December 3, 2016

DISPATCHES FROM THE PARENTHESES STATES:

Time for some traffic problems in Manhattan!

City officials have intentionally ground Midtown to a halt with the hidden purpose of making drivers so miserable that they leave their cars at home and turn to mass transit or bicycles, high-level sources told The Post.

Today’s gridlock is the result of an effort by the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations over more than a decade of redesigning streets and ramping up police efforts, the sources said.

“The traffic is being engineered,” a former top NYPD official told The Post, explaining a long-term plan that began under Mayor Mike Bloomberg and hasn’t slowed with Mayor de Blasio.

“The city streets are being engineered to create traffic congestion, to slow traffic down, to favor bikers and pedestrians,” the former official said.

“There’s a reduction in capacity through the introduction of bike lanes and streets and lanes being closed down.”

—“The real reason for New York City’s traffic nightmare,” the New York Post, yesterday.

In the past, it was other people’s governments that would seek to make your life more difficult. But increasingly in California, the most effective war being waged is one the state has aimed at ourselves.

The Jerry Brown administration’s obsession with becoming a global model for reducing greenhouse gases is leading to an unprecedented drive to completely reshape how Californians live. Rather than focus on more pragmatic, affordable steps to reduce greenhouse gases – more efficient cars, rooftop solar systems and promoting home-based work – the goal increasingly seems like social engineering designed to force Californians to adopt the high-density, transit-oriented future preferred by Brown’s green priesthood.

The newest outrage comes from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in the form of a proposed “road diet.” This would essentially halt attempts to expand or improve our roads, even when improvements have been approved by voters. This strategy can only make life worse for most Californians, since nearly 85 percent of us use a car to get to work. This in a state that already has among the worst-maintained roads in the country, with two-thirds of them in poor or mediocre condition.

“A ‘diet’ to give California drivers indigestion,” Joel Kotkin, the Orange County Register, May 29.

I don’t know how it compares to other states, but after leaving California, which, as Kotkin’s article hints, is notorious for having some of the worst roads in the country, I was amazed at how seriously Texas takes road maintenance, even out here in the hinterlands. And on the flip-side, for at least the last 20 years or so, it’s almost always been a safe bet: the bluer the region, the more it screws motorists.