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โœŠ๐Ÿ™ The future of e-scooters; US cities adopting stricter building regulations; and the turn against carbon taxes

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Hi urbanists, This week weโ€™re looking at the benefits that e-scooters could provide for the future of
 
December 16 · Issue #64 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hi urbanists,
This week weโ€™re looking at the benefits that e-scooters could provide for the future of transportation, how cities across the US are abandoning parking minimums and other restrictive zoning rules; and how the gilets jaunes are part of a larger trend of questioning whether carbon taxes are the best policy to address climate change.
Have a great Sunday!
โ€” Paris

What role will scooters play in the future?
In a piece for Greater Auckland earlier this week, Patrick Reynolds argued that the electric transportation revolution isnโ€™t electric vehicles, but rather electric bikes, scooters, and other smaller forms of mobility โ€” โ€˜micromobilityโ€™, we might even say.
Reynoldsโ€™ assessment looks at the urban and environmental benefits which could accompany these modes, but also how their use is taking off much faster than many people predicted. He ends his piece with recommendations for policymakers, with particular emphasis on the need for bike lanes, for a focus on connecting transit stations and schools, and that if there are to be subsidies, they should be for e-bikes.
Further, there have been a number of articles calling out potential safety risks that could accompany the use of e-scooters, but the ITDP argues that the real safety risk is and remains cars. How many of these injuries are a function of people riding scooters on roads meant for cars, instead of on paths and in lanes designed specifically for micromobility? Following from Reynolds, the best things we can do to make micromobility safe and attractive to riders is to install more protected bike lanes and lower vehicle speed limits.
A couple weeks ago, I detailed how NYC may soon legalize e-scooters and loosen regulations on e-bikes. With the looming 15-month L train shutdown to start in April 2019, Bird is trying to position scooters as an alternative for some riders โ€” but given Mayor Bill de Blasioโ€™s previous comments on scooters, it remains to see whether heโ€™ll be open to the idea. Aaron Gordon, writing for CityLab, argues thereโ€™s a general lack of coordination in NYC, and itโ€™s going to cause problems during the shutdown.
Taras Grescoe
"To walk or take transit is a public act which makes street a safer component of community. To drive is a private act which turns the street into a utility."
โ€”Peter Calthorpe https://t.co/gX07yksWgS
11:59 AM - 14 Dec 2018
For a sustainable built environment
Last week I included a story on Minneapolisโ€™ decision to end single-family zoning, abolish parking minimums, and allow high density on transit corridors; now, the state of Oregon is considering legislation that would ban single-family zoning in all cities and towns with more than 10,000 residents.
In 2018, a number of cities pursued โ€œparking reformโ€ policies to reduce or eliminate required parking for new houses. Sacramento even banned gas stations, drive-thru restaurants, and warehouses within 0.25 miles (0.4 km) of light-rail stops, and all new homes in California will need to install solar panels starting in 2020.
These changes are occurring in an atmosphere where more people seem to accept that increasing density will be necessarily for truly sustainable cities, and Sen. Elizabeth Warrenโ€™s $450-billion affordable housing bill could help to achieve it โ€” though itโ€™s worth noting there doesnโ€™t seem to be an explicit commitment to build more public housing, which many US cities are in dire need of.
Looking forward to the future of sustainable building, a consortium in Oslo is pushing energy-positive building design, which would see buildings actually generate enough power to contribute to the grid.
Anand Giridharadas
The case for something like @Ocasio2018โ€™s Green New Deal is bolstered by Paris unrest. Donโ€™t solve the climate crisis by building on top of a bad system and existing inequities. Use the climate crisis as a once-in-a-generation chance to fix those things while saving the earth. https://t.co/Sp7D8mtPSQ
8:31 AM - 7 Dec 2018
Rethinking carbon taxes?
I have to admit, Franceโ€™s gilets jaunes have caused me to look at carbon taxes in a way I hadnโ€™t in the past. Previously, Iโ€™d seen them almost exclusively as a positive: by placing a cost on pollution, we will reduce emissions; but thereโ€™s more to it than that.
The French protesters have made me, and Iโ€™m sure many others, recognize that carbon or gas taxes are regressive like other consumption taxes, and if compensatory measures are not taken, the poorest will be hardest hit โ€” and that simply is not acceptable.
Kate Aronoff has a great piece in Jacobin expanding on the lessons from France, in which she concludes that
the Yellow Vests protests should serve as an eleventh-hour warning to the policymakers now gathering in Poland: not that climate action is politically toxic, but that coupling it with austerity and handouts to the 1 percent โ€” failing to place blame on the corporate executives who deserve it โ€” is a recipe for planetary disaster.
Politico emphasized the position of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: that carbon taxes may have done the job if they were implemented decades ago, but the pace of change requires much swifter action, hence the need for a Green New Deal. Economist Mark Jaccard wrote that carbon prices not necessary, and theyโ€™ve contributed relatively little to achieved emissions reduction in North America.
Other great reads
๐Ÿš‡ Andy Byford is trying to speed up the NYC subway
๐Ÿšฒ โ€œHistory is repeating itselfโ€ as dockless bikes and scooters become more common in major cities
๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธ Walkability isnโ€™t just great for public health, it also provides many economic benefits
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Why Montreal (avg. C$766) still has much more affordable rents than Toronto (C$1,300) and Vancouver (C$1,297)
๐Ÿถ William Wegmanโ€™s famous photos of his dogs are now part of an NYC subway station
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ NYC provides a lesson for Sydney: keep investing in the train system or there will be dire consequences
โ˜€๏ธ Two major US utilities are switching to 100% renewables and admit itโ€™s actually cheaper
๐Ÿ“ฝ Lumiรจre films of Paris in the 1890s shows carriages, bikes, and pedestrians sharing the street
๐Ÿ“š Bookstores are key to the downtowns of small cities
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt is spending a lot of money to improve its rail system
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท Inter-Korean railway survey to link North and South began on November 30. A South Korean think tank will also do a five-year study of North Korean cities, citing significant development under Kim Jong Un.
Greta Thunberg, a 15 year-old climate activist from Sweden, speaks at COP24 in Poland
โœŠ๏ธโค๏ธ Thanks for reading. You can follow me onย Twitter,ย Medium, orย Instagramย for even more!
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