The same is true of bicycles. You can store your private bicycle almost anywhere you like in public. But city fathers will naturally take a dim view of a business using that public space without permission.
The streets are filled with companies using public spaces: Fedex deliveries blocking the road, sidewalk signs for bars, Getaround rentals, food carts, mailboxes, ATMs, parking meters, Scoot scooters, taxi lines, Lyft/Ubers, Redbox DVD rentals, annoying Greenpeace petition people, construction, billboards, etc.
I don't think it's a cost-saving measure for scooter/bike companies, but rather convenience for users. I wouldn't use scooters if I had to walk 4 blocks to a "designated pickup zone".
Yes, these scooters/bikes are making money. But they also really improve cities, by cutting down on traffic congestion and car emissions. As long as they're regulated via permits (meaning the government makes a bit of money to pay for maintenance), they should be allowed... and if people dislike them, they'll go out of business, and it'll solve itself.
sidewalk signs for bars are regulated, at least in my city. They have to leave (IIRC) 6' of clearance on the sidewalk so they don't obstruct pedestrian traffic. Whether those rules are being followed is perhaps another issue, but I haven't generally found them to be a nuisance.
Getaround rentals are private cars that you rent from the owner. If the city requires a fee to be paid for overnight on-street parking, that fee will be paid by the owner. If the street is meter parking, that fee will be paid by whoever is using the car.
food carts typically pay the city a fee in exchange for use of public space.
mailboxes are either owned by the government or installed on private property.
ATMs are installed on private property.
parking meters are government property.
Scoot scooters (don't know what those are)
taxi lines are a government designated thing. Note that most cities that have them also make money from taxi licensing.
Lyft/Ubers are a minor menace, I agree with you on that one.
Redbox DVD rentals are installed on private property.
annoying Greenpeace petition people are required to get permits, at least in my city.
construction also requires permits.
billboards are installed on private property.
Long story short, I think you're being hyperbolic here.
You mean the way that the minor inconvenience of having
a few scooters laying around is considered acceptable in return for having a cheap, efficient, green solution for last mile transportation?
I don't think they're wrong. I also don't think it's a non-solvable problem. It seems that the worst of it is largely due to there being simply too many of the things -- far more than are needed to actually meet the demand for short- to medium-distance transportation -- in many cities. Requiring companies to get a permit for each of their bikes so that the city has a way to limit the total volume, and so that it can ensure that the rollout happens incrementally so any apparent problems can be addressed before they create a major nuisance, would probably be more than sufficient.
In Paris this is a relatively new development, but what I take issue with is where they are left by the users, which is usually in the middle of the sidewalk. People really don't care where they leave them since there's no consequence for them.
I ride a motorbike around town. In Paris it's legal to park motorbikes and scooters on the sidewalks if the sidewalk is wide enough as to not bother pedestrians. If the police walks by and thinks your vehicle is bothering, you get a ticket or could even have your bike towed. This has a direct impact on the owner.
If you park like a d... you risk your bike being tipped over, scratched, etc. Again, direct impact on the owner.
However, with a rental scooter / bike, you won't get any fines for parking in the middle of the sidewalk, most people won't care if something happens to the bike, etc, so they just don't care. Of course, if the company is getting the tickets and has to repair the bikes more often than otherwise necessary, the cost will be transferred to the users, but not in a direct manner. So in a society where people are on average less and less civil, I think this kind of development is to be expected.
Preferable to cars, maybe, since it frees up parking, however, around here they simply park in the bike lane. I go by a UPS store daily and there are often 1-2 trucks both parked in the bike lane.
I've heard Zipcar pays SF $1000-ish/year, so inch-for-inch it's certainly a good deal.
They pay the city some flatrate per year, and so car2go can park anywhere in public street parking without paying meters.
Are they? Are any of the companies public? It seems like a burn through cash to get a user base sort of thing but maybe these companies are older and more established than it seems to me.
This is the point under contention. I strongy disagree, I would very happily give up public parking for other uses of that space - more bike/scooter lanes that can be further offset from fast-moving cars, dedicated space for Uber/Lyft dropoffs that don't block the roads, 5-minute loading/unloading parking for Fedex trucks and Postmates delivery people to idle for a few minutes.
