Self-Driving Cars Will Save Us – Says The Auto Industry

OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH CARS IS KILLING US

Car dependency is an addiction. It’s killing us and killing the planet. It’s a human health epidemic environmentally and physically.

We’ve been enslaved by cars since the titans of the auto industry figured out just like drug dealers that they could sell millions of vehicles with the promise of freedom, happiness, power, and personal identity. Suburbs were designed so that we have to drive everywhere, and a house with a one car garage led to the dream of a two-car garage, bigger and badder vehicles, and toxic car ads like this that appeal to many Americans

When the Surgeon General’s report came out in 1964, tobacco companies needed to figure out how to promote “safe” smoking, knowing that it was impossible. (They’re still trying with vaping.) The auto industry is doing the same thing, promoting vehicles with the promise that AI technology will bring about safe driving, knowing it’s impossible anywhere in the near future. The industry keeps looking for ways to convince us that car dependency can work, and that driving is a human need and a human right.

In the conclusion of this interview the Peter Norton, author of Autonorama. The Illusory Promise of High-Tech Driving,  says,

““How can we free ourselves from car dependency?” That doesn’t mean freeing ourselves from all cars all the time. It’s freeing ourselves from a world where if you don’t have a car you’re doomed, because you can’t get to work.

The accommodation of car dependency is the perpetuation of car dependency. That statement applies to high-tech car dependency every bit as much as it does to conventional car dependency.”

The Dangerous Promise of the Self-Driving Car

In his new book, historian Peter Norton punctures the claims of autonomous vehicle companies and warns that technology can’t cure the urban problems that cars created.

Bloomberg CityLab’s David Zipper recently spoke with the author about the allure of autonomy and the battle to break America’s car habit.

“If we could go back to the 1990s and hear Purdue Pharma talk about OxyContin solving everyone’s problems, we’d be in righteous wrath. We’ve fallen for it with opioids; we don’t have to fall for it with autonomous vehicles.”

In your book you also compare autonomous vehicle research to health research funded by tobacco companies in the 1950s. Are you suggesting that autonomous vehicle companies know that their products will damage society, but still insist on going forward?

“Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Although to say that the autonomous vehicle companies “know it” might be a little unfair, because they really don’t care. They’re trying to get ahead in an intensely competitive environment, and the company that cares about reality is going to be the loser, because it will limit its deployment.”

Scooters Transform The City

Human sized vehicles — “you don’t need to put out an S.U.V.’s worth of carbon emissions just to go to work”.

The NYTimes has published a story today about e-scooters in NYC, a micro-mobility option that’s booming in cities all over the US. What is the point of the article?

There’s a continuing problem with journalism like this, implying that any form of personal transportation other than cars is a serious safety concern. The article enumerates 20 e-mobility fatalities in New York City without any context – how many were caused by drivers – and does not mention the record breaking number of traffic fatalities in 2021, a “crisis” of 124 deaths in NYC so far this year.

Asbury Park has seen a surge in e-scooter use since the LINK scooter launch in April, 2021. We hear complaints from non-users that they’re dangerous because people are breaking the rules (true), because streets are dangerous (true), or that there’s too much traffic (also true). All of those same complaints can be leveled at drivers who were involved in 40 thousand traffic fatalities last year, and the number is rising. Cities will be truly safe when we are able to reduce or eliminate car dependency. 

Even the caption under this photo in the article is a not-so-subtle indictment against micro-mobility, focusing on the exceptions rather than the majority of compliant micro-mobility users: “Electric unicycles are among the electric devices that are illegal.

Let’s focus on the positive:

“Electric bikes, scooters and other devices are in many cases made for urban life because they are affordable, better for the environment, take up little, if any, street space for parking and are just fun to use, said Sarah M. Kaufman, the associate director of the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at New York University.

“In cities, many people understand there is a right-size vehicle for getting around — and that’s human size — you don’t need to put out an S.U.V.’s worth of carbon emissions just to go to work,” she said.

