UK Wants To Ban American SUVs and Trucks As Too Dangerous

Drivers in the US are attracted to huge SUVs and trucks party because fuel prices are so low, and mostly as a result of the brainwashing effect of the automotive industry advertising the feeling of personal empowerment and freedom.  The industry has slowed or stopped production of less-profitable sedans and focused on bigger vehicles with higher margins, so they sell the truck drug to willing consumers. This article from 2005 from The University of Rochester describes ads for SUVs and trucks triggering an emotional response with the promise of liberation and freedom. The names of vehicles like Ford’s Discovery and Freelander, Subaru’s Forester and Outback, Ford’s Excursion, Expedition and Escape evoke the All-American love of wilderness and exploration.  The names of these giant vehicles conjure up the great American outdoors, while disregarding the negative environmental impact, as described in 2006 in this article from The University of Colorado Center Science and Policy.

The SUV Durango Hellcat is marketed in this ad, driving on a completely empty road in the middle of nowhere,  as a “family” SUV (a family vehicle named Hellcat??), with top speed of 180 mph and 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. The reality is that these are death vehicles operating in our cities and suburbs.

Tall front grills will more likely kill a pedestrian by striking at chest level, or crushing an unseen child, than a sedan, which would strike at leg level.

“Landmark studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, and others have correlated a 50-percent increase in U.S. pedestrian fatalities over eight years to the rising popularity of pick-ups, vans, and sport utility vehicles.”

As a result of these statistics, citing “U.S. vehicle safety standards are much lower than those permitted for vehicles sold in the U.K.”, experts in the United Kingdom are urging their government to ban import of American-made SUVs.

The UK is considering banning American SUVs and Trucks deeming them too dangerous,. Will the US follow suit and eliminate them from American streets? Doubt it.

American SUVs are Too Dangerous for UK Roads, UK Safety Experts Say

New cars in the United Kingdom are required to meet advanced vehicle safety standards that mandate pedestrian detection technology, and, eventually, speed limiters. Meanwhile, U.S. vehicle safety standards only require car manufacturers to meet minimum crash safety standards for people inside vehicles in the event of a collision — and say nothing about vulnerable road users who might be on the other end of a crash.

Read more:  https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/07/22/american-suvs-are-too-dangerous-for-uk-roads-uk-safety-experts-say/

 

 

 

Do It In The Road: Asbury Park ReOPEN and Slow Streets Pilots

Everyone deserves to have safe streets to access work, businesses, and recreation, especially now when we need more space to move about our cities with appropriate social distance without risk of vehicular traffic.

Asbury Park ReOPEN, a pilot which currently runs Thursdays through Monday mornings, is helping businesses to generate revenue with restriction of capacity, mask requirements, distancing, and limited hours. Separately, “Slow Streets” will be set up on various streets in the city, where vehicular traffic will be limited to local only, allowing residents to move about safely on the street playing, bicycling, walking, and rolling without risk from cars and trucks.

Many cities across the US and the world have implemented these measures, including in CATXKY, OHMA, and many more.  Jersey City’s Slow Streets pilot program is 24/7, described here:

Due to the Covid-19 safety measures, the City of Jersey City is working to provide residents additional open space that supports safe physical activity by designating certain streets throughout the City as “Slow Streets”. These streets will be closed to through traffic so that people can more comfortably use them for physically distant walking, wheelchair rolling, jogging, biking and exercising all across the City.

Enjoy the following blog post and photos from a visitor to Asbury Park’s Business District.

Stay tuned for continued adaptations to the program in neighborhoods all over the city, and upcoming implementation and photos from Slow Streets in Asbury Park. We welcome your thoughts and constructive comments.

WESTWORDS

TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2020

Asbury Park Says Be All You Can Be

ReOpen Asbury Park: Cookman Ave Business District.

Restaurant seating set up on the street.

 

A “Streaterie”, in this case resembling a Parklet

 

Businesses selling wares on the street.

The Book Co-Op set up on the sidewalk for passersby to browse.

