Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Brief update on dockless scooters (and bike sharing)

Earlier in the week I wrote about dockless scooters in Santa Monica, "Dockless scooters as an example of a lot of money sloshing around in venture capital."

Somehow I missed the roughly simultaneous news that LimeBike is adding e-scooters and electric bikes to its mix. 

It's likely doing this across their entire portfolio, although there are reports about this in Dallas ("LimeBike Plans To Add Electric Scooters And Bikes This Spring," KERA/Public Media) and DC ("First the dockless bikes, now scooters," Washington Post).

As far as e-scooters go, it means that an exclusively e-scooter operation like Bird is likely to be "lapped" by multi-mode sharing operations.

OTOH, Bird can, too, expand into bike sharing. But that requires a lot more capital than $100 million, especially as dockless bike sharing is in its "wild wild west" mode of expansion disconnected from business considerations.

I didn't write about it, but I was thinking about dockless bike share's business story as being comparable to the start of the railroad or interurban electric railway sectors, with various attempts at creating competing services, many of which either never really got off the ground, or ended up merging into other firms.

Apparently, in business schools this is called the "Consolidation Curve" (Harvard Business Review). From the article:
Everyone knows that most new industries are fragmented and consolidate as they mature. But how does that work exactly? Our long-term analysis of mergers around the globe has found that most industries progress predictably through a clear consolidation life cycle—and that companies can plot with some precision where they fall in the cycle.
Although the article's research is on larger companies and tends to occur over a much longer period of time than is likely for dockless bike sharing.

Similarly, with e-bikes, this development by LimeBike and Spin ("Bike-sharing startup Spin is getting into scooter-sharing," TechCrunch), which likely will be copied by other market participants, especially the better capitalized firms like Mobikes and Ofo, makes the e-bike exclusive dock sharing firm, Jump, similarly vulnerable to the firms with multi-pronged sharing platform.

The big question is how many users, who they are, and whether or not they switch from automobiles.  The Wall Street Journal ran a positive article about dockless bike sharing ("Bike share brings promise, and pitfalls"). 

I am still generally leery because the issue isn't access as much as it is willingness to use.  Lack of access to bikes or transit or shoes isn't why most people don't walk, bike, or use transit.  Although with the WSJ writer, he switched to the bikes instead of using ride hailing cars.

These systems tend to appeal to occasional users, rather than regular adherents to sustainable means.  Whether or not the widespread availability of dockless bikes shifts people from primarily using the automobile to sustainable modes is the key question.

And in terms of dockless systems adding functionality to the "sustainable mobility platform," it comes down to whether or not you want to use public funds to do so.  One can argue that the participation by for profit firms means public monies aren't required. 

But because there doesn't seem to be a good economic model for the business, especially with multiple firms participating in the market, it's hard to see a long term future for this element of the sector.

Switching from "all you can eat" pricing to paying by the ride raises the cost.  Note too that by switching from bike sharing membership systems to payment on a per ride basis, users of dockless systems pay 10x more, were they to ride at least twice daily, compared to membership in a traditional bike sharing system.

The Spin program has a monthly membership fee comparable to traditional bike share, but it's almost 4x the price of an annual membership in most places, and still more than double the highest priced system, Citibikes.

Paying more for electric propulsion. With e-scooters, the pricing is by the minute, plus a per use fee of $1.  By an e-scooter then, the cost for a 30 minute trip would be $7, while on a regular dockless bike the cost would be $1 and on a Jump e-bike, $2 for the same length of time.

Conclusion. It still makes more sense to own your own bike, as it's a lot cheaper and provides far more trip flexibility. However, in a place like NYC with high rates of bike theft and difficult storage conditions, alongside relatively short distances between activity centers, bike sharing can be a smart alternative.

I haven't used a dockless bike.  I don't see a need, since I use an owned bike.  But I "found" a LimeBike discarded in a neighborhood alley and so I rolled it out to a location on a nearby street, by picking it up and rolling it on the front wheel.

It started chirping at me to rent the bike or it would notify the police...

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Aldi to go into a multi-story mixed use development in Fairfax County

Somehow I missed this when it was first reported in the Washington Business Journal ("Aldi will anchor South Alex development in Fairfax County").

That's a big deal because up until this announcement, I believe all of their stores in the DC market have been traditional one story parking fronted stores, either as part of shopping centers or company-owned exclusive sites.

Although in the Minneapolis market, Aldi has already developed similar mixed use site stores in the city and the suburbs.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

BTMFBA: The Old Town Theatre in Alexandria, Virginia

-- "BTMFBA: the best way to ward off artist or retail displacement is to buy the building," 2016

Not much to say here.  If you want a theater/cinema to continue to function, because of the way the regional and national real estate industry is organized and because of the way that the movie distribution is organized, small independent theaters can't compete "in the market."

