Street Justice Newsletter: Vol 2, Edition 46 (3/29/2020)
|Gordon Chaffin||22 hr|| 1|
— — — — This the free, weekly edition of Street Justice. — — — —
More Metro Areas Should Try Out Shared, Electric Mopeds. DC Should Expand Its Program. Service Should Go to Northern Virginia & Suburban Maryland.
This week, in my DC Line column, I give a raving review Revel’s shared, electric mopeds currently operating in DC, NYC, Austin, Miami, and Oakland, CA.
“Revel’s fleet — sometimes called motor scooters or mopeds — offers a means to actually reduce car trips, potentially yielding a higher percentage of journeys fueled by electrons instead of gasoline. Piloting the seated mopeds is comparatively easy, and Revel’s fleet features plum cushions, so trips in excess of 5 miles don’t faze your rear end. In contrast, the standing electric scooters ubiquitous in the District work for only the most physically able and confident urban dwellers able to afford housing close to work.”
“Shared, electric mopeds serve an important environmental benefit. Their greater capabilities mean that more people may be willing to forego cars for trips where the shared, standing scooters prove unappealing. This increased value is partly about distance. Mopeds work well for 3- to 10-mile trips, while standing scooter trips tend to exhaust riders’ knees and elbows after 1 to 2 miles. A first-time moped rider can more easily gain confidence and command of handling after five to 10 minutes, and the underlying vehicle is more stable.”
“…for traffic congestion and other negative effects of car dependence, my reporting points to shared electric mopeds as a powerful positive force. More American cities should try this out and DC should expand its program, eliminating Revel’s fleet size limit and inviting applications from other operators.”
Sexually Explicit Material Attacks Community Group, Zoom Bombing Highlights Need for Technical Support
Thursday night, attackers disrupted the virtual meeting of ANC 7B (Fort Dupont/Hillcrest) — inserting sexually explicit audio and forcing the Commission’s leadership to close the meeting. The “zoom-bombing” attack came from online bullies taking advantage of coronavirus-related growth in video conferencing activity. The bushwhackers highlight the tough position of DC’s ANCs and other DC-area local government bodies: they don’t have budgets for A/V services and are not supported by technical experts, so they’re scrambling to figure out audio/video platforms while they try to conduct business and represent citizens on matters like the current public health emergency.
So far during coronavirus mitigation, several DC-area government groups and civic organizations have met virtually. However, because these groups aren’t supported with A/V funding or support, it’s been a mishmash of volunteers figuring out patchwork solutions. Street Justice reporter Gordon Chaffin wrote two weeks ago that DC Council should support DC’s neighborhood commissions with greater administrative support. Thursday’s video conference attack further proves the point.
DC App Adds Features to Track Availability to Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer, & Other Coronavirus Supplies
OurStreets will launch a new feature set within their existing app — OurStreets Supplies — to create “a community-driven platform for consumers, retailers, and policymakers that helps minimize the spread of COVID-19.” The company launched in January as a public space problem-reporting app, after beta-testing as Hows My Driving?. “OurStreets Supplies will go live in the OurStreets app very soon. The app is simple: an intuitive reporting interface for shoppers and retailers to record inventory of supplies and a map of available supply levels for shoppers and regulators to better understand the supply level of essential goods in their city.”
Here’s how to help the company get the supply tracking feature running asap.
Bus Cuts, Bike Shops, and Who/What is "Essential" during Coronavirus?
State and local public officials— and Federal leaders in Congress — are making quick decisions now that reveal the underlying biases of society and the (mis-)perceptions they have about public space. There’s an important debate going on about what and who of the public environments we share in the street, in public buildings, on the train or bus — and the privately-owned-but-publically-focused “third places” like bars, restaurants, and gyms.
Yesterday, in the process of escalating coronavirus mitigation, Governors of Maryland and Virginia — plus DC Mayor Muriel Bowser — determined that bike shops are essential businesses allowed to stay open despite each leaders’ closure orders. This follows or coincides with similar determinations in New York, Baltimore, and LA. It seemed to many frustratingly dissonant for politicians to order bike shops closed but list auto repair ships as essential when the figures promote bikes are alternatives to cars for necessary trips/commuting. Moreover, in the DC-area, the population of transit-dependent, service economy workers is enduring significant bus cuts. Those people are also more likely to be dependent on bikes as low-cost commuting options.
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