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✊🏙 Will micromobility remake cities? 🚲 The right-wing assault on Toronto 🇨🇦 & much more!

Hey urbanists! This week's issue takes a look at how dockless bikes and scooters (otherwise known as
September 23 · Issue #52 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists!
This week’s issue takes a look at how dockless bikes and scooters (otherwise known as micromobility) are impacting Western cities. Will they have a lasting effect, or will their influence decline over the next year? I’m certainly betting on the former.
I’ve also including some details on what’s going on in Toronto for those of you who aren’t aware — it’s a pretty troubling situation.
Have a great Sunday!

The micromobility revolution
There should be no question that something profound is happening in major Western cities, if not in other parts of the world as well. The introduction of dockless bikes and scooters is forcing people to reconsider the current configuration of our streets which heavily favors automobiles over pedestrians and cyclists. Is that finally about the change?
Bird and Lime, two of the companies who have led the charge on the scooter explosion in North America, recently celebrated a year of operation, are in over 100 cities each, and have both surpassed 10 million rides as they set their sights on global expansion. However, there are plenty of questions and differing opinions on what they mean for the future.
Transportation consultant Richard Layman argues that past experience with dockless bike systems shows why North America will ultimately opt for docked systems, which can also act as marketing and community-building elements. Meanwhile, Inhabitat’s Luciana Pricop points out that we don’t yet know where micromobility trips are coming from, and that detail will help us understand whether they have an environmental benefit.
John Greenfield points out, in Streetsblog, how social democracies are better places to ride a bike because they take a “pragmatic and humanistic view of transportation,” which provides some context when considering Yuval Karmi’s argument that this revolution in urban transportation could get really messy “with metal bodies of bicycles and batteries polluting every street corner,” reflecting the disruption that happened when cars transformed urban space a century ago. Did Denmark and the Netherlands have such a “mess” as it changed its infrastructure?
Karmi says that “20 years is the time it took the car to change the urban perception. It took cities 50 more years to adjust to them and give in completely.” It will take time to shift away from automotive dominance, but only as long as we want it to.
Turmoil in Toronto
Earlier this summer, the Canadian province of Ontario elected a new Progressive Conservative government under the leadership of Doug Ford, brother of the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford who was know internationally for smoking crack. Ford campaigned as a populist and revealed little by way of policy, and since being elected he’s sought revenge on Canada’s largest city.
In Canada, municipalities are largely at the whim of provincial governments, giving Ford a lot of power in his dealings with the city council. Torontonians were shocked in August when Ford announced he would cut the size of the council from 47 to 25 members, despite the fact the city was due to go to the polls in October and candidates had already begun campaigning.
After his plan was struck down in the courts a few weeks ago, Ford resorted to a rarely-used power granted by the constitution to allow provinces to overrule court decisions, ensuring his plan would go ahead despite having undergone no consultation and being in the middle of an election. The ultimate goal? To shift the power to Toronto’s suburbs, which are more likely to vote for conservative candidates.
That’s not all. Ford also intends to take control of Toronto’s subway system, claiming provincial ownership would make it easier to expand, but the details of his plan are few and the funding he’s announced isn’t nearly enough to build the Relief Line, let alone suburban expansions. Steve Munro has a great breakdown of the problems with Ford’s plan.
Other great reads
🚲 France will invest €350 million ($410 million) in cycling infrastructure to increase cycling mode share to 9% by 2024
🚇 Asia-Pacific leads the way on mass-transit construction, while North America lags
⁉️ Cities boost electric mobility at climate summit, but ignore walking and cycling even though they’re far more sustainable
🗳 Candidates running in 2018 US mayoral and city council elections could wield a lot of power
🏚 Investigation in Mexico City explores why building codes weren’t followed, leading to deaths in September 2017 earthquake
😍 These photos of intersection transformations are beautiful
💲 Should employers pay for their workers’ commutes?
🚶‍♀️ Making cities more walkable around the world, from Auckland to London to Hanoi
💧 In November, Baltimore residents will vote on banning the privatization of their water system
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading. You can follow me on TwitterMedium, or Instagram for even more!
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