Speaking of "the market", I was struck by this description of it in a recent entry, "No spring in the UK air," in the Mainly Macro blog:
The political economy of modern Conservatism is extreme laissez faire in the following sense. The belief is that if you let businessmen (they are usually men) get on with things, and take away red tape, regulations, and reduce taxes, all will be well. There is no need to help with public sector investment and R&D initiatives, or worry about rent extraction: the private sector can always do things better itself. The public sector does not support the private sector, but just gets in the way.
Once the ownership of a theater-cinema building shifts to a real estate development firm it's about 100% likely that the building will no longer be used as a theater-cinema.

Asana Partners purchased the Old Town Theater, located at 815 1/2 King St., for $4.4 million in January. WBJ photo by DREW HANSEN.

The Alexandria Gazette-Packet ("Marquee Property in Alexandria: Asana seeks tenants for Old Town Theater") and the Washington Business Journal ("New owner of long-shuttered Old Town Theater is searching for a tenant. Will it remain a theater?") are reporting on how Asana Partners, the North Carolina-based real estate firm that now owns the building, is marketing the property.

Obviously, a NC-based firm isn't likely to prioritize "cultural" and community goals.  Furthermore, the firm's purchase of multiple buildings is evidence that the company is active in the Alexandria property market because it is a regionally/nationally important submarket ("Charlotte retail investor buys six more Old Town Alexandria buildings," WBJ).

Just as Rock Creek Property Group didn't as it related to the Takoma Theatre, which will soon become a clinic for Children's Hospital.

These firms aim to maximize the economic returns of its property portfolio.

In "Art, culture districts, and revitalization," I made the point that artistic disciplines need their own plans, including elements on facility ownership, management and access, and that they can't expect real estate developers to do this for them, putting cultural goals ahead of private benefit.

Relatedly, as discussed in the recent entry, "Mount Rainier aims to recapture the Kaywood Theater as a cultural anchor," if you want the building to remain a theater, you need to extract the building from the market.

There are hundreds of examples across the country, and even here and there in the DC and Baltimore market, most notably with the Avalon Theatre in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of DC, and small for profit businesses may own small theaters too, but usually it's their only business, like the people who own the Charles Theatre in Baltimore ("A Fan Saves an Art-Movie House in Baltimore," New York Times)..

However, having such a theater would be a natural complement to the Torpedo Factory art center (The Impact of the Torpedo Factory Art Center on the City of Alexandria, GMU) and would be important to the continued viability and competitiveness of Alexandria as a regionally significant retail and entertainment destination, which justifies the involvement of government and other stakeholders.

It's also an indicator of the need to have a business improvement district to better plan, manage, and advocate for the business district.  Although this course of action was recently rejected ("Alexandria abandons its Old Town BID quest," Washington Business Journal; "City manager advises against Business Improvement District in Alexandria," WTOP-radio).

Note that wrt "cultural plans" and "facilities elements" therein, privately owned cultural-entertainment assets need to be inventoried and listed, as well as monitored, to ensure their continued use as cultural and civic assets, even though they are part of the private sector but functioning more broadly.

Then with scenario planning, the local government has the plans in place to be able to act, if extraordinary involvement is required. In this particular case, I'd argue there is extranormal value in maintaining the use of this property as a cultural asset, because of its ability to draw patronage to the entire district.

The Grand Illusion cinema in Seattle's University District is one example ("Saving the Last Picture Shows," Seattle Times, 2003).

Laurelhurst cinema in Portland, Oregon.

Neighborhood-based cinemas still function in various Portland neighborhood commercial districts ("We Visited Every Neighborhood Movie Theater in Portland—Here's a rundown of the best cheap seats," Wilamette Week).

I think the New Hope Cinema Grill in Suburban Minneapolis is a great example too ("Outtakes Bar & Grill opening in New Hope," Sun-Post).

It would be useful to have a master list of such facilities, both public and private, across Virginia, to aid in developing such a proposal for Alexandria. I know of at least two, the Byrd Theatre in Carytown, Richmond and the soon to reopen Ashland Theatre in Ashland.


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Thursday, March 15, 2018

For the first time, Skyland Town Center's revitalization might have a chance: creating a community focused retail destination

Although looking at the renderings, I would say the development ought to be denser as it needs more higher income residents to help support the retail.

I've written about this subject a fair amount, the more than 20 year process to revitalize the Skyland Town Center, the displacement of locally owned businesses in the process, and the likely problem that there probably isn't enough demand to support it, given existing retail options, which of course is why the project is taking so long.

