“Road Diet” – The Stupid Is Strong In This One.

Only government could be so brain dead.

When you have too much traffic for the road capacity, why, make fewer lanes! That’s the ticket!!

Ran into this on RT reporting about Los Angeles where some city (Playa del Rey?) had a recall of their representative and a reversal of the policy after 2 of the only 3 roads connecting them to the rest of the L.A. Basin were reduced from 2 lanes each way to 1 each way to “fix” traffic congestion…

The Stupid, it burns…

The thesis is that if you live in an expensive sea-side town and work in downtown L.A., you will abandon your luxury car and instead ride a bicycle to work… Clearly thought of by folks who have never tried to ride a bike in L.A. Traffic nor had a 30 mile commute. Oh, and as the spouse has hip problems, just where is the bike that does not require hips to work well?

So after local businesses all reported significant drops in foot (and $Dollar) traffic, and after ambulances and fire trucks were stuck (lights flashing) in traffic since there was no longer anywhere for the cars to pull over and let them pass (the bike lanes being “protected” by barriers), the idiots in charge (facing a recall election) decided to shout “Never Mind!!” and reverse their decision.

I’ve seen something similar starting in San Jose. Massive amounts of Green Paint showing up on streets as “bike lanes” are added all over. Sometimes removing parking. Sometimes removing traffic lanes. Almost universally devoid of bicycles. I suspect the Green Paint Lobby was involved as they paint solid blocks of green the width of the lane for many car lengths at various points in the bike lane.

Some References:

Bold bits done by me. Some emotional sop bits elided.


Every person injured, used as as reason to do what is politically correct and virtue signal. (Strange how every death at the hands of a street thug does not get used to justify personal carry of firearms…)

LA’s focus on reducing traffic deaths running into ‘road diet’ congestion concerns

Meghan McCarty Carino | October 1, 2015

A recent hit-and-run crash that killed a 51-year-old woman is heightening concerns over traffic deaths in Highland Park and focusing attention on the city’s plan for safety improvements in the area.

But officials’ strategy to eliminate fatalities by slowing traffic is dividing the community and delaying efforts to address the neighborhood’s long-standing problems with pedestrian and bicyclist accidents.


A new initiative looks poised to address her call. In August, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive to eliminate traffic deaths in the city over 10 years as part of an international initiative called Vision Zero. It’s also part of the city’s long-range transportation plan, Mobility Plan 2035, passed by City Council last month.

The idea of planning for zero traffic fatalities started in Sweden in 1997 and has expanded throughout Europe to several major American cities, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

“Getting around town safely should be an expectation that we all have,” said Seleta Reynolds, general manager of the L.A. Department of Transportation who is spearheading the Vision Zero effort.

More than 200 people die every year in road collisions in L.A., making its traffic fatality rate one of the highest among major cities in the United States and the world.

The Vision Zero philosophy conceives of road traffic much like air travel, so safety becomes the top priority. Officials work off the assumption that humans will make mistakes, but that with proper checks and balances in place, the results don’t have to be fatal.

This differs from traditional transportation planning models that give priority to traffic flow on streets and emphasize personal responsibility when it comes to road safety.

L.A.’s approach to Vision Zero will include public education, changes to traffic enforcement focusing first on infractions like speeding or failing to yield to pedestrians, and redesigning roads specifically to keep bikes and pedestrians safe.

As long as “zero” is your goal, and humans are less than perfect, you can justify anything.

The plan sounds fairly uncontroversial until you delve into one of the main strategies for achieving all this: slowing car traffic down, often with a so-called road diet, which narrows lanes of traffic or replaces some car lanes with bike lanes.

So when you have deaths due to mixing an unprotected slow and hard to see bicycle with big, fast, cars that are a ton of moving steel, the answer is to mix MORE of them together with MORE bike lanes and MORE bikes?

IMHO, the “correct” answer is to remove the mixing. Provide dedicated bike roads in those areas with high bicycle traffic. Over time, more hard core bike riders will move there and the problem will decrease even in areas without bike lanes. Just like we don’t let bikes drive on freeways as it’s a very stupid thing to to, they ought to also be forbidden from major thruways and multilane urban streets.

Battle over bike lanes

On North Figueroa, controversy over a plan to install bike lanes has been raging for years, foreshadowing some of the likely challenges to implementing Vision Zero across the city.

In 2014, North Figueroa looked ready to get a bike lane: an environmental impact report had been completed, it was considered a high priority project under the 2010 bike plan and it was funded under Measure R. But incoming City Councilman Gil Cedillo put it on hold after hearing concerns from some in the community about how the bike lane would affect traffic.

