Save the Ducking Scooter Companies

Street Justice Newsletter: Vol 2, Edition 68 (5/17/2020)

Street Justice Video Report: Save the Ducking Scooter Companies

Shared, electric scooter companies rode the same wave of venture capital investment that bought Uber market dominance in hundreds of American cities. But, those micro-mobility companies ran into greater regulatory hurdles than ride-hailing and the VC money dried up quicker. Is the current global public health crisis the last train leaving the electric scooter station? How and why should the government support the flourishing of scooter companies? In Street Justice this week, we explain why it's important that we save the ducking scooter companies.

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DC Doing Less for Pedestrian COVID Safety than Tampa

Wednesday’s Street Justice reported exclusively that DDOT Director Jeff Marootian told Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero Working Group DC is different from the dozens of other American cities that are closing streets or curbside lanes to thru traffic. Marootian insisted that DC can’t do the low-cost, low-maintenance tactical urbanism projects done by such forward-looking cities as Tampa, Florida. Despite the recommendations from months-long deliberations of DC Advisory Councils on Pedestrian, Bike, and Accessibility Issues, Director Marootian said Mayor Bowser opposes those changes. The Mayor‘s staff — specifically her Deputy Mayor for Infrastructure who runs the Vision Zero Working Group — hold veto power over DDOT projects (e.g., 9th Street NW cycletrack). Given the Mayor’s opposition to open/slow streets, Marootian said his agency will focus on bike-focused projects that were already in the works and don’t significantly change road space allocation to make social distancing and sit-down dining possible.

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My Birthday is Monday!

Tomorrow — May 18th — I turn 31. I usually don’t tell people it’s my birthday, because I don’t want that to obligate anyone to (feigned) celebration or gifting. I’m announcing it this year to subscribers because I want to say again how grateful I am for your support. I’m building something unique with Street Justice thanks to your readership, your monthly pledges, your donations, your virtual meeting/livestream referrals, and your news tips.

This week was another terrible week with media layoffs. A lot of America’s best reporters have lost their jobs in the past three months (and three years) — including local Washington reporters. I started Street Justice Dec18 in part because I thought it was a toss-up as to where job security was worse: a staff job anywhere other than the WaPost/NYT or starting a small biz/independent news organization. Sadly, I’m sure in May 2020 that my path with Street Justice is more stable financially than fighting amongst the 8 million underemployed journalists for the 800 staff jobs left in the country.

I hope you’ll do one of a few things this year for my birthday:

DC Residents Depend on DDOT for Camera Traffic Enforcement, But They Won’t Say That Publically

Friday’s Street Justice reported exclusively that DDOT has full control of DC’s automatic traffic enforcement cameras now. According to the testimony of a high-ranking DC Police Commander — and their spokesperson confirmed this to us — the law enforcement agency has completed the handover to the transportation department forced by Mayor Bowser’s 2019 Executive Order. Who has jurisdiction over the devices — managing the system, maintaining the cameras, and relocating them — has been a years-long political fight. Perhaps the most derelict actor in this situation is DDOT, who has for six months told Street Justice, key stakeholders, and frightened residents that the agency would have an announcement coming soon about the camera transition. Beyond the agency’s opaque communications, it hasn’t seemed desire an expansion of the automated enforcement program beyond the artificially low limit placed by Mayor Bowser on the numbers of deployed cameras.

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