-- "Blaming Walmart for Skyland's failure is misdirected: the culprits are DC's economic development and elected officials," 2016
-- "Maybe the last word on Skyland Center and redevelopment," 2006

But yesterday's reports ("Andy Shallal eyeing Skyland for new restaurant," Washington Business Journal) that Andy Shallal, proprietor of the successful Busboys and Poets chainlet of restaurant, bookstore and event spaces, is going to put an anchor restaurant there, Eatonville.   From the article:
“I have been talking to them, and I’m hoping it will happen, but it depends on the deal, and depends on the timing,” he said, adding that the lease is not yet finalized. If the deal were to close, the opening would likely be in 2020.

Skyland, which was supposed to be home to one of several locations of Wal-Mart in the District, has struggled to get off the ground since the national retailer pulled out of the project in January 2016. That’s about to change, though, as developers WC Smith and Rappaport secured financing for the project in late February.
Now, unlike the success Shallal has experienced with Busboys and Poets, which now has four locations, four in DC and one in Hyattsville, Maryland and one in the Shirlington section of Arlington County, Virginia, and one coming to Anacostia, he hasn't been successful with Eatonville or its successors, and that might be a mark against putting that establishment at Skyland.

But it will provide a destination anchor, which is key.  The problem with little outposts, such as the failed Ray's The Steaks or a Yes Market, was probably three-fold.

-- "In lower income neighborhoods, are businesses supposed to be "community organizations" first?," 2012
-- "Revitalization in impoverished neighborhoods can be very difficult because different "stakeholders" have different understandings of what's at stake," 2014
-- "Real estate financing is the crucial element in enabling difficult projects," 2014

First, they were misconceived.  Second, they weren't well located.  Third, they were all alone, outposts, with little in the way of supportive complementary retail alongside, and not big enough in themselves to change the trajectory of retail success more generally.

But with judicious choice of tenants and the creation of active places, Skyland does have a chance and can remake the retail landscape East of the River.

The low scale Arts District Hyattsville retail node.  Google Street View image.

Lifestyling 2.0.  The model may be the little Arts District Hyattsville retail center on Route 1, anchored by Busboys and Poets and Yes Market, and other retail and restaurants. It became a destination for the area in terms of there being a paucity of experience retail.

Not that the particular part of Prince George's County doesn't have retail or restaurants. It does. It mostly chain retail. It's experience retail. The little district there, especially with Busboys and Poets, added a new wrinkle, and for the most part is successful (the pet store Big Bad Woof closed its location there).

Note that landing Eatonville as an anchor is more in keeping with what I recommended in 2016, "Ground up commercial revitalization and the Skyland Town Center project," in terms of developing a workable revitalization plan, and how it could have been done differently, to show results much earlier.

HOWEVER, I am not thinking so much about Eatonville, but Busboys and Poets, because those locations come with an event space, often a coffeehouse section, and a small bookstore.

Taking the discussion yesterday about "lifestyling" centers as exemplied by the development of the Bryn Mawr Village center in Greater Philadelphia ("How Bryn Mawr Village found its Main Line shopping niche," Philadelphia Inquirer), how would you go about creating a tenant mix at Skyland that would increase the likelihood of success while simultaneously achieving other objectives?

Positioning Skyland as a hub for community-focused/social enterprise retail. I'd say, be very specific and focused about creating community focused retail that also helps to support community economic development. E.g., I'd aim for a local coffee shop combined with a "we work" space modeled after and/or run by The Hive, which is run by the ARCH community development corporation.  Alternatively, it could be a combo of a "Made in DC" coffee shop and retail operation ("This Cafe and Boutique Is The Most DC Thing To Happen To DC," Washingtonian) + The Hive.

Create a Portland Mercado type space to incubate retail, a fashion/design cooperative retail/incubator space, etc. 

And a small bookstore operation, either as part of Eatonville like how B&P have bookstores (although except at the 14th and U location, they aren't always that great) or separately, like Upshur Street Books in Petworth.

An event underway at Red Emma's

Another alternative, if Eatonville is to stay strictly a restaurant, would be a space like the Red Emma's business cooperative progressive bookstore, meeting space, and coffee shop, in Baltimore's Station North Arts District.

Definitely a community kitchen and food service incubator ought to be part of the mix. I discussed related ideas here, "Building a local economy vs. "economic development" in planning: Wizards practice facility," concerning the creation of a Wizards basketball practice center in Congress Heights and how to leverage concessions and retail for business development.

