War on Cars Watch for February 6, 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!

Since the Watch was on vacation the Holiday Season the dates for this blog are from January 31–February 5, 2019.

Here are some National News Headlines concerning the War on Cars:

New leadership in the Congressional Transportation Committees are talking about a national vehicles miles tax possibility…especially for trucks: Truckers Could Be Focus of Vehicle-Miles Traveled Tax Proposals in the US Congress

The NTSB came out this week on their biannual recommendations for Congress:

  • NTSB recommends collision avoidance, speed limiters, more in biannual Most Wanted list
  • NTSB calls on Congress to make collision-avoidance tech mandatory for new vehicles

The Nation stuck their foot into the commuting debate with this rant: In an Unequal America, Getting to Work Can Be Hell

Curbed.com and USA Streetsblog both had their say on supporting congestion pricing…Ugh!

  • Congestion pricing is the only way to fix our broken transportation system (War on Cars Watch)
  • Congestion Pricing, Often Attacked as Inequitable, Is Actually the Cure for Inequitable Transportation (War on Cars Watch)

About time: US Supreme Court to weigh in on civil asset forfeiture

Our friend Joe Cadillic at the MassPrivatel Blog got this piece posted to ZeroHedge.com:  Appeals Court: Police Don’t Need a Reason to Place Americans on ‘Suspicious Person’ List

Why does this title sound so ridiculous: Little Vehicles (including E-Scooters) Can Help Heal Car-Centric Cities (War on Cars Watch). Here is another silly post about scooters:  After ‘The Year of the Scooter,’ The Micromobility Movement is Part Revolution and Part Gold Rush.

Streetsblog USA complains again about Ridesharing: All the Bad Things about Uber and Lyft in One Simple List 

AAA actually has a good idea here: The names car companies use to describe their high-tech features sound like gibberish

Arizona

El Mirage, AZ fixes driving records of those wrongly cited in illegal speed trap

California

Statewide

  • A 20-cent ‘mystery surcharge’ on gas? California lawmakers ask AG to find out why
  • California Holds Off on $40M for DMV Fixes, Real ID Processing
  • Election officials said DMV wasn’t ready to launch Motor Voter. California went ahead anyway
  • Keep Los Angeles Moving begins to push national agenda and Streetsblog California does not like it! (War on Cars Watch)
  • ‘Complete Streets’ spreading in California (War on Cars Watch)
  • SB 100 Is Moving Cities in California Toward Zero-Emissions Futures

Counties

  • Orange County, California Plans a Four-Mile Parking-Protected Bike Lane (War on Cars Watch)
  • California: Stanislaus County to Use Active Transportation Program (Road Diets) to Improve a Neglected Neighborhood

Cities

  • Costa Mesa, CA officials and residents discuss new bike lanes, crossing, path and sidewalk planned for Merrimac Way project
  • Fremont, CA spending $1 million on bikeway improvements, narrowing traffic lanes (War on Cars Watch)
  • Over Half of Los Angeles PD Gang Unit’s Searches during Traffic Stops Were Potentially Unconstitutional: Inspector General
  • San Diego: Why your downtown apartment might no longer come with a parking spot
  • Mobility report shows bike trips on the decline in San Francisco (Vision Zero Watch)
  • Cars still hold No. 1 spot for getting around in San Francisco— and it’s getting worse (War on Cars Watch)
  • California: Solvang bike lane project put on hold due to costs
  • UCLA: Popularity of brief Uber, Lyft rides on campus raises environmental concerns

Court Cases

  • ‘I’m the boss’: Lawsuit alleges California HP officer choked suspect twice after traffic stop

Colorado

  • A local Boulder newspaper columnist jumped in on the Whoopi Goldberg bike lane story…an excellent read.
  • Two bills concerning traffic lights in the Colorado legislature. The first one wants to push a yellow light between red and then green. The second is a bill that would ban Red-Light Cameras in the state.

Hawaii

  • Honolulu Mayor wants lawmakers to ban right on red in the name of safety.

Massachusetts

  • Carbon Free Boston panel pushes $5 charge for cars on city streets

Maryland

  • Despite outcry, the Baltimore, MD DOT still seeks to vastly trim spending, plans for bike infrastructure
  • 15 MPH Speed Limit for Some Residential Streets in Montgomery County under Review

Mississippi

Seems the state is working against civil asset forfeiture reform!

  • Effort underway to expand law enforcement’s authority to seize property in Mississippi
  • Mississippi Editorial: Asset forfeiture bill is bad for state
  • Mississippi: Law Enforcement civil administrative forfeiture bill has conservatives on both sides

North Dakota

  • Working group appointed for bill (HB1286) on North Dakota civil asset forfeiture reform
  • AAA cautions N.D. lawmakers on Increasing Speed Limits (HB 1264) (War on Cars Watch)

Ohio

  • Speed traps: What to do if you get a ticket in Ohio (oos Mention)

South Carolina

Big series on Civil Asset Forfeiture in SC—hopefully the conclusions of this journalistic investigation will push reform in the state.