Across the nation, cities have increasingly embraced electric bikes and scooters as a way to get more people out of cars and fill the gap in urban transportation systems for trips that are too far to walk but too close for the subway or bus, according to transportation officials and experts.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asbury Park Greenfest And Porchfest

What an amazing day!

A great event yesterday at #asburyparkgreenfest  in Springwood Park simultaneously with  @asburyparkporchfest. 

Spreading the word about safe, equitable access for everyone in Asbury Park, especially the most vulnerable. Great to be next to the Quality Of Life table, spend some time with our Mayor John Moor, and talk with the guys at @linkbysuperpedes .

The day kicked off with tunes from the awesome @bryanhansenband 

#asburyparkcompletestreetscoalition trian #safestreetsforall #equitableaccess

Check it out!

Apcsc Greenfest pano

GREAT NEWS FOR PEOPLE WALKING AND BIKING!

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition has advocated for this law along with NJ Bike & Walk Coalition, The Tri State Transportation Campaign, The Bicycle Coalition Of Greater Philadelphia, and TEAM4 the NJ Safe Passing Law.

Drivers must now move over when passing people walking and on bikes!

Updated Aug 06, 2021; Posted Aug 05, 2021

By Larry Higgs | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

A long-sought goal of advocates finally happened Thursday when Gov. Phil Murphy signed the state’s first law requiring drivers to safely pass people on bikes, scooters and pedestrians who are using the roads.

Murphy signed the law Thursday, that allows New Jersey to catch up to 42 other states and other counties that have safe passing laws intended to reduce collisions between cars and other road users. The bill had been passed by a 34-to-1 vote of the state Senate on June 30.

Passage of the bill caps over 10 years of advocacy led by the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the grassroots TEAM4 the NJ Safe Passing Law, advocates said.

 

This is how it looks and feels to a person on a bike and for a driver.

Read more about it.

Debra Kagan, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition Executive Director: “We want to thank the Governor and legislators for passing this groundbreaking law, and the many advocates and volunteers who worked so hard for so many years to make this possible.”

 

NJ may soon become the 43rd state to enact a Safe Passing Law!

Safe Passing Bill and Safe Sharing One Step Closer for New Jersey Thanks to NJBWC and Advocacy Partners!

Tell Gov. Murphy To Sign The Safe Passing Law!

CALL @GovMurphy at 609-292-6000 or send an email at constituent.relations@nj.gov and tell him to sign the bill into law!

An advocacy story for the records, the campaign evolved from a simple 3-foot bill for bicyclists in 2009 to a move-over/4-foot bill for bike riders, pedestrians and other “vulnerable road users” in 2014. In 2021, the bill now addresses both the speed and distance at which a vehicle can pass other road users.
A package of bills — A5570, A5571, A5579, A5656 — approved by the Legislature and sent to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk would require drivers to change into another lane or leave at least 4 feet between their vehicle and the person they’re passing.”
 
“A retired police officer told a state Senate committee Thursday why he believes a law is needed to tell drivers how to safely pass people riding bikes, scooters and skateboards in the street — he’s had more close calls riding a bike than in decades in law enforcement.”
 
If you encounter a paywall with NJ.com check out this article from Atlantic City:
 
“Motor vehicles have been made much safer for their drivers and passengers. But in the past decade, those motor vehicles and their drivers have killed substantially more people on foot and riding bicycles. Every year, the death toll rises higher.”

Cities Must Become Car-Free To Survive

The auto industry has co-opted our brains with snazzy advertising, unrealistic settings where drivers own the road, selling us cars with the idea that our very identity is tied to the vehicle we drive. In this car-dominated culture people defend their entitlement to drive even when the lives of vulnerable road users are at stake. Car production now outpaces population growth globally, spewing pollution, and destroying the environment and human health in general.