 

 

 

 

Change Policing Of Our Cities, Starting With Traffic Enforcement

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition supports a reallocation of police resources, specifically of traffic enforcement, and also in calls involving mental illness, homelessness, and other non-criminal issues where other professionals can be of much more effective service.  Since the early 1920’s the often violent consequences of policing traffic has been borne mostly by people of color.  You’ll read below how our roads have become over policed, and how Berkeley, California is “de-copping” traffic enforcement.

To fully understand the history of the policing of American roads, take a listen to this great War On Cars Podcast:

The Automotive Police State

The podcast introduction:

“For a century, the automobile has been sold to Americans as the ultimate freedom machine. In her groundbreaking new book, “Policing the Open Road,” historian and legal scholar Sarah Seo explodes that myth. Seo shows how modern policing evolved in lockstep with the development of the car. And that rather than giving Americans greater freedom, the massive body of traffic law required to facilitate mass motoring helped to establish a kind of automotive police state. Is a car a private, personal space deserving Fourth Amendment protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures?” Or is a car something else entirely? It’s a question that courts have struggled with for decades, ultimately leaving it up to the police to use their own discretion, often with horrifying results, especially for minorities. In this revelatory conversation with TWOC co-host Aaron Naparstek, Seo offers an entirely new way of looking at the impact of the automobile on American life, law and culture.”

 

Read the excerpt in The Boston Review, Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom by Sarah A. Seo:

How Cars Transformed Policing

“The overpolicing of cars is a fact of life for people of color in the United States.”

“In their book In Context: Understanding Police Killings of Unarmed Citizens, scholars Nick Selby, Ben Singleton, and Ed Flosi concluded, “No form of direct government control comes close to [traffic] stops in sheer numbers, frequency, proportion of the population affected, and in many instances, the degree of coercive intrusion.”

 

To learn about Berkeley, CA becoming the “first in the United States to take police officers out of traffic enforcement, read this  Streetsblog USA article:

Berkeley To Become the First US City To De-Cop Traffic Enforcement

“Racism in street safety law enforcement, of course, is not unique to Berkeley — and some street safety advocates hope that their own cities will consider similar proposals.”

Click here to read more.

 

A City Without Cars – Could Asbury Park Do It?

This NYTIMES article, filled with great graphics and data has evoked many responses from readers, and inspired other opinion pieces like this from StreetsBlog.

What are your thoughts about minimizing or eliminating automobiles in Asbury Park? How do you envision our city in 2 years, 5 years, or 10?  We know that real estate has been strong, even during the pandemic, and gradually we will see more condos built on iStar’s lots, meaning more people, and undoubtedly more cars, unless we start now to mitigate car use and parking availability.  Within the past couple of weeks traffic we’ve seen traffic escalate back to pre pandemic congestion in the business district and waterfront. Drivers are speeding in every neighborhood in the city.

APCSC believes in a walkable, bikeable, livable Asbury Park where everyone, especially the most vulnerable can access every part of the city without the dangers associated with motor vehicles.

Read on…

I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing

Why do American cities waste so much space on cars?

By 

NYT Opinion Columnist July 9, 2020

“Automobiles are not just dangerous and bad for the environment; they are also profoundly wasteful of the land around us, taking up way too much physical space to transport too few people. It’s geometry.

In most American cities, wherever you look, you will see a landscape constructed primarily for the movement and storage of automobiles, not for the enjoyment of people: endless wide boulevards and freeways for cars to move swiftly; each road lined with parking spaces for cars at rest; retail establishments ringed with spots for cars…”

What does it take to move 50 people?

 

50 cars: 55 square feet per person.

One bus: 9 square feet per person

50 bicycles: 15 square feet per person

Read it here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/09/opinion/sunday/ban-cars-manhattan-cities.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

Bicycles and Gentrification

It’s a critical time to address how bicycling and biking infrastructure impact People Of Color in Asbury Park. Everyone deserves safe access through neighborhoods, and many people in the city ride bikes and walk as their main ways of getting around. So while we need to continue to create safe ways for people to move about the city, we also need to address the fear that the correlation of bike lanes and gentrification will lead to displacement . The city is currently following the Plan for Walking and Biking, created in 2018, gradually adding bike lanes, sidewalks, and intersection bump outs, and it is critical that we engage now and listen to how this infrastructure affects People Of Color in our city, and seek to mitigate negative impacts.