Later, I learned how in the Mercedes Benz football stadium in Atlanta, the West Nest food concession is in fact a social enterprise run by the culinary program of a local community economic development organization, Westside Works ("In The New Atlanta Falcons Stadium, One Restaurant Has A Mission," Fast Company).


Another model would be the creation of the Midtown Global Exchange food market as part of a complex redevelopment in Minneapolis. The social enterprise oriented retail element was done by the St. Paul-based Neighborhood Development Corporation, which is led by Mihalio Temali, author of the Community Economic Development Handbook.

It will still be hard.  That being said, the relative failure of the Boulevard at Cap Centre development as a comparable example is something to be worried about ("Residents Say Boulevard is 'Failing'," Washington Afro-American).

That's why other consideration of models, like Leimert Village in Los Angeles ("Los Angeles's Black Pride: Taking In the Retro Vibe of Leimert Park," Washington Post), ArtsDistrict Hyattsville, and Bryn Mawr Village, with a social enterprise orientation, are in order.

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Revisiting stories: executive vs. legislative and the four vacant houses in Anacostia

Curbed DC reports ("Four vacant, government-owned Anacostia homes transfer to historic preservation group: The L’Enfant Trust has completed the transfer of four properties in the Southeast neighborhood") that DC has transferred four dilapidated but historic properties to the L'Enfant Trust for subsequent rehabilitation.

This was discussed in the past, because it was subject of a "battle" between the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch.  The Executive Branch which controlled the houses wasn't doing much, and aggrieved citizens got the Legislative Branch to pass a law giving control of the properties to a local nonprofit that has been rehabilitating houses.

I wrote about it in this 2017 entry, "Three examples of L'etat c'est moi/Not invented here/Executive authority (in DC local government)."

What's more interesting than what I wrote is the comment thread. 

First, an anonymous commenter made the very good point that generally getting the Council involved in such matters can lead to serious corruption and had in the past (although that's true of the Executive Branch as well).

My point was that the Executive Branch needed to act.  That there was no reason to let the houses moulder and that if they couldn't act, then the Legislative Branch was right to step in and move things along.

That being said the process is an example of the failures in how the city does capital budgeting planning and management.

Second, was the other discussion in the thread about technocracy, execution, democracy, vision, etc. in local government. It's no less relevant one year later.

For example, David Brooks, columnist for the New York Times, has a piece about successful school reform, "Good Leaders Make Good Schools."

He blows it by mentioning DC as a positive example, in the face of local reporting on systematic failures in terms of test cheating, passing and graduating students who don't attend school, claiming 100% of graduating classes will be going to college when about 17% actually did, failure to respond to non-DC residents enrolling in DC public schools, etc.

The reality is that making successful change for hard to help populations is very hard.

Rather than acknowledge that from the outset and put the right resources in place to aim to accomplish it, instead the focus was on test scores and even graduation rates, which are easier to game.

It's another failure to execute that seemingly has little consequence.

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BMW Reach Now car sharing Pi Day promotion: a model for bike sharing promotion

This was sent along within a private email discussion that's been going on for a few months about car sharing.

Yesterday, "Pi Day," BMW Reach Now, the car sharing service, did a promotion on "Pi Day"--March 14th--charging only $3.14 per hour to use a car.

Except for the fact that Pi Day is in March, which isn't the most temperate of months, a special rate on Pi Day would be a great promotion for an all day bike share pass too, as a way to get people to try it out.

It should be positioned as a membership development promotion, and only open to people living in resident zip codes (the idea being, through taxes they pay they are paying towards the city/county expenditures on bike share anyway).

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Another aspect of revitalization planning: it takes a long time

I mentioned the other day ("Revitalization planning vs. positive thinking as planning") that one of the things that defines revitalization planning is a focus on facts, current conditions and that life isn't rosy and that changing things in the face of unfavorable market conditions can be very hard.

I laugh to myself a lot at community meetings when people complain about a project not being underway after only a few months.  I finally figured out patience some when I was 47, and I realized that "fast tracked" transportation projects like a street reconstruction, can take 10 years.

Similarly, there were some construction projects that I was involved with that have taken 12-15 years to come to fruition, that's a long time.

I connected with people from the Strip District in Pittsburgh around 2005, because the International Public Markets and Public Spaces conference was in DC, and I led a tour. 

The Pennsylvania Railroad Fruit Auction & Sales Building is located between the 1600 and 2100 blocks of Smallman Street in the Strip District in an area that’s ripe for expanded downtown development. FILE PHOTO BY JOE WOJCIK: Pittsburgh Business Times, "Report: City in deal to redevelop produce terminal."