City streets are car sewers, but residents of cities are incensed about lack of parking, and whether bicycle riders should be permitted on sidewalks, boardwalks, or the street itself.  The small amount of space allowed for bikes (and other micro-mobility) has become the most hotly contested parts of urban infrastructure. One of the greatest successes in automotive brainwashing influence has been the antagonistic relationship of people walking against people riding bikes and scooters, taking the focus off the responsibility of drivers causing over 40 thousand deaths a year in the US alone.

We believe that in American cities, especially small cities like Asbury Park we can gradually reduce and eventually eliminate the need for personal vehicles by supporting alternative transportation options like micro-mobility (scooters, bikes, skateboards etc), and transit in the form of jitneys, pedicabs, and busses.

While we continue to build more infrastructure for people to get around without cars, we need to create more live-able spaces for people to safely gather, to play, to do business, and to move about the city.

#toomanycars #walkablecity #bikeablecity #placesforpeople

CITIES ‘MUST BECOME CAR-FREE TO SURVIVE’

JUNE 23, 2021

The researchers said future  planning must include a focus on reducing dependence on cars, promoting fewer and shorter trips and encouraging walking and cycling as primary modes of local transport. Public transport should be encouraged for longer journeys, the researchers argued, and cars should only be used for emergencies or special occasions.

Lead author Dr. Rafael Prieto Curiel commented: “The city of the future, with millions of people, cannot be constructed around cars and their expensive infrastructure. In a few decades, we will have cities with 40 or 50 million inhabitants, and these could resemble car parks with 40 or 50 million cars. The idea that we need cars comes from a very pollutant industry and very expensive marketing.”

 

NJ Bike & Walk Coalition Summit Sessions Are Ready To View!

In case you were not able to attend the Summit this year, here’s your chance to see these great presentations. Every session offered opportunities to learn ways to make our cities safer, more livable, accessible, and more equitable for everyone.

Friends and supporters will want to check out the session Advocates In Action Part 2: Pandemic And Beyond, presented at the NJBWC Summit on June 5th, which includes two founding members of Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition, Moderator Polli Schildge (http://apcopmpletestreets.org editor), and Pam Lamberton. In this session a panel of nine advocates shared ideas, initiatives, and frustrations.

The panelists gathered materials, graphics, videos, and valuable information for this engaging session of the 2021 Summit. We’re looking forward to continuing these conversations!

 

Check out all of the NJ Bike &Walk & Summit Sessions!

 

Advocates In Action Part 2: Pandemic And Beyond

Bike/ped advocates have long been champions of social equity, accessibility, health, and sustainability. Since the pandemic, people all over the world are finally recognizing what the advocates have known all along – to achieve these values, it is critical to reduce automotive dependency, offer safe and convenient alternatives to driving, and to think differently about how we use our valuable public space.

Using this momentum, we are reimagining our streets, neighborhoods, and business districts as places not just for cars, but for all people. In this session, hear experiences from advocates around NJ followed by the opportunity to ask questions of panelists about how they’ve succeeded – or are still working- to build better places for people.

 

  Polli Schildge, Moderator, Founding Member, Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition
  Anthony Talerico Jr., Mayor of the Borough of Eatontown
John Sullivan, President, Bike & Walk Montclair
.  Kathleen Ebert, Founder, Point Pleasant Borough Complete Streets
Kenny Sorenson, Advocate, Neptune Complete Streets
Lisa Serieyssol, Chair, Princeton Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee
Nancy Blackwood, Chair, Red Bank Environmental Commission/Green Team
Pam Lamberton, Founding Member, Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition
Shaun Ellis, Founding member of Ride Free, a transportation gap project by Free Bridge Mutual Aid
Todd Pagel, Former Councilman, City of Metuchen & President of Bike Walk Metuchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTION! NJ Needs A 4′ Safe Passing Law!

Help us pass the SAFE PASSING LAW!