Free (or heavily subsidized) parking for private cars is at the bottom of this list for me. It's also much more expensive to provide than these other things, because there's only one person benefitting from each parking space per few hours while all the others can benefit many more people. And even for the very drivers that street parking is intended to benefit - in lots of situations there are too few spaces on the street at all, so we're blocking this valuable space and most people won't find a spot anyway and will be forced to use a private garage.
And it's not that I never drive, I sometimes do, I still think it's a much better use of public space if I had to find a private lot or garage on the occasions when I drive so that these other things can be available to everyone.
I don't have a counter-example for your very specific statement, but these are close:
* The car rental company "Rent a Wreck" in San Francisco drives between 5 and 20 of their camper vehicles off the lot and parks them in public parking spaces every morning around 7am and brings them back in in the evening. Reported to 311, "not enforceable".
* The Enterprise car rental branch at the Amtrak station in Emeryville, CA, routinely blocks a bike lane and public parking spots with rental vehicles. They also perform vehicle inspections and handovers there. No outrage, in fact Emeryville doesn't enforce parking in bike lanes or at red curbs, period.
* "Global Gourmet Catering" in San Francisco backs rental trucks into their loading bay such that the entire sidewalk, the entire bike lane, and up to half a traffic lane is blocked approximately every second day. In the evenings the same trucks are parked in public diagonal parking spots sized for passenger vehicles across the street, blocking the side walk and bike lane in the other direction. Reported to 311, forwarded to parking enforcement, won't enforce because blocked sidewalks and blocked bike lanes are handled by different people, and this involves both.
* "Enclosures International Corporation" in San Francisco basically runs a fulfillment operation with frequent forklift traffic on a public sidewalk and the bike lane. Super dangerous actually, because it forces cyclists to cross defunct train tracks in the traffic lane at a sharp angle. When the fork lifts aren't there, the Audi Q7 of one of their employees still blocks the sidewalk. Reported to 311, you can guess the outcome.
I asked @sf311 on Twitter why these things don't get enforced, but parking scooters on sidewalks does . The answer:
> These scooters do not have a license plate. So it does not fall under SFMTA DPT.
> DPW BSM permits use of and enforces ordinances regarding public areas, as pertains to blocking items that don't have a license.
>> These scooters do not have a license plate. So it does not fall under SFMTA DPT.
>> DPW BSM permits use of and enforces ordinances regarding public areas, as pertains to blocking items that don't have a license.
> : https://twitter.com/jonemo/status/985989669895553024
Excellent example of Red Tape in the wild.
This is just another case of people being blind to the convenience and privilege they already have and kicking off when other people attempt to get such convenience.
It’s an easy problem for cities to regulate.
When it comes to things I've had to avoid on SF sidewalks, the scooters are a non-problem. Far more often I am stepping over used needles, feces, and garbage. There are some alleys where I'm forced to walk in the road because the sidewalks are taken up with tents. Yet scooters are the thing we want to crack down on? What absurd priorities.
Human waste, needles, garbage on the sidewalk is the result of hundreds of bad actors, which correspondingly takes significantly more resources to deal with. (And on that note, the state of Texas is the worst offender. Their official policy for dealing with their homeless during the Perry era, and still their unofficial policy, was to give their homeless showers and then a bus ticket to SF.)
That's an incredible story, especially from a Europe where immigration controls is on everyone's lips.
Informally, I recall learning that the 'solution' for inhuman insane asylums was to just release everyone and close them down. That's quite probably where a good portion of the 'homeless' problem comes from; there are of course also untreated veterans and just pure scam-artist pan-handlers.
The actual solution is also a difficult and politically impalpable issue:
* national healthcare including drug addition treatment and mental health
* an unending 'new deal'
* + everyone trained to aptitude
* + non-broken-window fallacy job assurance
* adequate housing of actual quality near jobs
But yeah I can see it being difficult to prove, and harder to action. If one state wanted to sue the other, what is the process? Congress? Supreme court?
Nebraska and Oklahoma vs Colorado was recently declined to be heard by the Supreme Court.
There's no immigration controls between the states because we're all part of the same country. Don't think it'd even be legal to try it, ever.
The only real "immigration controls" we have are for produce at the California border to control the immigration of insects, people are free to go wherever they want. Oh, and those annoying Border Control checkpoints not at the actual border to impede the movement of foreign nationals.
I agree that there's a problem to be solved but DC is far from squeaky clean...
Real numbers: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-has-the-highest-home...