Girl cycles behind people on the street in San Francisco, California. Locals ride the closed streets once a month on a Sunday., Image: 98680003, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: , Model Release: no, Credit line: Adam Gasson / Alamy / Profimedia

John G. Stehlin’s 2019 book “Cyclescapes of the Unequal City: A Look at Bicycles and Gentrification” strikes home for us as advocates at Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition: “While advocates envision a more sustainable city for all, the deployment of bicycle infrastructure within the framework of the neoliberal city in many ways intensifies divisions along lines of race, class, and space.”

While we continue to advocate for biking, and we’re putting in bicycle lanes and other infrastructure to make Asbury Park a more vibrant and livable city, we may have also played an unwitting role in the gentrification of our city. Listen to the excellent interview with Stehlin here.

Tamika Butler writes:

Why We Must Talk About Race When We Talk About Bikes

SYSTEMIC RACISM CAN’T BE FIXED WITHOUT TACKLING IT WITHIN CYCLING.

“We can celebrate what bicycling should truly be about—the power to be free and move freely.” “Bicycling cannot solve systemic racism in the United States. But systemic racism can’t be fixed without tackling it within bicycling. With the rise of bicycling during this global health pandemic, this is the moment to educate…”

 

 

 

 

 

What Is A Livable Community?

Asbury Park Complete streets Coalition advocates for a city that provides equitable access for everyone, especially the most vulnerable.

This webinar (see the video below) addresses:

  • the overall benefits of creating places that are equitable, walkable and transit-oriented
  • how zoning and other policy interventions affect the form, development and diversity of the built environment
  • creative ways for providing and sustaining transit services in diverse communities
  • first- and last-mile access to public transportation
  • opportunity zones and the funding and financing opportunities that are available for equitable development projects and activities through public and private programs and partnerships
  • how to build political will for equitable transit-oriented development

Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

Watch a video webinar presented by Smart Growth America

An illustration shows that equality is giving the same bicycle to each person. Equity is giving each person a bicycle that’s suitable to their size and ability.

AARP LIVABLE COMMUNITIES

“When we think about community development, transportation investments, as well as community engagement, too often the conversation is around how we take one specific policy and apply it to all communities and diverse populations,” Christopher Coes explains in this training webinar, hosted by AARP Livable Communities.

That is done, he adds, “without truly understanding how those populations, whether vulnerable or senior citizens, have their own unique challenges and require specific resources for them to be successful.”

In the equity space, land use decisions and transportation investments need to, Coes notes, “be applicable to all citizens where they are.”

Equity In Urbanism Is A Matter Of Life And Death

We have much to learn as we work to create a city for people, by taking antiracist action in the built environment.  We must:

  1. Acknowledge that equity is a matter of life and death — not an “add-on”.
  2. Center Black communities in transportation planning.
  3. Honor Black anger.

‘Centering Equity is a Matter of Life and Death’: Responding to Anti-Black Racism in Urbanism

 

Five visionary leaders shared their wisdom on how to take antiracist action in the built environment professions. Here are a few of the highlights for Streetsblog readers.

 

For the video:

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2020/06/24/centering-equity-is-a-matter-of-life-and-death-responding-to-anti-black-racism-in-urbanism/

The Bicycle Is An Emblem Of Freedom And A Vehicle Of Protest

The bicycle has been an active player in social justice activism for decades, and the inequity in the treatment of people riding bikes has been documented through history. Adolf Hitler’s in 1933 criminalized cycling unions. In 1989 demonstrators in China poured into Tiananmen Square on bicycles, and then flattened frames and wheels were left behind after tanks moved in.

During Black Lives Matter protests bikes are being confiscated. When a curfew is enforced people walking and on bikes are targeted, while people in cars are permitted to drive. A disturbing recent twist has emerged, and as advocates for police on bikes in Asbury Park, we are horrified by images of bicycles being used by police in some cities as weapons against protesters.