“To me, it is impossible to have bicycle lane on Figueroa,” said Jesse Rosas, a longtime Highland Park resident who has a notary business on North Figueroa and doesn’t want to see car traffic held up there.

He collected about 250 signatures from businesses up and down the street to block the bike lane. His concern is that slower traffic would increase congestion and hurt his business. He said fundamentally he believes cars are an inescapable way of life in Los Angeles.

“They think this is Europe,” he said. “It’s not. Europe is different.”

Rosas isn’t alone. Last month, a Westside community group sued the city over the Mobility Plan, which proposes expanding bike lanes throughout L.A. over the next 20 years.

Our Government thinks it a dandy idea:


A roadway reconfiguration known as a Road Diet offers several high-value improvements at a low cost when applied to traditional four-lane undivided highways. In addition to low cost, the primary benefits of a Road Diet include enhanced safety, mobility and access for all road users and a “complete streets” environment to accommodate a variety of transportation modes.

A classic Road Diet typically involves converting an existing four-lane, undivided roadway segment to a three-lane segment consisting of two through lanes and a center, two-way left-turn lane.

The resulting benefits include a crash reduction of 19 to 47 percent, reduced vehicle speed differential, improved mobility and access by all road users, and integration of the roadway into surrounding uses that results in an enhanced quality of life. A key feature of a Road Diet is that it allows reclaimed space to be allocated for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping.

Adding a center turn lane like that article shows might well work better on a semi-rural 4 lane highway with modest traffic loads. It’s fairly brain dead when used in an urban environment on city streets already running a bit over capacity. I can see the turn lane IFF there’s a lot of turning traffic and turn related clogs / accidents. The rest of it smells of “social engineering” and we all know “social engineering” is an oxymoron that means “stupid attempt to control others doomed to fail”.

IMHO, it’s just another Green Fad being pushed for feel good / does bad virtue signaling ( with a potential side of graft and kickbacks from the folks providing materials, studies, labor, etc. etc. to push the farce.)

Seems a lot of the citizens who have to deal with the consequences of this “vision” also think it daft.


L.A. reworks another ‘road diet,’ restoring car lanes in Playa del Rey

By David Zahniser
Oct 03, 2017 | 5:15 PM

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, appearing at a January news conference, announced the restoration Monday of more vehicle lanes in his Westside district. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Faced with an ongoing furor over traffic congestion and so-called “road diets,” Los Angeles officials announced they will restore car lanes removed from two Playa del Rey boulevards earlier this year.

Traffic crews will add back a single westbound vehicle lane to Jefferson and Culver boulevards, the latest reversal in a coastal district represented by Councilman Mike Bonin.


Opponents of the lane reductions, who are planning a recall of the councilman over the issue, contend the changes happened only because Bonin is facing heat from his constituents.

“Bonin’s latest flip-flop has less to do with a ‘community task force’ and more to do with the fact that our efforts to recall him from office are moving forward and gaining broad support,” said Alexis Edelstein, chairman of Recall Bonin.

Bonin set up the 20-member task force in July after fielding angry complaints over additional traffic that resulted from a series of road diets, or reductions in car lanes.

Make my life worse, clog things up more, and have both less business and more time “butts in seats” in cars trying to get to work, school, or shopping? Hell Yes I’m going to sign up to recall your ass.

BTW, I’ll believe these folks are truly in love with bike commuting when the Mayor, City Council, and all city managers ride bikes to all days at work and all meetings, and show up in their sweat soaked suits for public affairs and fund raising dinners.

FWIW: At one point in my life I commuted by bike. For many years. While I was at U.C. Davis. The campus bans cars from the center (other than delivery vehicles, police, and “special” people…) so daily about 18,000 folks take to their bikes to get to, and traverse, the 3000 acre campus. So I’m not disparaging bikes out of ignorance. No, I’ve ridden to the Chem Final in the rain, arriving cold and wet. I’ve ridden to summer session French arriving sweaty wet and overheated. I’ve taken 4 showers a day. I’ve patched up skinned knees and elbows. (The traffic jam at the main campus traffic circle is horrendous with a half dozen deep bikes circling and jockeying for position at class changes. Accidents are frequent, nearly constant).

So yeah, been there, done that, have the scars and bad memories. Sure, some times it’s nice. Evening classes on a spring day. Early class in early Fall. At least 4 months of the year here in California… I even road to class in the snow the few times it snowed. (Talk about accidents… most folks have no clue how to ride a bike in an inch of snow).