If a scooter is poorly parked in a high traffic area, people tend to move it out of the way. If it's in a low traffic area, then there's almost always other stuff in the way as well.
So let's nip it in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem and then use scooters as an example to rationalize the bigger problems with sidewalks.
As an aside, I always found it odd when they mount street signs in the middle of sidewalks.
In the key markets for these things - there is no presumption of parking. I imagine avoiding parking is the #1/#2 reason for most users would use this service (I'd include ride sharing here too). I specifically don't have a car in San Francisco because I have nowhere to park it.
When dockerless bikes were launched in other markets (e.g. Sydney, Melbourne) it really was a mess. Bikes thrown in rivers. Stacked up as hazards. In trees. On the top of stuff in general. And Melbourne is a much more bike-friendly city than many North American ones. But it was still a huge bomb. It's probably sensible for the SFMTA to at least consider the consequences and stage a rollout.
The SFMTA was actually being pretty co-operative. And for a government agency, they were moving pretty fast - i.e. getting stuff going in weeks/months. Instead, one of the companies launched early on St Patrick's Day. When the others felt they were losing first mover advantage, they did too.
Alternatively we could drop the entitlement to drive and park cars everywhere and the regulations forcing that choice on the country.
But either way, I’m all for bikes and scooters etc. getting the same benefit that cars get.
Most places in the US at least are not very livable without a car. You majorly hurt commerce and people's quality of life by removing vehicles without completely changing the layout of cities to make them work with other options.
Not that we shouldn't pursue those sorts of changes but that thinking of it as "entitlement" is shallow and not constructive. The entire system was engineered around the car. To remove the car you have to reengineer the system.
Let me rephrase that for you: In most place in the US public transport is woefully under-funded, under-utilized, and overly stigmatized (as a thing only poor 'others' would use).
That is changing, slowly, as places that basically gave up on public transport are discovering that less and less people in their cities want to own a car.
Also could be US cities have no transit, requiring space-intensive auto infrastructure, so they're more spread out.
At some point in our nation's history (namely right after WW2), it was decided that cars, suburbia, and the Interstate highway system was the way forward, and not dense, closely packed cities + public transport + more railways.
Note that we might not think about this now, but cities before WW2 were often disease-ridden, filthy places. The antibiotic revolution did not really come into full swing until after the war. There were reasons people made those choices back then, and some of them we have forgotten since the problems they faced were mitigated.
We're now revisiting whether that choice has outlived its usefulness, but if something took 50 years to build, you can bet replacing it will take just as long.
China never had the luxury of making that choice during its development; it was either public transit or nothing.
Look at a big box store, for instance - most of the land is parking, not the store itself. A freeway interchange can take as much land as en entire neighborhood. Meanwhile you can have tens of thousands of people in a city centre all within walking distance of one another. But you can't do that if you pave over most of the land.
Also, it's illegal in most of the US to build infrastructure that isn't suited to an auto-first lifestyle, mostly through parking minimums but also Level-of-service considerations that force large, wide streets.
In California, SB827 just died a sad death. It would have allowed buildings up to 5 stories near high-frequency transit stops. Now those people who would have lived in those buildings will have to live farther from transit, so they'll drive. They'll need parking too, so we'll need to use land that would have gone to homes/businesses/etc for their parking. Also gas stations, more road capacity, etc. The homes they end up living in will be harder to reasonably serve with transit, because of course they're farther apart.
Yet old neighborhoods near cities built _before_ those rules are often very expensive, suggesting that more people would like to live in them than are able to. The first thing that comes to mind is the nicer areas of Berkeley, or South Park, San Diego, for instance. It's funny you note railways though because they were largely the original enablers of sprawl (though I have no problem with railway-served suburbs! the problem is largely that we got rid of the rail service).
IIRC, that's ahistorical and getting the causation backwards. American cities used to be denser with more public transit (e.g. trollies) before cars became common. The reason cities are spread out is cars enabled the residents to spread out, since that's what they wanted to do. That established a new pattern of development that makes density more difficult.
Those things that make driving more pleasant also make walking less pleasant (walking next to Wilshire blvd in LA isn't exactly pleasant, for instance), so more people drive, so more people demand auto-oriented infrastructure, and so on.
Public transit is much less convenient and desirable when the 1) distance between adjacent stops is too large, 2) there are too many stops between different destinations, and/or 3) the stops at a particular location are too infrequent. I think all of those undesirable factors increase as density decreases.
