When it Comes to Road Diets, Evidence Doesn't Matter

Drivers are a powerful enough lobby to overcome all evidence of the need to redesign streets for safety. Examples from Maryland and Virginia provide the latest case studies in Vision Zero futility.

June 25, 2019, 1:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Canaan Merchant doesn't like the current trends in road safety politics in the Washington, D.C. region:

Some local road projects designed to calm traffic and increase safety for all users have been met with a surprising amount of resistence [sic]. Worse, regional officials seem to be prioritizing voices of opposition over actual studies, and it’s keeping our communities unsafe.

Traffic calming proposals in Alexandria, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland were nixed after vocal opposition from drivers worried about delays, "despite evidence to the contrary," according to Merchant.

Merchant digs into the specifics of each example, where both jurisdictions made a choice that will knowingly lead to more death and injury, despite evidence that safety changes could be made with only a few seconds of delay for drivers. Merchant's conclusion from the process in both these examples: "the evidence doesn't seem to matter."

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