The tussle over traffic and road restriping blew open in May, when Bonin, working with the city’s Department of Transportation, implemented a new initiative aimed at slowing vehicle speeds, improving traffic safety and offering greater transportation options in Playa del Rey. The effort was billed as a pilot program whose elements would change if problems arose.

As part of the pilot, city officials reduced car lanes and added “protected” bike lanes, which feature plastic dividers or other physical barriers to separate bikes from cars. Bicycle lanes were added to a stretch of Pershing Drive, taking the street from two vehicle lanes in each direction to one.

Traffic crews also restriped sections of Jefferson and Culver, installing protected bike lanes and reducing both streets from two vehicle lanes in each direction to one.

So in a place where THE major iconic issue is the 24 x 7 jams and traffic way too slow for effective movement, your answer is to make it slower?

Oh what fresh hell of stupid is this… to work better at moving traffic you make it go even slower when it’s already too little volume / hour moved?

To get fewer jams and more efficient movement (and thus fewer accidents and injuries), first off, stop cramming more housing into areas where the roads can’t support it. “Densifying” housing ala Agenda 21 is NOT helping. Then set up some roads for fast traffic (minimize turn opportunities, remove parking and bike lanes, remove stops, add traffic lanes). By getting the cars to their destinations FASTER you get less congestion on the same road surface and fewer problems.

At roughly the same time, city officials reduced one traffic lane from each direction of a 2.1-mile stretch of Vista del Mar, a major roadway along the beach that connects the South Bay with the Westside. Traffic crews relocated public parking on that street to keep beachgoers from jaywalking into dangerous traffic — an issue that the city’s lawyers view as a costly liability.

The array of changes drew an outcry from drivers in L.A. and adjacent cities, such as El Segundo and Manhattan Beach. Foes of the changes began demanding their old lanes back, with Edelstein and others saying commute times through the area had doubled or even tripled. While some began pursuing a recall, city officials started to redesign its streets.

In July, city officials added back an eastbound car lane to Culver. Weeks later, Bonin announced that two vehicle lanes would also be restored on Vista del Mar, acknowledging in a YouTube video that the changes were “outright hated.”

The latest change will require the removal of the two bike lanes on Culver and Jefferson, which will be replaced by a single protected shoulder that can be used in both directions by bicycles and pedestrians, said David Graham-Caso, a spokesman for Bonin.
Edelstein, for his part, said he and his allies will press ahead with a recall, despite the most recent changes.
A former marketing executive with Red Bull, Edelstein said his organization has already collected $70,000 for the recall effort.

OK, so we know a “recall” works as a “reframing the issue” ;-)

We also know that once you have “Virtue Signaled You Are Stupid”, folks now know it and don’t forget just because you said “Oh, sorry. We’ll back out some of it and hope you ignore the rest”.

I just hope the fad of Road Diets dies a quick death before everyone is inconvenienced.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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18 Responses to “Road Diet” – The Stupid Is Strong In This One.

  1. Lionell Griffith says:

    A simple solution to a very complex problem:

    A very simple law is all that is necessary to eliminate motorized traffic congestion: prohibit motorized vehicles in urban areas and on the freeways between them. Including mass transit, police, and emergency vehicles. If there are no motorized vehicles in operation, there would be no motorized traffic congestion. End of problem.

    Yes there are side effects that many people won’t like but that is also true of the effort to reduce CO2 emissions and the elimination of guns. For the same reasons and in the same way, the deniers wishes are to be ignored and they are to be vilified for disliking such common sense laws. We would at long last be doing something that would solve the problems rather than simply making things worse.

  2. jim2 says:

    Where I live bikes aren’t licensed and from what I can tell traffic laws are not enforced for them. I’d be for eliminating bike lanes all together, as well as bike themselves, from any street that carries automobile traffic. Mixing bikes and cars is beyond idiotic. All in my NSHO.

  3. p.g.sharrow says:

    Very interesting bucket of fish here.
    #1 ..By federal constitution as well as Calif.State, all citizens have the “RIGHT to FREE use of the Public Road”. as in unencumbered by bureaucratic restrictions.
    #2 ,, pedestrians and cyclists have the right of way over motorized vehicles.
    #3 ..Motorized vehicle fees and taxes as well as fuel taxes support most of the bike and foot traffic public access costs.
    #4 .. Commerce requires the availability of private transport for effective movement.
    Just what do these people think of when they propose restrictions on motorized transport…pg

  4. John F. Hultquist says:

    First this bit of history:
    The impetus to create better roads didn’t come from the automobile industry, it came from cyclists.
    The Good Roads Movement
    Search and read of ” Penny-farthing ” bikes.
    Now this:

    You are dealing with very large and sprawling regions.
    There is not a good solution for a near time frame.
    Individuals, of course, can move given certain circumstances.