Using a personal car effectively reduces #1 to zero, #2 to zero, and increases #3 to infinity.
Unsurprisingly those neighborhoods have poor transit service. A shame, because in the example I think of there was once a rail line right through the neighborhood; it's what caused the neighborhood to get built in the first place.
If only _I_ decide to start taking a helicopter to work it's fantastic. If it starts to become popular to do so it will be a hassle, so people might push for rules about minimum helipad counts for buildings and building density because having thousands of people commuting by helicopter causes loads of congestion. As a result of both of those things buildings will need to be even farther apart. In fact, it might push them so far apart that it's impractical to get between them via foot, transit, or maybe even car. As a result, everyone uses a helicopter to get anywhere now, except for the poor chumps who can't afford one and are stuck driving.
You misspelled "in most places in the US public transport cannot meet people's needs". Yes, it can in inner cities, but most of the US is not inner cities.
I assume that number has only gone up since 2010.
"Urban areas" includes where I live, which is not dense enough for public transportation to work well. Reading the article you cited, it looks like about half of the population labeled "urban" by the Census Bureau lives in areas that are like mine (or even less dense).
You lose me here. I live in a major metro area and public transportation works fine, even out into the suburbs where it is not as dense, but the public transit spokes out to the major hubs and people drive to those transit stations and park for the day.
Public transportation works for the vast majority of the country.
- Walking, biking, etc. are out since there's very little mixed-use land. Getting out of your residential area is already outside what one could reasonably be expected to bike. Your nearest grocery store is even further.
- Fixed path transport is always being proposed but getting the coverage and schedule that would make people give up their cars is always ludicrously cost prohibitive. There are too many areas to hit and few people in each area which makes each stop basically unprofitable.
- Buses face exactly the same problems. Within the densest parts of the city they work well but they don't work well in sparse residential areas because it's not profitable to run them at convenient schedules for small populations that trickle in and out.
And we're talking about millions of people. Rearrange everything isn't exactly a viable path forward.
In related news, SB-827, Weiner's bill to increase housing density near public transportation, died in committee today: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/04/17/major-california-hous...
I would love for us to re-engineer the system. The first step is removing the entitlement.
I interpret GP’s “entitlement” bit as the thinking that cars should be at the center of cities. Good or bad, I think the majority of people are still currently in that mentality.
absent subsidies, this would not be the case
There are over 800 cyclist deaths, from being hit by cars, every year in the United States. How many pedestrians have been killed by a cyclist hitting them?
Forcing someone biking at 7 mph off the sidewalk and onto the street creates more danger then it protects us from.
How many pedestrians have been killed by a cyclist hitting them?
"Overall, 7,904 pedestrians in New York State (including New York City) were treated in a hospital for injuries caused by a person on a bicycle between 2004 and 2011. In California, the number was 6,177 between 2005 and 2011."
They are presumably already using the sidewalks.
It doesn’t matter where you are relative to them, cars are dangerous.
They are presumably already using the sidewalks.
Is this adjusted for location? I imagine people may bike on sidewalks more in dangerous-for-cyclist cities.
According to the CDC, most (72%) of bicycle deaths occur outside of intersections, so this may even be an acceptable risk. Most fatal crashes occur near, but not in intersections - biking on the sidewalk completely avoids them.
Also, when you're biking on the sidewalk, your odds of getting doored into traffic go down substantially.
Cars aren't the only thing with doors, but they are the only thing that will door you into traffic. Doors flush with buildings are also quite rare, and are quite rarely opened. (Except store doors - but you don't want to bike near them anyways, unless you want to run into a sign, or a table, or an outdoor display.)
Amen, but it ain't gonna happen. Not with billions spent on making cars that drive and park themselves.
One feature of the system for enforcing parking ordinances, is that if your car is illegally parked, you're on the hook. Your license plate is tied to your identity, and you will be found. Even rentals or shares could have a way to identify the most recent user, otherwise the rental company has to eat the fine. With some random bike or scooter, not so easy, if there is not some kind of enforced numbering system.
I'm also guessing that with things such as bikes that are cheap enough (e.g., bikes and scooters), a growth strategy for a start-up is to address availability and ease of use first, and deal with cleaning up their mess later. Move fast and break things.
I'm an avid cyclist and cycling advocate, so I'd love to see bike sharing thrive, but I'm not brimming with great ideas.