In 2008, I attended the National Trust for Historic Preservation national conference in Pittsburgh, and I did went on some tours of the Strip District and reconnected with the group Neighbors in the Strip (now called Strip District Neighbors, and sadly, the people I knew are no longer involved, "Staff of Strip District group resigns," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

One of their white elephant projects is trying to adaptively reuse the old Pennsylvania Railroad Produce Terminal.  Various proposals had been made in the years before 2008.  And for a time they ran a small market in part of the building.

But instead of signing an agreement with NIST, the city signed a contract with a major real estate development firm, McCaffrey Interests.  NIST felt dissed. 

OTOH, you can concede that a well financed real estate firm is more likely to be able to pull off such a difficult project.

That doesn't mean it's necessarily any faster.

They are still working out details of the contract ("Pittsburgh URA approves deal on Produce Terminal redevelopment," Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

That's a project that's been underway for 20 years or more and likely many years to come.

And as the resignation of my colleagues shows, it's often contentious and community organizers may run into the buzzsaw of local government, the Growth Machine, and politics.

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Retail property demand decline: softening of the retail side of the commercial property market.  Outside of mall type properties, for which the sector has experienced big problems for the past 10 years, we've been waiting to see a decline in retail property prices in those places where rents had been stratospheric. 

In the US market, that's mostly NYC and submarkets like Fifth Avenue, where rents can exceed$1,000/s.f., a price that can only be justified if the site is treated in part as a marketing expense.

The Wall Street Journal reports ("In New York, Retail Storm Arrives") on the price decline--retail rents dropped 18% in 2017.

Over time, this will also impact local government budgets, as property demand declines will decrease the value of properties, their tax assessments, and tax revenues.

Good malls, bad malls.  Somewhere I saw an article that made the point that malls are doing fine in many places, it's the malls in middling submarkets that aren't doing well.  Yep, that's been obvious for a long time.

There's been a fair amount of coverage of malls adding other functions to the pads where department stores had been, from offices to fitness centers. 

But people miss the point of what this does.  It helps to maintain the relevance of the location as a commercial property, but this comes at the expense of the retail character and vibrance of the shopping mall, because the new tenants aren't "anchors" in the same way as the retail destinations they replaced ("Sticking gyms in ailing malls won't work, and here's why" CNBC-TV).

The point of "anchors" is that they draw customers who are in turn shared with other retailers ("TIF incentives for a department store in Georgetown," 2012 and "Why it's okay to give tax increment financing to department stores but you still need to think long and hard about where you put your money," 2007).

But workers in office buildings and fitness center users aren't likely to do "shopping" at other places as part of their visit.

"Lifestyle centers" were a response starting in the late 1990s to a decline in the power of the shopping mall because of a decline in interest in shopping at traditional department stores.

Lifestyle centers were more oriented to shops and restaurants and outside spaces ("Lifestyle Centers vs. Traditional Commercial Districts," 2006), although here and there, department stores were an element of the mix.

But the anchor wasn't a store per se but the "experience" in terms of the quality of the space and the focus on being outside rather than ensconced within an enclosed mall (cf. "Reeves Center and Georgetown Park are two sides of the same coin," 2007).

Photo: Charles Fox, Philadelphia Inquirer.  Bryn Mawr Village was constructed in part from an old bus transit garage.

Lifestyling as the next generation of small shopping center development.  An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer ("How Bryn Mawr Village found its Main Line shopping niche") discusses the evolution of this type of center, calling it "lifestyling," with a mix of fitness centers and other services complementing retail.

The article is interesting in terms of the recognition that retail developers will continue to respond to changes in the market in order to remain successful. 

It keys on a developing change, that the property owners are less focused on attracting chain tenants that are ubiquitous, instead aiming for stores and services that aren't widely available elsewhere.  I was surprised to see that the development has a number of independent apparel shops.

But too, this particular center has the ability to be successful because it's in a high income area, and complements other destination retail centers like the King of Prussia Mall, one of the most successful in the US.

It also has small scale office, which is increasing demand in an economy shifting from long term employment to "gigs," consulting, and independent contracting.  That is an element that will be increasingly important to independent commercial districts.

TOYS R US ERIE, PAAnother example that piling on debt or separating real estate from operations puts businesses at risk.  Toys R Us looks to be liquidating, not because they don't have the ability to reformulate their business through downsizing, but because when the company was converted to private ownership a few years back, it was saddled with huge debt (over $5 billion) and ongoing "management fees" to the private equity owners. 

The business isn't generating enough revenue from operations to pay off the debt.

