the vast majority of people freely choose to drive for most of their transportation needs. The needs and wishes of far more than 50% of the drivers should control more of the dialogue about changes. This will ONLY happen when more people speak out against restrictions on our freedom to drive when and where we want to go. Our views are not anti-transit, anti-biking, or anti-walking for those that choose those mobility methods. Our views are pro-driver for the high majority of people that choose to drive – and should be allowed to continue that preference.
Calling the GHSA a non-profit group is false. Their member organizations are in the revenue stream from traffic tickets and are financially conflicted regarding traffic laws and their enforcement.
A key reason that most European cars are so competent at high speeds is the existence of the unrestricted portions of the German Autobahn. German residents and other European visitors often use those unrestricted areas and demand that their cars behave properly and safely at speeds far above those used by most Americans and Canadians. Recent proposals by governments and Volvo to restrict the travel speeds of vehicles will slowly degrade that superiority if they go into effect.
Enforcement of artificially low posted speed limits will always be a part-time racket for profits. No city can or will afford 24/7/365 enforcement with enough officers or cameras on most of their collectors & arterials to actually reduce the speeds of most drivers to 10 or 15 mph below the natural and safe 85thpercentile speeds of traffic. But the efforts to falsely debunk the safety value of 85th percentile posted limits will continue for rea$on$ that $hould be obvious$ to mo$t ob$erver$, rea$on$ that do NOT include safety.
Road diets are coming under fire in several cities and members should oppose most of them when proposed in their areas.