    A town in WA State, Ellensburg, has provided “Bike Boulevards.”
    Some intersections have been blocked with cut-throughs for bikes, while autos have to turn right.
    There is a photo of the cut-through at this site:
    Bike Boulevard

    EBRG is a small town with a 9,000 student university, and a 2008 plan to make for a better town. We do not live there, and easily avoid the annoying aspects when a visit is necessary.

    While more costly, there is a better way – a helix ramp.
    Use the Google Earth coordinates to see the solution to get people and cars separated:
    41.658376, -91.541547
    One of the photos (left side) is from on the ramp.

    Another idea is elevated building-to-building crossings, called skyways.
    Spokane WA crossings

    Those in Spokane connect 16 blocks. See:

  5. Terry Jackson says:

    Other coming attractions include roundabouts with a turning circle fit for a Prius, “traffic calming” featuring narrowing the intersections such that a trailer must climb the curb to make the turn, and rain gardens, where a portion of the street is used to return runoff to mother earth rather than down the storm sewer.

  6. Larry Ledwick says:

    The small town north of my home has started with the traffic calming thing. First it was raised islands dividing the roadway. Turning a nice wide 4 lane plus generous shoulder roadway, into a rather cramped 4 lane, which now goes into a large traffic circle. The traffic circle is marked with a recommended speed of 25 (it was 15 mph for about 2 months after they built it).

    But once you figure out the line you can go through it at 35 even in a van. About 2 miles north is another traffic circle which is tighter and is still marked at 15 mph a couple years after it was put in.

    That one you can take at 25 if you get the line correct and if you are in a performance car and are into curb hopping like they do in road racing, 30 is possible according to an named driver who has experience with both traffic circles. ;)

  7. Greg Hall says:

    My road diet story: In my small city in Northern NY, I was on a road crew during the summer of 1972, during college. We widened the street in front of the high school from 2 lanes to 4 and added 4 crosswalks to get to the shopping plaza across the street from the high school. This past summer, a kid darted into traffic and got hit. The knee jerk response was to reduce the road back to 2 lanes, with a center turn lane, and reduce the cross walks back to 2. Traffic is much more congested, you can’t turn into the school or the plaza unless you are at the light and the school officials and the city are trying to force the kids to walk down the sidewalk to get to the remaining crosswalks instead of just running across the road.

  8. Power Grab says:

    They put in a traffic circle in a town nearby. The letters from readers on the editorial page of their local paper all expressed wonder at why anyone would think one was needed.

    Earlier this year, a truck bashed through its decorative stonework in the night. It was front page news. Fortunately, the stone wall was built without mortar and it was rebuilt the next day.

    They put that circle on one of the main thoroughfares through town. I have to assume large trucks had to find another route through town.

    And since then, *the* major intersection in town was unpassable due to construction for *months*. I can’t help but wonder if those 2 blunders have led to the sparseness of traffic that I’m hearing about now.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    This sort of thing goes in fads, about 30 years ago, they thought it was a really cool way to slow down drivers by putting huge whoop-de-do speed bumps in the road. Humps that would toss your car in the air at over 20 mph.

    Bad news, is the emergency services folks hated them, ambulances don’t like to have to slow down to 10 mph to go over huge speed bumps when they have a critical patient in the back or running to an emergency like a child choking.

    Also they led to accidents as non-locals came blasting down the street at a speed they could not slow down before tearing the suspension out of the car as they hit a 10 mph bump at 30+.

    Snow plow drivers did not think they were all that cool either when their blades hit the bump hidden in deep snow.

    They lasted about 10 years and then they all magically disappeared when they repaved the roads.

    These raised islands will likely be the first to go, they make it impossible for emergency services to go around some accidents or obstructions by crossing the center line. If some crazy driver hits them at speed in a curve their car tends to go airborne into oncoming lanes or roll over.

    I imagine the road construction companies are fond of them because they get paid twice, once to put them in and do all the landscaping, then a few years later to strip them all out and go back to a flat roadway.