Concern in San Francisco about empty retail storefronts. The San Francisco Chronicle editorializes, in "Empty storefronts cast pall over city street life," about the decline of retail there, and offers some suggestions, which don't seem particularly powerful.
Other ideas are surfacing. Some merchants favor commercial rent control to hang on to leases. Policymakers are studying higher fees if a property owner does nothing with an empty space. Both ideas need careful study in a tax-happy city that sees exactions and complicated rules as go-to solutions.
The vision for Sainte Catherine Street, although proposals such as heated sidewalks (to keep snow accumulation down) have since been dropped. 

Concerns in Montreal. A column in the Toronto Globe and Mail ("Montreal rapidly killing legendary Sainte-Catherine Street for retailers") expresses concerns about the impact of a multi-year construction program on Sainte-Catherine Street, one of the city's retail spines, because similar projects elsewhere have resulted in retail decline that has persisted beyond the completion of the reconstruction projects. From the article:
Similar projects completed along Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Saint-Denis Street in recent years saw dozens of stores and restaurants close. Neither street has recovered. While the sidewalks are wider and the risk of broken water mains has diminished, the lesson seems to be that it is very hard to revive a street once you've alienated shoppers. Especially if you make it impossible to park. ...

Access to dozens of stores along the eastern stretch of Sainte Catherine that is now dug up has been cut off by construction barricades that limit pedestrian traffic – in some places to a single-file line. You'd have to be desperate for a Five Guys burger to navigate the construction barricades and holes outside the fast-food chain's main Sainte Catherine Street outlet.
Also see "Montreal's Ste-Catherine Street about to undergo massive overhaul," Canadian Press).

Historic Downtown LA Retail Project ~ Training.gifRecommendations for dealing with storefront vacancies and the desire for quality retail.   WRT sparking retail renaissance in traditional commercial districts, key is to create the right kind of organizations necessary to facilitate it.  While generally, government isn't the best place to foster retail innovation, there are best practice examples.

Charge a CDC to deal with retail.  First, is to create a community development corporation charged with buying and holding retail space, offering it at a discount from "market rates," while encouraging creative retail. The model is the SEMAEST Vital Quartier program in Paris.

The program operates on a break even basis, and in some of the targeted neighborhoods, vacancies have declined by up to 40% ("Paris City Hall wants to revive Semaest," Les Echos). The program has assisted more than 650 individual businesses and controls 730,000 s.f. of retail space.

-- presentation

Create a best practice retail development and assistance program.  Second, to encourage and develop creative retail, create a companion program based on the now defunct "Historic Downtown Los Angeles Retail Project," to work with people interested in developing and launching creative retail and service businesses.

Note though that it is often hard as hell to help existing businesses because often they think they know everything already.  By default, it becomes easier to help new entrants, because they are looking for help and know they need it.  This can cause resentments on the part of existing business proprietors, especially as they don't recognize their role in creating the problem.

Recommendations concerning mitigating construction impacts on retail businesses.  While it isn't uncommon for marketing assistance to be provided to retail businesses impacted by such projects, that tends to be the extent of the response.

There is a lot of opportunity to be more thorough and innovative, to ensure that at the end of the construction, the corridor is in fact better performing not just infrastructure-wise but as a place, retail destination, and as a location to own and operate businesses.

Lately too I have been thinking about how typically cities tend to not communicate very well about such projects, what they will accomplish and why the investment is important.

(1) The TGM article mentions a number of retail developments that have been put on hold because of the construction on Ste. Catherine, including a new Saks Fifth Avenue store.

The city should work with all those merchants to ensure that these projects remain in the pipeline and create a "master program" with the aim of "delivering" these projects as the construction project winds down, with promotion of the program ("The New Sainte Catherine Street!") throughout.

(2) Provide a program of complementary investments in the existing businesses.

(3) Along with ongoing marketing assistance and special events throughout the project.

(4) And parking facilitation, such as integrated valet parking services for the corridor, subsidized by the city.

(5) Try to negotiate rent relief for the businesses in association with the property owners and the city.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Christopher Hawthorne, LA Times architecture critic to become Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles

It's pretty typical for business or transportation journalists to go work for local government and transit agencies in the pr/communications side.  But an architecture writer to take on a design role for a city is something else.

-- "Why I'm leaving The Times for a job at City Hall"

Christopher Hawthorne is one of the better architecture critics at a major newspaper, along with Christopher Hume at the Toronto Star, Blair Kamin at the Chicago Tribune, John King at the San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Kimmelman and Robin Pogrebin at the New York Times, Steven Litt of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Inga Saffron at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Hawthorne, like Kamin, has written on a wide range of topics, not limited to Greater Los Angeles. For example, some of his writings on Washington's National Mall, Monuments, and Museums supersede local coverage.

