War on Cars Watch for February 27, 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 oos’s War on Cars Watch Facebook Page where we feature a story a day!

Italicized comments throughout the Watch comes from oos Member Michael Jabbra (marked with an MJ) and please read the final comment from James C. Walker, oos Base Executive Director.

Here are the national stories from February 20-26, 2019

  • US Supreme Court Overturns Land Rover Seizure As Excessive – Now, the court will eventually have to decide what is considered an excessive fee…This is still good news though!
  • US Senate Lawmakers seek greater safeguards for keyless ignitions
  • FHWA awards grants to trial new infrastructure funding options (War on Cars Watch) – options such as Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax which the oos is opposed!
  • States May Forfeit $1 Billion in Biking and Walking Funding (War on Cars Watch) –Maybe the funds instead should be turned over to help cities and counties maintain roads!
  • Close Enough: Police departments using “reverse location search warrants” to force Google to hand over data on anyone near a crime scene – this just seems wrong…to do a blanket search warrant for everyone in the area at the time of the crime…this is not what we signed up when we use Google Maps or anything else Google.

(MJ) Folks, there are alternatives to Google Maps – such as paper maps. No IP address, no radio emissions – no tracking by government or advertisers!

  • The war over Vision Zero and road diets is only getting started (War on Cars Watch) –Interesting editorial!
  • Automated Driving Systems Aren’t Ready to Save Pedestrians: Safety Group (Complete Streets Watch) –No, they are not and auto tech should never be considered ready. Drivers and pedestrians should be responsible for safety…period!

(MJ) I work as a first-level helpdesk technician. My coworkers and I get lots of calls every day because a computer did something that it wasn’t supposed to do, or failed to do something that it should have done. At least those computers aren’t controlling vehicles. Computers are machines. They can fail, just like any other machine.  That’s why I have no use for the half-baked notion that computers will magically usher in an era of no pedestrian or driver deaths. Remember, safety is just a Trojan horse for control.

  • Why US cities are becoming more dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians (Vision Zero Watch) –Vision Zero is a completely unsustainable traffic safety program…
  • Viewpoint: How a singular focus on speed leads state DOTs to overspend and overbuild (War on Cars Watch) — Another scree from Smart Growth America!
  • The urban design problem that’s killing pedestrians and cyclists (War on Cars Watch) –let’s face it—most streets were designed for cars…if that is the urban design problem…well, what do they want—all the streets traffic calmed so poorly that cars can no longer safely go through…Yep…that’s what they want!
  • Another “editorial” or anti-car propaganda in the Chicago Tribune: When cities invest in bike infrastructure, minority areas usually end up neglected (War on Cars Watch)


European Transport Safety Council says in-vehicle technology vital to control speeding in Europe –Trucks already have this—Will cars be next?

How will driverless cars, more ride-sharing and more integrated transport systems alter our journeys? (War on Cars Watch) This is from the BBC…Ouch! Our question—who says this is all inevitable?


  • Viewpoint: Parking Spaces Would Comprise 10% of Phoenix, AZ (War on Cars Watch)


  • Opinion: Bullet trains? Monorails? An end to speed limits? California’s transportation future is going to be a wild ride
  • New interactive Kern County website puts street safety data at your fingertips (War on Cars Watch)
  • Opposition to closing 710 freeway stub at special Alhambra City Council Meeting
  • Los Angeles may tax on Uber and Lyft to curb traffic congestion

(MJ) They’d like to tax everyone else who drives too, but even the most dimwitted Los Angeles politicians know that this will not go over well. On the other hand, these days it’s chic to beat up on Uber and Lyft and other ride-sharing services. It’s all about the polls and looking cute on social media.

  • After decades of suburban sprawl, San Diego eyes big shift to dense development
  • San Diego will study possible pedestrian/bike bridge over I-5 connecting new trolley line to beaches: Cost Possibly $20M
  • High-speed police chases often kill innocents. Here’s how San Pablo, CA PD is making them safer by the use of GPS trackers

(MJ) This is a clever way to avoid civilian and law enforcement casualties caused by high speed chases. Let us hope, however, that this does not become used more casually for more mundane traffic or other violations.

  • Verra Mobility and Hertz Settle Toll Road Lawsuit

No Speed Limit Bill Reaction

  • ‘Probably safer’: What it was like when states had no speed limits
  • Locals have mixed reviews on bill that could eliminate speed limit on I-5, Hwy 99
  • California’s own Autobahn? Valley reps have mixed reaction to no speed limit on Highway 99 (SB319)
  • Would Building Speed-Limit-Free Highway Lanes Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions?
  • Viewpoint: Proposal for No-Speed-Limit Highway Widening Is Partisan Trolling (War on Cars Watch) –This viewpoint is from Streetsblog LA and it is a total whine fest. Not everyone agrees with Streetsblog…don’t you guys and gals get that?


