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  • Zipping through the streets.

  • Blocking the sidewalks.

  • Dockless electric scooters have appeared virtually overnight in dozens of cities.

  • So far this year, millions of rides were taken on little machines just like this.

  • And their operators have raised billions in investments.

  • So if you haven't yet, chances are you're going to see stuff like this pretty soon.

  • We see the scooters navigating through pedestrians.

  • We see them being left anywhere.

  • And this creates problems for a number of people.

  • Problems indeed.

  • If people on dockless scooters or bikes keep using the sidewalksit's going to get

  • crowded.

  • the purpose of the sidewalk has changed considerably over the last 100 years.

  • when cities first started building sidewalks, the reason for them was to accommodate pedestrians

  • on the street.

  • But this was not the only use of sidewalks.

  • A lot of that happens before the automobile.

  • Here's a street scene from San Francisco in 1906.

  • Notice the man, holding a baby, just, walking straight through traffic.

  • Nobody seems too concerned. they are quite relaxed about it and they also know how to

  • navigate the street.

  • But, eventually cars got bigger and faster.

  • Traffic had to separate.

  • We start seeing with the proliferation of the cars, many many cities start widening

  • their streets.

  • and of course this happens at the expense of the sidewalk because a lot of times the

  • buildings were pretty much set.

  • So a sidewalk that was 10 — 12 feet becomes 6 — 8 feet.

  • Which is pretty unfair for pedestrians.

  • Because there is a lot more happening on sidewalks than walking.

  • There's the frontage zone

  • in cities, a business might put a cafe or signs here.

  • Then there's the furniture zone, full of streetlights, newspaper racks, and benches.

  • Because sidewalks have frontage and furniture zones, there's less space to travel than it might seem.

  • Some vigilantes have taken the space issue into their own hands

  • And many cities have used pilot programs to really get the scooters

  • under control.These pilots are likely to extend.

  • After all, cities need alternative modes of transportation.

  • First it takes vehicles off the street Because people who might be using ride hail,

  • or taxis, or another personal vehicle, might instead opt for

  • this other solution

  • if a person takes a subway or a bus to a certain station or stop, and they still live a mile

  • away from that station, they have to figure out how to get there

  • Even in cities with exceptional levels of public transportation, many residents have

  • to travel a 'last mile'

  • If dockless vehicles are deployed in areas like this, residents could have more options

  • for transportation.

  • And not just rely on cars.

  • Because what many people will do is say 'I don't have a last mile option that

  • works for me.

  • I'm just going to drive the whole way.

  • The cash influx for scooter-share is a really a bet.

  • Investors hope that e-scooters can capture demand in underserved transportation deserts,

  • without adding congestion

  • And the scooters might pull that off.

  • One survey found robust support for e-scooters as a substitute for short driving trips, or

  • as a complement to public transit.

  • But the scooters won't work if their riders have to compete for space with pedestrians

  • and cars.

  • we're reaching a point in cities across america, where it's time to get people out

  • of their cars and allow people more modes.

  • Smaller transportationbikes, segways, scootersthey only work when cities make

  • space for them.

  • Planners can do this by designing 'complete streets'.

  • So complete streets is a new term that entered the lexicon of planning and transportation

  • planning relatively recently.

  • but basically it is inspired by earlier streets where you used to have all these different

  • uses social uses of the streets and sidewalks not only vehicular users

  • Complete streets start by reducing the amount of space given to cars.

  • Making space for protected bus bulbs, wider sidewalks, street level plazas, and buffered

  • bike lanes.

  • Scooters will be a more realistic last mile option when cities build networks of complete

  • streets.

  • So, worry not, dear pedestrianseven if the scooters are here to stay

  • Cities are drafting standards for this brave new world of alternative transportation.

  • With any luck, the love for scooters just might push cities to invest in safer, more

  • accomodating streets.

  • Hi, thanks for watching and a special thanks to the University of California for hitting

  • the streets to help us make this episode.

  • They also partnered with us on our Climate Lab series, check out this video about the

  • environmental effects of online shopping.

Zipping through the streets.

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B1 US Vox transportation space sidewalk mile street

Don't blame scooters. Blame the streets.

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/18
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