It's amazing how much urban space we're willing to dedicate to cars in the way of streets and parking (most of it free!), and yet bicycle parking is often a rarity.
When I drive by a school when they let out, the 20mph speed limit is a bit pointless because there are hardly any kids walking home (unlike the mobs when I was a kid). Their moms are all waiting in a long line with their SUVs idling (for some reason they never turn off the motor) while they text away.
It's even easier to do that with sharing services because the company name is plastered all over the vehicle. Fine the company, they can eat the cost or find some way to keep track of how to pass it along to the user.
Edit- I suppose I have just invented docking.
Even if there is, someone else could have moved the scooter after it was properly parked.
Yes, this seems like an efficient and practical solution. Personally very happy to see how quickly people have begun adopting alternative transportation options, need for cars is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
My friend messaged me giving me the heads up that this article was on Hacker News. I was really surprised!
I'll do my best to reply to some of the thoughtful comments.
The solution is obvious (make dedicated lanes, pave them like a sidewalk) but it would mean taking a lot of space away from cars, not as painless as 1 spot per block.
As for the pain that might cause drivers: bike/scooter lanes are a much higher bandwidth form of urban transportation. So more people on scooters/bikes means less people in cars. This actually means traffic reduction, even with fewer car lanes. Now add to that the increased access/usage of public transit (a much higher bandwidth form of urban mobility) because of easy access to bus/subway stations thanks to dockless bikes/scooters, and now we're talking about significant traffic reduction. Not to mention cleaner air, reduced emissions, etc. So drivers should actually be in favor of more bike infrastructure. Counterintuitive, but that's how this particular complex system functions!
I've found all of these solutions are much more enjoyable and cost efficient than a car. Generally excited to see less and less people using cars in the city.
Yes, blocked sidewalks is the issue. And while I'm glad the author suggests a remedy — of creating designated parking zones — this is essentially describing dockable bikes. In my experience, docked bikes do not solve the convenience and availability problem well enough.
I've used dockless bikes recently in both Europe and Asia, and in the cities of both, dockless bikes are being literally strewn about the place. Flower-beds, narrow sidewalks, pedestrian junctions, private grounds, etc. are all being used as dumping grounds for users' dockless bike destinations.
I've even been on wild-goose-chases after multiple consecutive 'available' bikes, only to realise that they must be literally taken inside peoples' property and homes.
For the former, I'm pretty sure it's simply a 'not my problem / not my bike' issue. Private bike owners usually have to lock their bikes up somewhere out of the way, and generally seem more respectful of their bikes' surroundings. With dockless bikes, it's just to easy to dump your bike in the middle of the sidewalk and not have to deal with any consequences. Certain bike hire companies are trying to deal with this by incentivizing certain parking spaces; however, why would you bother getting +10.CoolBikeXP for going out of your way when you can chuck your bike on someone's lawn right outside your office?
And as for the latter, because people seem to be getting away with it. People are so lovely [/s] that they'd seriously consider just keeping a rental bike inside their home, thus ruining the service for nearby users.
I want dockless bikes to be the future, and I think they should be, but we really need to fix users' docking behaviour, or else we'll end up with tragedy-of-the-commons type consequences once enough people start using them.
 — this is a tenuous analogy, but for lack of better phrasing, I'm referring to the ultimate widespread abuse of potential public / open docking spaces.
There are definitely solutions out there to these problems, but I think the space is still relatively new for companies to have these problems fully addressed. I don't share the sentiment or the entitlement of the article, though. Rather than addressing the problems, they're largely complaining about vehicles that don't really have a choice but to be parked for a long period of time (i.e. lorries running deliveries).
A more apt comparison would be Avis, Hertz, etc but I think that would still be disingenuous. Car rental companies certainly penalize you for abandoning a rental car whereas these scooter/bike rental companies just let you dump them wherever.
We forget that cities are quite old and cars are very new and our acceptance of streets being for cars isn't actually historically normal and is really a huge concession by cities and citizens to historically public, spaces for walking, commerce, festivals, meetups, musicians, artists, kids, the elderly, etc. The right to freely use and leave bikes/scooters anywhere is simply one tiny push back to this historic uses of streets.
We don’t ask GM, Ford, or Toyota to solve car parking, or even
pedestrian deaths, traffic, and other car issues. So why are we asking
LimeBike, Bird, or Spin to figure out bike/scooter storage?