As APCSC continues to advocate for safe bicycling infrastructure, we know that a rise in real estate values often accompanies biking and walking improvements. Although it is not causal, there is a reluctance on the part of residents to embrace bicycling and walking improvements for fear of gentrification.  We must be energized to address affordable housing and retain residents while creating safe environment for people to move about the city. There are millions of every day bike riders and walkers – people who don’t own cars – who deserve better, equitable access to jobs and school. “Invisible riders” is a term describing the marginalization of black, brown, female, and working-class cyclists, illustrating that t

freedom of movement for everyone.

 

Asbury Park ReOPEN Plan

ASBURY PARK OPENS STREETS FOR PEOPLE…Let’s do it every day.

Polli Schildge, Editor, June 16th, 2020

In a bold move Asbury Park showed support for restaurants by passing a resolution at last week’s council meeting to “permit restaurants to host diners inside at 25% of the building’s capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer”. This was an interpretation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 152 and Executive Order No. 150, allowing establishments to open with limited capacity indoors.

The city backed off as reported in ABC6 Philadelphia, after the state sued on Friday and a judge issued an order temporarily blocking the town’s attempt to allow indoor dining. “Mayor John Moor and the council released a statement Friday evening recommending that restaurants not serve diners indoors”, and as described in The Patch, Asbury Park is providing space for businesses and restaurants to operate outdoors starting on Monday, June 15th.

To provide space for people to walk and dine safely, the City Council has announced ReOPEN Asbury Park : Business & Community Recovery Strategy Plan. Streets in the business district and other select streets will be open for walking, dining, bicycling, and other recreation from Thursday through Sunday.

Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition applauds the city in this forward-thinking approach to providing space for people to move through the the city with social distancing, and for businesses to begin recoup revenue, described at 94.3 The Point.  However opening streets only Thursday through Sunday is not enough. We suggest that the ReOPEN Plan provides open streets 7 days a week. On Monday evening, June 15th, the first day that restaurants were permitted to serve outdoors, sidewalks along Cookman Ave. were packed with diners and walkers, while cars cruised on the street as drivers circled and idled waiting for parking.  The sidewalks are simply not wide enough. A huge swath of the business district is covered in asphalt, and dominated by cars – space which could be utilized for safely distanced  dining and walking. Restaurant and business owners are supportive of the plan, acknowledging that residents and business patrons will appreciate the ability to access city streets without having to dodge cars.

Asbury Park ReOPEN Plan outlines opening streets for people and restricting access to cars Thursdays through Sundays. The plan will:

1. Expand capacity for restaurant, retail and services

2. Utilize public space as a mechanism to allow people to maintain social distancing

3. Provide opportunities for residents to safely enjoy their neighborhoods

 

 

.

Asbury Park Prepares For A New Normal

Asbury Park is known as a progressive city, meeting challenge, and welcoming diversity. AP is ready to be proactive, by creating streets that provide safe and equitable access during COVID-19, and onward.

By Polli Schildge, Editor

Asbury Park is preparing to create a new normal. City leaders are discussing opening streets for people to walk, bike, and move about in the business district and at the waterfront. It’s good to know that we are not alone and that other cities in NJ, around the US, and around the world are taking strong measures to increase walking and bike ridership. The UK just announced a “once in a generation” £2 billion plan to boost cycling and walking both during and after the lockdown, and stressed that “business would be boosted by more people cycling and walking” Forbes.

Asbury Park is unique in that we have world-renown beaches, and a vibrant restaurant and music scene which make AP a destination that attracts visitors from everywhere.  As the weather warms up we’ll see thousands of people flocking to our waterfront and into the city. This requires special consideration in allowing people more space to move about with social distancing on Ocean Ave. and Cookman Ave. This is a novel virus and an unprecedented situation for cities all over the world.

The question is whether we can resist the inclination to hop back into cars when we feel that the crisis has passed.  Along with opening streets to people, driving even 10% less will make a difference. We need to maintain people-friendly streets and promote alternative transportation options to prevent the return of “car culture” Outside .

By preparing now our cities and suburbs will be more livable, and residents will be healthier while the viral pandemic persists, and will remain so afterward.

Traffic mixed with bike riders and parked cars on Ocean Ave. Asbury Park on a sunny Sunday during COVID-19
Traffic on Ocean Ave. on Sunday during the pandemic.

Visitors to Asbury Park 3rd Ave. Beach in early May, 2020