From the article:
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has asked me to fill a new post called chief design officer for the city. In that role, beginning next month, I'll be working in the mayor's office to raise the quality of public architecture and urban design across the city — and the level of civic conversation about those subjects.

In its basic outline, the job will resemble the other "chief" positions in Garcetti's administration, including chief sustainability officer and chief data officer. In other ways, it'll be something of an experiment, an effort to produce better architecture, urban design and what we once called "public works" for Los Angeles.

Sometimes that effort will take the form of a design competition, a public forum (like the ones I've organized with Occidental College in recent years) or a campaign to persuade talented emerging architects to pursue civic projects.

At other times, it will mean supporting a creative zoning change or the work of city officials in a range of departments — Planning Director Vince Bertoni, Gary Lee Moore and Deborah Weintraub of the Bureau of Engineering and Transportation Department General Manager Seleta Reynolds, among others — who have been promoting good design for years.
The full article lays out quite a program.

I haven't seen a similar position elsewhere, focused on the aesthetic value of the built environment, but some cities, like Baltimore and Cleveland, have particularly robust design review processes that are not necessarily historic preservation specific like the laws and regulations in DC.

Design officers for transit agencies.  I've written about other kinds of design positions  in the past, primarily with transit agencies like Metrolinx in Toronto or Transport for London.  TfL is particularly known for its well executed design process approach to transportation in all its forms ("World Usability Day, Thursday November 9th and urban planning," 2017).

Chief innovation officers. I haven't seen design officers touted, although in the last decade the concept of "chief innovation officer" has taken off, although the jobs seem to be primarily IT oriented ("Chief Innovation Officers: Do They Deliver?," Pew Charitable Trusts).

Smart City coordinators.  And now these jobs may be morphing towards "smart city initiatives," such as with Kate Garman in Seattle, who had worked previously in Kansas City ("Seattle Appoints Smart City Coordinator," Government Technology).

Chief thoroughfare architect for transportation agencies.  For years, I've suggested that transportation agencies have a "Chief Thoroughfare Architect" design position focused on the placemaking qualities of the street and sidewalk network, which is the "operating system" for a city's quality of place.  This is captured by my "Signature Streets" concept.

Slide, action planning as systems integration

Design method over rational planning.  And the adoption of the design method over more traditional rational planning frameworks in what I call action planning.

-- "Social Marketing the Arlington (and Tower Hamlets and Baltimore" way," 2008
-- "Best practice bicycle planning for suburban settings using the "action planning" method," 2010
-- "All the talk of e-government, digital government, and open source government is really about employing the design method," 2012
-- "Illustration of government and design thinking: Boston's City Hall to Go truck," 2013

Design as a framework for organizing government.  This piece, although focused on Montgomery and Prince George's County in Maryland and their opportunity to leverage the Purple Line to rebrand those communities as design forward, outlines a design-focused approach for local governments.

(1) I argued that cities need a "Graphic Design" element in their master plans but I realize now it's more a branding-identity-design element

(2) the design method may be superior to the "rational planning methodology" for planning but also for thinking about how to deliver public services

(3) transit/transportation infrastructure needs to be designed as an element of civic architecture

-- "PL #7: Using the Purple Line to rebrand Montgomery and Prince George's Counties as Design Forward," 2017

Civic assets as a network.  And that civic assets need to be conceptualized as a network, and planned accordingly.

-- "Town-city management: "We are all asset managers now"," 2015

Public Realm as an Interconnected system, Slide from presentation, Leadership and the Role of Parks and Recreation in the New Economy, David Barth
Public Realm as an Interconnected system, Slide from presentation, Leadership and the Role of Parks and Recreation in the New Economy, David Barth

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Dockless scooters as an example of a lot of money sloshing around in venture capital

A Bird scooter awaits its next rider at Colorado Avenue and 5th Street in Santa Monica. The firm ran into legal trouble with the city, which said it failed to secure proper business licenses. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times, "Bird scooter firm settles legal fight with Santa Monica."

Bird is a dockless scooter company, modeled after dockless bike sharing.   Each ride costs $1 plus 15¢ per minute, which is 5.5x greater than dockless biking, and arguably more expensive than a Jump dockless e-bike.

Launched in Santa Monica as proof of concept, Bird has since raised over $100 million in venture capital ("LA-based electric scooter sharing service raises $100m," Financial Times), and like dockless bike share, Segway, various ride hailing ventures, mobility apps, and microtransit projects the firm believes they will be revolutionizing transportation.

The problem is such devices fly in the face of the dominant mobility paradigm, which is automobile-centric.