> pick up their cars and drop them off _anywhere_ in the city
Really? One may not park a car _anywhere_. There are typically laws dictating when, where, and for how long. Whether the laws are respected or enforced are a different matter.
Individuals inconsiderately stranding means of transportation across the city is patently unsafe. I can sure as hell see a car misparked on the sidewalk when walking and avoid it because it is big and in the field of view; but with a bikecycle or scooter there is no guarantee given its small size. Each day feels like game of Mario Kart: am I going to trip over a banana someone left in the streets? FFS.
I would be happy if the cities issued fines/citations to the individuals responsible for improperly discarding the conveyances. A protocol already exists for rental car companies; why not for rental scooters/bikes? This is perfectly solvable.
(I am no defender of automobiles and view even the most urban cities of the United States as hopelessly car-bound.)
The law is broken so often it might as well not exist AT all, at least in my country.
Vigilantes here have started to take pictures of cars that are "parked like shit" to shame the drivers publicly because the law has been insufficient, the punishments not applied often enough or not harsh enough to truly dissuade car drivers from not parking on a sidewalk, bikelane, in front of a shop or even at times directly on a part of a road...
The website gallery isn't showing a tiny minority. I see examples of this every day as soon as I leave my home.
Cars have a looot of negative side effects and externalities. Global warming, 30,000 deaths each year in the US alone, expensive infrastructure/mobility, incredibly energy inefficiency, geopolitical instability due to oil and mining, etc, etc.
> even the most urban cities of the United States as hopelessly car-bound.
To be perfectly honest, that's what I thought too,= until this mass adoption of bikes/scooters that came out of nowhere. It's a super interesting development that just might make cities less car dependent.
Clarified in the article. The argument was about the user experience of cars: "Automobile parking is all around. From street parking, to business parking lots, to single family homes with driveways and garages, to large parking structures. Thus, the user experience for drivers is essentially go anywhere, park anywhere."
Supported by the observation of what happens when we sometimes can't find parking: frustration. Meaning, we expect to be able to park wherever we go in a city.
There are many options, and city governments are entirely appropriate to make the choices. I encourage you to take your grievance there.
It's not a "different matter". What affects people's lives is the law as it's experienced and enforced, not what's written in the statute book.
Everybody is trying to sell you something. The worst are trying to sell you what you want. The best are trying to sell you what you need.
Of course, there is always an alternative. In this case: walk everywhere, reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Also, if I really have somewhere to be, I can bike substantially faster and be OK, but running for half an hour with a heavy backpack and bags is much harder.
I spend a decent amount of time getting around on a bike - an hour and a half yesterday, maybe a half an hour today, so just the last two days alone I'd have spent twelve hours walking! That's totally unacceptable.
Finally, I imagine that biking (although easier) isn't that much less healthy than walking. Still much healthier than driving.
Plus good public transportation.
This leads to large groups of bikes all colocated on the nearest sidewalk, safely in the public domain. From a practical standpoint this is an issue when the sidewalk gets fully blocked, although it is not an everyday situation.
Nobody really does dockless bikes with their personal bikes because of theft.
For bikes, sure.
These e-scooters are not your typical kid scooters, they have pneumatic tires, and those tires are bigger than the 80-90mm skateboard tires that are available on electric skateboards.
Here is one example: http://www.mi.com/us/mi-electric-scooter/
They are not green. They are not convenient. And cityfolk hate them. Go back to LA bros.
In all seriousness, Have A Go is not affiliated with any bike sharing/renting companies. If you visit our site, you'll see that we are actually based on the ownership model. Our mission is to help transition us to green, healthy, fun, affordable, and efficient modes of personal mobility, and that's why we wrote this piece! Not because of the $13,500 dollars we received......d'oh!!!
But to be 100% honest, if I was offered payment, I would consider it. Reason being: I truly believe in lightweight electric mobility and have dedicated full-time hours to help expand their use. In exploring ways of making this financially sustainable, if it's consult fees, so be it! If that happens, I'll disclose.
As for sounding PR-y, I hope you'll judge the post again on its merits. I've been very influenced by the wealth of urban planning literature indicating how walking/biking make for great, rich, and pleasant cities and how cars make for dangerous streets and negatively affect communities. I also live in LA and find it very frustrating that we have so much poverty/homeless here and that access to affordable mobility like bikes without risking ones life isn't an option since cars are so dominant.
