Back in 1999, a friend of mine said that we ought to refer to “traffic calming devices” as Traffic Impeding Devices, as impeding traffic is the goal of the program. While some people are fervently in favor of “traffic calming,” it is not broadly popular. This is why there have not been as many projects as Democrats want. The solution: Change the rules, bypass the will of the people, and ram more projects through.
The B Square Beacon explains the change:
In the old program, an application petition needed to be signed by 51 percent of households in the affected area. Later, after a project design was selected, more than 50 percent of households had to return a ballot voting in favor of it.
In order to proceed, more than 50% of all ballots sent out had to be in favor of traffic calming. So if 70% of households returned the ballot and 65% of those ballots were in favor, that would not be enough to get more traffic impeding devices installed. The council eliminated that formal voting step, and also drastically reduced the number of signatures required to install more Traffic Impeding Devices:
Instead of requiring 51 percent of signatures from households in the affected area, it’s now 30 percent of households or 24 signatures, whichever is less.
So there may be “interest” in Traffic Impeding Devices, but people are not voting for this scheme, even in a deep blue city that has elected a 9-0 Democratic majority on the city council in three consecutive elections. Again, the loudest voices get what they want, while the will of the people is thwarted.
If the problem was getting people to return ballots, but a majority were consistently signing petitions, I could understand the logic behind eliminating the second step. But allowing “traffic calming” to be installed based on 30% of signatures is a drastic step that will see motivated groups get what they want while the majority is stuck with Traffic Impeding Devices. Worse yet, they had no voice in the process.
Signing a petition is very different from casting a formal ballot. People may sign a petition because they are pressured to do so, but then vote the other way when they have an opportunity to express their opinion in private. This could easily lead to bullying people into signing up for something they do not want, and the much lower threshold will actually encourage this behavior.
This is what happens when you give one party total control. If we were to elect some Republicans, this sort of thing would at least be slowed down if not stopped all together.