  • Colorado: Bike lanes controversy draws impassioned crowd to downtown Colorado Springs forum
  • Breaking Down Mediocre Report Card on Denver’s Bid to Lower Traffic Deaths (Vision Zero Watch)
  • Denver Paved Over Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot (War on Cars Watch)
  • Traffic jams plague trips to Colorado ski resorts

District of Columbia

  • Mobility as a Free Service? DC could subsidize Lyft, Uber rides when subway is closed at night
  • DC Editorial: Buses are a better substitute for late night rail than subsidized ride-hail trips
  • D.C. moves to keep cars, including Ubers and delivery trucks, out of bike lanes (Vision Zero Watch)
  • Self-Driving Vehicles Could Worsen Inequity in the DC Area—Unless We Act Now


  • Pinellas County, Florida transportation safety group hope to reduce fatal crashes by 17% (Complete Streets Watch)
  • Another opposing road diet group has formed: Citizens groups forms in St. Petersburg, Florida to fight losing traffic lanes


  • Atlanta, GA works to rid off-street parking spaces for new development (War on Cars Watch)


  • Honolulu Mayor unveils pedestrian safety measures


  • Bicyclists Press Maryland Lawmakers for Share of the Road and Share of the Pie


  • Report recommends Congestion Pricing in Boston


  • Missouri: Columbia PD and community collaborate on addressing vehicle stop reports, racial disparity

North Dakota

  • North Dakota State House Passes Major Rights-Supporting Bill—Outlawing DUI Checkpoints (HB1442)

(MJ) Good job! Impaired drivers should be stopped, but DUI checkpoints are just fishing expeditions that tie up traffic and hassle innocent drivers. 

New York

  • NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio pushes the revised Borough Pedestrian Safety Plans (Vision Zero Watch)
  • New York City expands Vision Zero program across most dangerous streets (Vision Zero Watch)
  • New York: AARP Backs NYC Congestion Pricing — Defying Pols Who Claim Seniors Would be Hurt By Tolls
  • Free Parking: Is it the Secret Ingredient in NYC’s Traffic Problem? (War on Cars Watch)
  • NYC Editorial: The Assembly and Senate leaders must lead on congestion pricing (Must Lead not to Pass it!)


  • Ohio DOT wants permission to adjust speed limits (Variable Speed Limits) depending on weather, traffic


  • Oklahoma bill (SB648) to up speed limits on turnpikes, rural highways clears Senate committee


  • Texas representative proposes bill HB436 to end tolls on toll roads
  • Texas: Gainesville Police Chief presents racial profiling report to the City Council–a year after the Sandra Bland Act has gone into effect
  • Midland County, Texas: Report: 57 percent of drivers stopped by Police were Hispanic


Yikes!: Richmond, VA: Traffic ‘hit and runs’ along Franklin Street bike lane stretch up by nearly 78 percent


  • Wisconsin Millennials are shifting away from cars; does this justify less spending on Roadways? (War on Cars Watch)

Weekly Commentary from oos Base Executive Director James C. Walker

The Supreme Court decision about the seizure of the Land Rover as excessive got very wide press coverage around the country.  I often posted this comment on articles: 

Civil forfeiture without a conviction for a related crime is theft.  PERIOD! All the officials involved should be prosecuted for larceny with resulting jail sentences if convicted. 

This must become the law in every state to end the abusive thefts from those not convicted of crimes.
James C. Walker, Oostwestthuisbest

It has been true for some time that having a cell phone turned on creates a track of your travels. More recently, authorities have discovered new ways to force commercial entities to turn over those records. Personal privacy is under attack faster than opposition can mount defenses, and this might change how some people use their electronic devices – including synching them with the car electronics.

The bike lobby is very powerful, even in the face of declining bike use for commuting in many cities. It is important to fight the theft of car lanes to create bike lanes – the user proportions almost never justify the changes.

www.streetsblog.org runs some of the most anti-car articles and editorials that you could imagine. If your blood pressure is under control and you have time, you might join some other oos members who make comments to show the other sides of many issues. You don’t have to identify yourself as a member.

There is a proposal in California for two freeway lanes with no posted speed limits. That is unlikely to happen, but they COULD post 85th percentile speed limits that would accomplish the same goals of moving more commuters faster and safer.

North Dakota might join several other states that ban warrantless police roadblocks on fishing expeditions to find a tiny percentage of drivers who have actually done something wrong.

Congestion pricing is discriminatory and regressive. We should always fight those proposals.

Variable speed limits as advisories can be helpful if the algorithms are good. As enforceable limits they are often used as speed traps.

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