So I'm genuinely excited and hopeful for any prospect of shifting our mobility away from them.
> For decades now, cars have gotten the royal treatment. Users were able to pick up their cars and drop them off anywhere in the city. It was simply expected that anywhere one goes in a city, one could be guaranteed a free, giant space to park one’s private 4000 pound box, no questions asked. Sure, in some dense areas, payment is now required. Yet private vehicle parking is basically considered a right. We know this because when we can’t find parking for more than two minutes, we get upset. 5 minutes? We get very upset.
Isn't this a false comparison? You're not allowed to park your car in any random place you like, you're required to park in specially marked and designated areas. For instance, I can't park my car in the middle of a street or in a park without getting it ticketed and towed. Isn't the big nuisance of dockless bikes that they are literally littered on sidewalks and other public spaces?
I don't recall there being any uproar about docked bike rentals, which are much more comparable to the current situation with cars.
You can probably get away with parking illegally more often than you imagine. (Note that I'm not saying that you should, or excusing bad behavior from dockless bike users.)
Take an example from the article: cars illegally parked in the bike lane. In my experience* most drivers who park in the bike lane do so out of convenience, not a lack of options. I imagine the same is true for dockless bikes/scooters. Many people are either oblivious or aware but don't care that others are irritated or harmed.
* Which may differ from yours. See here for details: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16603294
Many bike lanes Austin has added or "enhanced" in the past 5 years I've lived here were wastes of time and money, or even worse than what was present before.
The cycle track on Guadalupe is a good example of an "improvement" that was actually worse. It's not deserted, but I almost never use it because it makes cyclists much less visible. Far too often a driver will turn without checking for oncoming cyclists. No thanks, I take the lane. Not that I'm that much slower than traffic there anyway. The speed limit is 35 mph and it's downhill, so going 30 mph isn't that hard. It would have made a lot more sense to add the cycle track on the uphill side of the road, though that wouldn't solve the visibility problem.
(The installation of the cycle track also greatly increased the number of wrong-way cyclists. I've found that these cyclists firmly believe that going the wrong way is safer. The statistics show quite clearly otherwise.)
I think a better solution is for drivers to get used to cyclists being on the road. Driving slower for a couple minutes at most before you can safely pass a cyclist is nowhere near as bad as most drivers seem to think it is. Some drivers become livid...
You cannot completely block a bicycle lane, but part of your vehicle can partly cover the lane.
In Austin, TX, parking in the bike lane is generally legal unless the signs specifically say it's not. The city has slowly been changing the signs, but there are many bike lanes where parking is perfectly legal.
Add two lanes for riding the bike and I'll also stop interfering with car traffic.
But even for regular bikes, it can be an issue when there is not enough parking. Here in Cambridge, over the last few years, the city has installed a fairly large number of parking rings for locking up bikes, and it still can't keep up. And don't even get me started on parking lots at supermarkets, etc., that don't have any racks or have crappy racks made for kids' bikes.
I'm particularly irritated by racks which are so close to buildings that they can only be used at half capacity. Whoever installed them obviously has no idea how they are used.
In Austin, many bike racks also are coated in bird poop, though I'm not sure what can be done about this aside from regularly cleaning the racks. I never ran into this problem anywhere else.
Presumably because the racks are underneath trees or shade (which the grackles also like) to avoid baking your bike in the sun.
Austin gets really hot in the summer and non-reflective surfaces can get hot enough to impart burns.
I think that modern cities have way too much space allocated to car parking but it is in no way equivalent to a company pushing off one of their major costs onto society
Isn't that worse? If they were car share cars, then at least local residents would be able to use them, but instead, all of those cars parked on city streets are usable by only a single person each.
For example, the city street I used to live on had around 250 housing units and about 40 street parking spaces. It would have been nicer if those 40 cars were car-share cars rather than being tied up by the 40 residents that got there first.
But when I lived in that city, I'd have paid far less overall if I used car-share instead of owning my own car. When I park my own car on the public street, that space is dedicated 100% to me. When a car-share car is parked there, then several people benefit from that space.
the market stabilizes at the benefit-annoyance intersection.
this means bikes, ride sharing, internet, tv, autonomous cars will all annoying be as hell but not quite annoying enough to quit doing it. this of course sucks and is why there should be regulations.