 

Summer is here, and those of us walking or wheeling – riding bikes or scooters or other wheeled conveyances are at the mercy of drivers who are inattentive, distracted, or aggressive.

Right now, NJ is one of only 8 states without a law telling drivers how to pass us SAFELY.  NJ does have a law about how to pass a horse and rider safely, but none for the rest of us.

Copy and paste the messages below into your email, personalize with your town and your name, and send to New Jersey Senator Stephen M. Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin to urge them to move the NJ Safe Passing Law to Governor Phil Murphy’s desk for signature as we enter the height of the summer season and the increased risks to vulnerable road users.

The state Assembly Law and Public Safety committee ultimately passed the law  by a 6-1 vote. It’ll now proceed to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.

NJBWC will now be leading a campaign to move the bill through the Assembly and onto the floor of the State Legislature.

COPY AND PASTE AND EMAIL:

Senator Stephen M. Sweeney: SenSweeney@njleg.org

Dear Senator Sweeney,
RE: SENATE COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
SENATE, Nos. 2208, 1460, and 1463
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
219th LEGISLATURE
 ADOPTED MAY 20, 2021
As a resident of [town], I write to urge you to post the NJ SAFE PASSING bill for a full vote ASAP.
We’re now in the 100 deadliest days of the year for walkers, wheelers and bicyclists. This law will save lives and prevent serious injuries.
Please help move the bill to the Governor’s desk for signature as we enter the height of the summer season and the increased risks to the thousands of adults and children who will be out walking, running, riding their bicycles, wheeling on scooters and skateboards and sharing NJ roads with drivers of cars and trucks.
This law will make clear to drivers and non-driver users alike the safest way to pass—and share—NJ’s roads. The law will help drivers learn to safely pass us, our families and friends who are out on our busy roads to get to work or school, to shop or dine and to improve their health.
We need your support in making this the year NJ begins to better protect all road users with clear, enforceable guidelines about when—and how—to pass the most vulnerable on our roads by slowing down, moving over if possible and, if not, passing no less than four feet from walkers, wheelers and bicyclists.
[Name, email, town]

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin: asmcoughlin@njleg.org

Dear Speaker Coughlin,
        RE: ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR
ASSEMBLY, Nos. 5570, 5571, and 5656
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
219th LEGISLATURE
 ADOPTED JUNE 2, 2021
As a resident of [town], I write to urge you to post the NJ SAFE PASSING bill for a full vote ASAP.
We’re now in the 100 deadliest days of the year for walkers, wheelers and bicyclists. This law will save lives and prevent serious injuries.
Please help move the bill to the Governor’s desk for signature as we enter the height of the summer season and the increased risks to the thousands of adults and children who will be out walking, running, riding their bicycles, wheeling on scooters and skateboards and sharing NJ roads with drivers of cars and trucks.
This law will make clear to drivers and non-driver users alike the safest way to pass—and share—NJ’s roads. The law will help drivers learn to safely pass us, our families and friends who are out on our busy roads to get to work or school, to shop or dine and to improve their health.
We need your support in making this the year NJ begins to better protect all road users with clear, enforceable guidelines about when—and how—to pass the most vulnerable on our roads by slowing down, moving over if possible and, if not, passing no less than four feet from walkers, wheelers and bicyclists.
[Name, email, town]

Asbury Park Scooter Share

Asbury Park has initiated a new scooter share, and we have great hopes to see it succeed. The purpose of a scooter share and bike share in any city is to reduce car dependency. We have excessive traffic in Asbury Park, especially in the summer months, and parking is at a premium, so for those who might be interested in getting to destinations in the city car-free, a scooter is a great alternative transportation option!

There are rules in place that apply to scooter riding, which are similar to the rules for bike riding. We have a dream of a completely walkable and bikeable, car-free city. While we encourage everyone riding bikes and scootering to adhere to the rules, it may take time for users to feel safe and comfortable riding on streets along with motor vehicles, with only painted stripes between them and multi-ton vehicles. Until we effectively lower traffic speeds and reduce the volume of cars, people riding bikes and scooters are faced with the decision of where they can ride safely.