  • South Carolina Police Hauled in $17 Million through Civil Asset Forfeiture Over Three Years
  • South Carolina Police Have Seized $11 Million from Black Men over the Last Three Years, New Report Says
  • South Carolina Cops Love Asset Forfeiture So Much They Take Cash from Crime Victims
  • Got the receipt? It could be key to recovering items seized by South Carolina cops
  • 5 things we learned from the civil forfeiture investigation
  • Inside look: How South Carolina cops swarm I-85 and I-26, looking for ‘bad guys’
  • And our favorite: South Carolina cops defend keeping cash they seize: ‘What’s the incentive’ otherwise?

Tennessee

  • Tennessee Bills Would Effectively End Federal Asset Forfeiture Program in the State (HB 340 & SB 362)
  • New push to reduce speed limits in residential neighborhoods across Nashville

Texas

  • Texas: Study Looks At How to Make Houston’s Intersections Safer for Pedestrians and Cyclists
  • Laredo, TX City Council discusses alternative transportation initiatives (Vision Zero Watch)

Utah

  • Utah Moving Forward on ‘Idaho Stop’ for Cyclists (HB 161)

Virginia

  • Alexandria, Virginia: Duke and Van Dorn Streets to Get Makeovers with road diets

Washington State

  • Car-tab fees, new transportation package on Washington state lawmakers’ agenda
  • There’s an effort in Olympia to stop congestion pricing (SB 5104), road usage charge (SB 5255)
  • Seattle Tosses Out the Rulebook to Protect Pedestrians

Headlines from around the World with a War on Cars Watch Focus

Editor’s Note: The oos does not condone violence of any kind to protest traffic issues.

Canada

  • A rather odd story but still seems a bit of a war on cars: A Mysterious Force is Blocking Car Key Fobs in This Small Canadian Town

France

  • Bill targeting ‘yellow vest’ ‘hooligans’ ignites French freedom debate
  • French President Macron Tries to Take Steam out Of Yellow Vest Protests with Debates (radio report)

Germany

  • German auto industry lobby vows to fight ‘crusade’ against the car
  • Germany rejects autobahn speed limit
  • Yellow Vests hit German streets in pro-diesel protests

Spain

  • Spain Deploys Drones for Traffic Enforcement
  • Spain slows speed limits on nation’s roads

United Kingdom

  • Alliance of British Drivers Whitepaper: An Effective Approach to Attainment of Vision Zero (Vision Zero Watch) 

This week’s Commentary from Oostwestthuisbest Base Executive Director James C. Walker

VMT taxes for any vehicles need to be opposed, whether voluntary or mandatory. Once the double-dip with fuel taxes and the fortunes to be made for the vendors are in place, they will be VERY hard to retract.

Truck speed limiters and differential truck speed limits are both anti-safety and should not be allowed.

Similarly, congestion pricing needs to be opposed because it is too regressive for lower income workers who have fixed work hours requiring travel during rush hour times.

When Road Diets remove two lanes of traffic on busy collectors and arterials to create bike lanes, it WILL create congestion at peak hours and likely cause diversion of some drivers to less safe smaller streets. Proponents’ claims to the contrary are almost always false. Look for the proliferation of scooters to increase the demand for more bike lanes.

Uber & Lyft are creating more congestion in many places and IF they ever come, so will autonomous vehicles. It is a LOT more pleasant to take an Uber ride than a bike ride in rain, cold or extreme heat.

Colorado, like Florida and Texas will try again to ban red-light cameras. Success requires not to have a few legislators block the bills from getting out of committees to the flow where they will likely pass.

15 mph speed limits on most US residential streets built for 25 or 30 is utter nonsense.

Bills to limit civil forfeiture are gaining support in several states.  We support this trend strongly.

Fight speed trap tickets in Ohio – and everywhere else – to make the rackets unprofitable.

AAA falsely claims to support proper speed limits, but in reality supports the lowest possible numbers painted on the signs to enable for-profit speed traps and unfair insurance premium surcharges to safe drivers to increase AAA profits. Fifty years ago, AAA was the friend of the motorist, but that stance died with the enormous growth of the for-profit speeding ticket industry beginning in the 1970s.

Many countries in Europe promoted the sales of diesel vehicles and kept the fuel cheaper than gasoline with different tax rates. Now many places want to ban or outrageously tax perfectly good condition diesel vehicles that have many more years of useful transportation life left. Rules that retroactively punish people for buying diesels that the governments promoted are simply wrong.

Spain, like France, wants to drastically increase revenues from under-posted speed traps which target mostly safe drivers. Using drones will make this money grab truly vicious.

Do read the British article from our counterparts in the Alliance of British Drivers.  They have the same issue in the UK.

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