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✊🏙 NYC bike share getting huge boost, more power to transit agencies, and down with parking minimums

Hey urbanists, Great news out of New York City this week on bike share and e-bikes; David Zipper make
December 2 · Issue #62 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists,
Great news out of New York City this week on bike share and e-bikes; David Zipper makes the argument for more powerful transit agencies; and parking minimums look set to be abolished in San Francisco. Plus, a ton of other interesting reads you might be interested in at the end.
Have a great Sunday!

Good news for bikes in NYC
There’s been a lot of good cycling news out of New York City this week. Lyft-owned Citi Bike committed $100 million to double the docked bike-share system’s service area and increase the number of bikes from 12,000 to 40,000—including a lot more pedal-assist bikes—over the next five years. This will make bike share more accessible for many more people.
Council member Rafael Espinal introduced several bills aimed at legalizing e-scooters, ending the ban on throttle e-bikes which targets the city’s immigrant delivery workers, reducing fines for non-compliant bikes, and providing support for low-income users to have their bikes converted to meet the new regulations.
However, so-called “progressive” mayor Bill de Blasio maintains that e-bikes are a safety hazard, despite having failed to produce any evidence to back up his claims, while continuing to downplay the danger posed by automobiles in the city. Yet users say otherwise: e-bikes actually make them feel safer, especially when there isn’t much dedicated cycling infrastructure.
To top it off, council member Ydanis Rodriguez called for 100 miles (160 kms) of protected bike lanes to be installed every year, up from the 29.4 miles (47 kms) that are projected to be installed in 2018. DoT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg didn’t commit to the target, but said she would “take the chairman’s challenge.”
More power for transit agencies?
A piece by David Zipper in CityLab argues that transit authorities deserve more power over transportation within their boundaries, as dividing responsibilities for different modes between various departments makes it tougher for cities to achieve their mobility goals—in our case, encouraging transit and biking over driving. It’s a good read.
Last week, I made the argument that transit agencies should also expand their digital footprint and become the dominant trip-planning platforms within their jurisdictions instead of ceding that ground to private companies that put profits before the public good. Public agencies can create great tech if they get over the ideological barriers that keep them going back to private contractors that produce terrible products.
An example of a bad transit division that comes to mind is New York City’s subway, which is technically owned and run by the state, but has been a political football between the mayor and the governor as the MTA needs billions just to pay for deferred maintenance and repairs to failing systems—let alone expansion. Recently reelected Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the subway will be his top priority in 2019—we’ll see.
Meanwhile, Toronto and Ontario look headed down a path toward a similar problem in future. Currently, the province controls Metrolinx, which operates commuter rail, the airport express line, and the new Presto fare card; while the city controls the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) which runs buses, subways, and streetcars. However, Doug Ford’s new provincial government is moving forward with plans to take ownership of the subway against the will of city council, while continuing to let the city handle day-to-day operations. It will likely be a disaster.
Wave goodbye to parking minimums
Cities across the United States are abolishing parking minimums as San Francisco looks likely to join them. Even downtown Los Angeles got rid of them, but the region has more than 100 square miles (160 square kms) of surface parking—a quarter of the city’s surface area or four Manhattans. A new proposal shows how that wasted space could be filled with housing, businesses, and shops.
Other great reads
🇪🇸 Madrid closed its city center to non-electric vehicles—more than 100 more Spanish cities could soon follow
🚌 The best transport technologies “aren’t excitingly sexy and new things like AV or Hyperloop: they’re boring ones, like trains and trams and buses.”
🇨🇳 Chinese smart-city surveillance sounds dystopian—but Silicon Valley wants to do many of the same things
🇨🇦 Survey suggests Toronto’s King Street pilot project increased visits to local businesses
🚲 Germans have separate lanes for bikes and e-bikes; the Dutch don’t. What will work in the United States?
📈 California transportation emissions keep rising because the state isn’t getting people out of their cars
🧒 Pontevedra, Spain shows how pedestrianization is a family-friendly policy that makes cities safer for kids to play
🏘 Newly elected democratic socialists are bringing new ideas to address the US affordable housing crisis
🇳🇴 Norway’s inclusive design ensures buildings and transportation are accessible to everyone
🇩🇪 Residents worry about the future of their city as Berlin makes a big push for new housing
🛴 Rumor suggests Uber might want to buy Bird or Lime to cement its position in the scooter space
Steven Mitchell
Those bikes, hogging the road. Probably one of those stupid bikes causing all this traffic.
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading. You can follow me on TwitterMedium, or Instagram for even more!
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