Currently the users of bike lanes in Asbury Park are not protected from vehicular traffic, and almost every existing bike lane is between traffic and in the “door zone” next to parked cars, which places these vulnerable road users in a position to possibly get hit by a driver door, or have to swerve into traffic. Scooter riders and bike riders are often quite literally invisible to many drivers. Some drivers are distracted or inattentive. And there are some aggressive drivers who are angered at the very sight of other road users.

Walkers often say that they were “almost hit” or are “scared” of riders on the sidewalk. People who ride bikes and scooters are almost literally between a rock and a hard place: whether they are willing to endanger their own lives on the road or whether they might frighten walkers on the sidewalk.  So some riders will be courageous enough to claim the narrow painted strip of asphalt designated for bikes and scooters, but others may feel safer on the sidewalk.

We will have to allow time to get along. While we continue to build infrastructure on our streets to make them safe for people, we can build a cooperative relationship between walkers and riders. Let’s all focus on the real dangers of drivers of motor vehicles, responsible for killing over 40 thousand people a year in the US.

Fewer cars on the roads will save lives, improve human health and the environment. Enabling people to ride bikes and scooters safely will help make Asbury Park a city for people, not for cars.

Link Electric Scooter Sharing Information

Electric Scooter Sharing

Scooter share provides residents, employees, and visitors with an electric foot scooter to rent for a quick errand, a trip to the beach, or a climate-friendly commute. Riders can rent the nearest available scooter, ride it to where they want to go, and leave it responsibly parked for the next person to ride.

The City of Asbury Park has selected LINK powered by Superpedestrian to deploy an electric scooter share program across the entire City starting May 21, 2021. The program includes up to 250 scooters stationed at over 50 designated parking locations around Asbury Park.

In selecting the LINK team to help launch Asbury Park’s e-mobility project, the City is sure to receive quality products and commitment from the experienced e-scooter provider. These scooters will be equipped with front and rear safety lights, a bell and a speed limiter of up to 12mph. They will be available for rent Monday to Sunday from 7am to 9pm for riders 18 years and older.‍

Everything you need to know about scooter riding in Asbury Park

 

Creating a Walking Plaza on Asbury Park’s Ocean Avenue

We have an idea…

Vehicles have taken over our waterfront landscape, and we believe that people can take the space back. One way that people are succeeding in creating places for people on city streets is tactical urbanism.

That’s the message of “The quick way to make pedestrian plazas,” a new video by City Beautiful, a YouTube channel that features the strategies of tactical urbanism for the edification of city planners and livable-streets advocates. It mixes boosterism with some helpful pointers, such as best practices for dealing with Americans With Disability Act requirements and businesses that need freight loading zones.

There was a time in the early years of Asbury Park before cars were prioritized, that our waterfront was for people. Imagine restaurants and cafes, musicians, activities, and people strolling, bicycling and scootering along a car-free Ocean Avenue. Some have cited possible difficulty getting trash pickup and deliveries, and inconvenience to customers if they have to walk to their establishments. We know that businesses thrive all over the world where traffic is eliminated or reduced.

There are a (limited) number parking spaces on our waterfront, causing a continuous flow of vehicles all season with drivers  circling, looking to snag an empty space.  This constant (often torturously slow) movement of vehicles is the definition of traffic. The effect of traffic everywhere is environmentally disastrous, leading to disease, and catastrophic numbers of injuries and deaths yearly to people outside and inside vehicles.

We believe that city leaders get that we need to do something about traffic and we’re working on a solution to create a safe, inviting car-free,  or much more people-centric Ocean Avenue. We’re looking for ideas for jitneys, pedicabs, other ways to get people to their beach destinations. Help us reimagine Asbury’s waterfront. We might also want to consider some tactical urbanism!