  10. Eric Fithian says:

    Here in Denver, the Powers That Be are reportedly enamored of a vision of Saigon circa 1968 (vast platoons of bicycles filling the streets), so they are trying to turn Broadway south of Downtown into a “bicycle-friendly” stretch.
    They have separated the leftmost lane from the traffic with plastic posts, reducing the existing (one-way) capacity from 5 lanes to 4, and moving the parking away from the left-hand curb….
    This affects many thousands of vehicles per weekday, all to accomodate some (reportedly) 78 cyclists. . . !
    3 months of the year, Denver CO is bicycle-UNfriendly, with wind, snow, ice, and darkness….
    More recently, some Brain decided that the rightmost lane should be restricted to RTD buses and right-turns only.
    Thus, for several blocks, we have gone from 5 lanes (4 during Afternoon Rush) to 3….!

  11. John Robertson says:

    Virtue Signalling is often the only skill of the power mad.
    The petition to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide being a wonderful example.
    Gang Green are a world wide demonstration of useless people with too much leisure time and wealth.
    Irrational, clueless and absolutely certain they can make everyones lives better.
    Bicycle lanes and daylight savings have much in common.

  12. Larry Ledwick says:

    @ Eric Fithian
    3 months of the year, Denver CO is bicycle-UNfriendly, with wind, snow, ice, and darkness….

    They don’t remember the winter of 1973 when we had 30+ inches of snow on the ground and the center 2 lanes of Broadway was piled shoulder high with snow because they had run out of places to put it. There was about 10 miles of Broadway that was effectively one lane each way as a result.

    That center divider of snow was broken only at the major intersections, and they were trucking snow to every parking lot in lower down town they could find to dump the snow. Drivers were trapped in their neighborhoods by deep snow and only a single track passageway to the main roads. All the picture essays they used to have about this storm have pretty much disappeared from the web now. At the time I was working at 300 south Broadway at the Fashion Bar data center. I had a full sized Jeep Cherokee and was driving in snow that was as deep as the top of my tires (32 inches) breaking the first track into the parking lot that day.

    This is from the blizzard of 1982

    Of course that pales in comparison to the winter of 1913-14 which got 45 inches in 24 hours and total of 57 inches in December.


    We are about due for another one of those winters or heavy spring snow storms.

  13. I am all for having recall on politicians but there should also be recall on every and all persons on the public payroll. Further, the public should have a say in whether any consultant gets paid for analyses which are not in the interest of the majority of the public. The Swiss in parts of the country (the founding states) have had democracy since about 1225. Their system of direct democracy with citizen initiated referendum appears to be working well. Maybe Chiefio could tell us how the Swiss have something like 3 sets of 4 question referendum every year. One presumes they now use the internet. In the past it used to be raised hands in the market place in the centre of villages. Back in time i was in the Swiss Canton of Bern when the citizens voted on every piece of legislation (some 50 items) discussed in the Canton parliament by a show of hands to pass into law.

  14. E.M.Smith says:


    Ah, the Swiss…

    First I have to state that the Amish originated in the coastal areas, but came to America via s stint in Switzerland; so, in theory, I have a Swiss Connection…

    Many places have direct democracy. California has a direct democracy referendum process. Unfortunately, it is subject to a LOT of manipulation. The State legislature can put laws up for direct vote; usually cleverly worded so the actual effect is opposite of what the casual read leads you to think the law does. Corporations and NGO special interests will spend $Millions on paid signature gathering to put their special law on the ballot (NEVER clearly written…).

    So yeah, Direct Democracy can work… as long as you have a skeptical society that is made of well educated (not PC Indoctrinated in waste-time “school”) and thoughtful people. Otherwise it just turns into a political theatre deception game….

  15. Steven Fraser says:

    I ran into this idea working in England. One of my co-workers (there) commented while driving that the country roads were kept narrow to discourage people from using them.

    I had to push my jaw up with my hand.

  16. philjourdan says:

    Before I read the city, I thought you were going to talk about this one. Yep, I guess every city has a “Broad” Street, and in this one it is the major road into and out of the downtown area. The city (think Tim Kaine was once mayor to understand the stupidity) core is dying. The only thing keeping it alive is State Government. So what do they do?

    They are eliminating one lane of the road for “new” high speed mass transit (no one uses it in the first place). Thus making it more difficult to get into and out of downtown for the occasional folks!

    Government is stupid. But then they are the only organization that can afford to be since they have no worries about staying in business. They ARE the business! And they will get re-elected. Most voters are even more stupid.

  17. philjourdan says:

    @Greg Hall – 26 November 2017 at 4:26 am

    And the next solution is to ban all traffic. LOL

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