By Shelia Dunn, NMA Communications Director
This blog is a collaboration between the National Motorists Association and the Keep the US Moving (KUSM) group written and curated by NMA Communications Director Shelia Dunn (with some guest authors as indicated). The KUSM weekly blog focuses on road diets, traffic calming and programs such as Vision Zero and Complete Streets.
The NMA and the KUSM believe that it is important to include stories that oppose our viewpoint. We try to indicate those as needed. We love to hear from you about the Keep the US Moving Blog. Please feel free to comment below the post and find additional resources to fight road diets below. If you are concerned about any of these issues in your local area, please contact the NMA, firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with KUSM at KeepTheUSMoving@gmail.com and find additional information on their website at https://www.keeptheusmoving.com/.
What is a Road Diet?
Lane reduction, road rechannelization or road diet is a way cities can reduce the width and/or the number of lanes on a street to accommodate bike lanes, express bus lanes and/or a middle left-hand turning lane. Typically a road diet consists of reducing a four lane street, down to two with narrower lanes to accommodate a bike lane on both sides and a dedicated left hand turning lane. Sometimes this also takes out parking on one or both sides as well. Traffic calming devices may also be part of the mix with pedestrian bulb-outs at intersections, raised bus lanes, speed humps, and mid-street crosswalks.
On streets and roads with more than 20,000 cars per day (arterial roads), this causes more car traffic congestion, more pollution, and the likelihood of already vulnerable or even thriving local businesses that depend on vehicle traffic closing down permanently. Due to driver frustration, this also can push traffic onto side streets which have never seen this kind of traffic. This can make neighborhood streets more dangerous in the long run.
Because lanes are now restricted and sometimes even narrowed, emergency responders have a much tougher time to arrive at emergencies quickly. Vehicles can no longer pull over to the side of the road to allow EMTs, fire trucks, and police cars to pass. This results in more deaths, more fire damage, and more tragedy than needed.
Even if a road diet has been placed on an arterial road or street, many cities realize that this configuration does not work for their community and decide to reverse the road diet. Unfortunately, this means tax payers pay for both the road diet and the reversal which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Trending this Week
- UK plans to ban new internal-combustion cars by 2035 at latest –Autoblog–This includes all gas/electric hybrids too.
Editorials this Week
- America needs a transformative transportation bill: It will take walking and biking to get there –The Hill
- A City That Works for Everyone — Reflections on the Necessity of an Intersectional Urbanism (War on Cars Watch) –Streetsblog Denver
- Employers Have the Power to Cut Single-Occupancy Trips –GovTech
- Florida: The Truman Show, The New Urbanism Movement, And The Lessons For Large Metros –Forbes
Road Diets, Traffic Calming, and Car-free Streets
Stories of the Week
Hashtag: #KeeptheUSMoving, #Keep (insert your town, city, state here) Moving, #NORoadDietsonArterialStreets, and #NOTrafficCalming
- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signs order to address climate crisis—and get people driving less –Curbed LA
- Oakland’s Push for Bus-Only Lanes –Streetsblog San Francisco
- San Francisco Road Diet Alert Update: Supervisors reject Page Street Bikeway appeal –San Francisco Examiner
- State Senate passed Bike Lane Bill (SB61) which eliminates the gray area of intersection right-of-way –Grand Junction Sentinel
- Denver Road Diet Alert: Virginia Village could get a bike lane connecting cyclists to two major corridors –Denverite
- Batavia gearing up for reconstruction of Main Street near downtown (includes a bike lane) –Daily Herald
- Bike Lanes on Gerry’s Landing Road in Cambridge have been postponed –Streetsblog Massachusetts
- NYC Upper West Side Drivers Fail To Stop Study That Could Upend NYC’s Street Parking Paradigm –Gothamist
- NYC Op-Ed: Without new mass transit, BQE (or Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) re-build will be just another slap at drivers (War on Cars Watch) –Staten Island Live
- Will new double-parking rules fix clogged Manhattan streets this year? –AM NY
Hashtag: #CompleteStreetsWatch and #WaronCarsWatch
- Pittsburgh’s first Complete Streets debut at Hazelwood Green (Complete Streets Watch) –Next Pittsburgh
Hashtag: #VisionZeroWatch and #WaronCarsWatch
- Zero Fatalities Task Force Report: Change the Way Speed Limits Are Set (Vision Zero Watch) –Streetsblog California
- As Los Angeles traffic deaths stay high, officials plead with drivers to stop texting –Los Angeles Times
- San Francisco PD finds drivers to blame for majority of pedestrian deaths in 2019 (Vision Zero Watch) –San Francisco Examiner
- New Haven Vision Zero Watch: “Transity Equity” Pushed –New Haven Independent
- Florida DOT proposes speed limit drop on A1A in Satellite Beach and other nearby towns for pedestrian safety concerns (Vision Zero Watch) –Click Orlando
- Vision Zero Watch: Inaction after tragic crashes is unacceptable — Chicago needs a Rapid Response Team (Opinion) –Streetsblog Chicago
- Charlotte pedestrian deaths continue at record pace, despite more sidewalks, crossings –Charlotte Observer
- NYPD creating 100-person unit to crack down on cyclist, pedestrian deaths (Vision Zero Watch) –NY Post
- NYC Streetsblog Viewpoint: We Don’t Need New NYPD ‘Vision Zero Unit’ — We Need Safer Streets and Better Trained Cops (Vision Zero Watch) –Streetsblog NYC
- Seattle data: Most pedestrian crashes from cars turning at intersections (Vision Zero Watch) –MyNorthwest.com
Check out the NMA Facebook Page called the War on Cars Watch! If you are interested in joining the closed group, follow the directions on the page. If you would like to know more about the National Motorists Association, check out our website at motorists.org. Also, if you would like to contact the NMA with a question or a link to an article about this topic or have a video of a road diet in your neck of the woods, feel free to contact us via email at email@example.com.
Keep the US Moving is a grassroots organization dedicated to publicizing the detrimental effects of arterials road diets. We connect people who want to share experiences and information in order to help their communities craft truly safer roads. KUSM has a very active and closed Facebook group. Connect with them at KeepTheUSMoving@gmail.com and find additional information on their website at https://www.keeptheusmoving.com/.
Check out the video presentations from the October 5th Keep LA Moving Conference:
Here are a few NMA Blog Posts that might interest you:
Road Diets and Traffic Calming
- All Traffic is Local: A Look at Force-Fed Road Diets
- The Problem with Road Diets
- 10 Reasons to Fight against Road Diets in your Community
Vision Zero and Complete Streets
- Vision Zero Invasion of the Car Itself
- Do Vision Zero Programs equal more Traffic Accidents?: NMA E-Newsletter #559
- Level of Service: Measuring Traffic Congestion
- Transportation Engineers Debate Vision Zero, Part 1: NMA E-Newsletter #563
- Transportation Engineers Debate Vision Zero, Part 2: NMA E-Newsletter #564
- An Appropriate Balance for Whom?: NMA E-Newsletter #552