Electric scooters, bikes, e-bikes, van pooling, taxis, shared taxis, etc., have been around for awhile, and car sharing since around 2003, although granted advances in IT and telecommunications systems and services make it cheaper to launch wider scale projects now than it did 15 years ago.

What is the barrier to entryf or sustainable transportation?  The barrier to entry isn't access to bikes (which have been around for more than 100 years) or scooters so much as it is a willingness to use them generally for transportation, and for a majority of trips.

That's the hang up.

At least in the US, large dockless bike systems charge fees per trip that are significantly higher than owning a bike or joining a traditional bike sharing program.

Occasional versus regular use | transportational vs. recreational use.  I can't see how dockless systems appeal to anyone but the very occasional user, which makes it almost impossible to make money, at least with lots of firms competing in the space. 

From a sustainable mobility standpoint, arguably, most of the trips aren't transportational, but recreational, which while valuable especially from an exercise and public health standpoint, doesn't have much in the way of substantive impact when it comes to shifting trips from cars to sustainable means.

Note that I could be wrong, based on the FT article, but I'd definitely want more than one month's worth of data.  From the article:
Since it launched in September, Bird’s app-based rental system has become hugely popular in areas of Los Angeles such as Santa Monica and Venice, where hundreds of scooters are available on the street for anyone to pick up and drop off.

Hire of the scooters, which resemble the Razor and Micro kick scooters popular with children but have an electric motor that can go up to 15mph, is charged by the minute, with the devices tracked by GPS. More than half a million rides on Bird were taken in the past 30 days, the company says, doubling over the previous month.

“We believe Bird is writing the next chapter in transportation and is poised to become the next great company in this space,” said Antonio Gracias of Chicago-based Valor, who also sits on the boards of Tesla and SpaceX. 
"In/appropriate technology," a combination of technology and cost to use it.  Although I think like with the promotion of electric bikes in the cores of center cities--often an e-bike is overkill in this situation ("(Still) tired of mis-understanding of the potential for e-bikes," 2015)--an electric scooter is probably overkill for short distances, and less likely to be used for long distances.

Business failures as opportunities to learn.  Given experiences with Juicero ("Juicero is shutting down," The Verge), Split ("D.C.-based ride-sharing service Split ends operations," Washington Business Journal), Kozmo ("Kozmo to End Operations; 1,100 People to Lose Jobs," New York Times), or Bridj ("Bridj, local on-demand bus service, is shutting down," Boston Globe), I'd be leery of putting my money into Bird.

It's an example of people not knowing much about transportation and logistics thinking that putting a bunch of bikes or scooters out there will transform how people get around while investing very little in assisting people with the transition, let alone evaluating whether or not the particular method is a good way for getting around to begin with. 

The Segway.  At the very least, people need to understand why Segway failed, before they put many millions of dollars into this space ("A Lesson in Innovation – Why did the Segway Fail?," Innovation Management). From the article:
1. Expectations were too high. The Segway was described as the future of transport. As an innovation it was said to be on a par with the PC or the internet. Inevitably it could not live up to this level of hype. PR exposure is generally useful but this time it was overdone.

2. It was a product not a solution. The product works well but it lacked a support context. Where can you park it? How do you charge it? Do you use it on roads or sidewalks? Our cities are designed for pedestrians or speedy vehicles and this was neither so it had no proper infrastructure to support it.

3. No clear need or target market. Who was the target market? Who really needed this? It was an appealing novelty but there was no compelling need for anyone to buy it – and it was very expensive.

4. It was an invention rather than an innovation. The Segway was patented and kept under wraps until its launch. There was no user feedback or iteration in the process. Its inventors were then surprised when people criticised or ridiculed the design for being ‘dorky’ rather than cool.

5. Regulation. The Segway fell foul of regulation in many countries where it was banned from sidewalks and roads because it did not fit any existing categories. This is a problem for a truly revolutionary product – but it was not properly anticipated.

Note that I don't mean to say that an e-scooter sharing system or dockless biking is an exact analogue of Segway and the way it was conceptualized and launched, but that these attempts to innovate need to be studied for clues going forward for other types of innovation.

How to increase the adoption of sustainable mobility.  Automobility is the dominant mobility paradigm in the US, even in most US cities (with a few exceptions).  The biggest stumbling block for sustainable mobility modes is the dominance of the automobility paradigm.  Most of the firms seem to be more a venture capital play, and not a mobility play. 

More attention will need to be paid to the research in travel behavior and the choices people make, with an aim of creating "product service systems" which address barriers to change.  What I call the sustainable mobility platform isn't just the services, but also the programming necessary to assist people in the adoption and regular use of mode alternatives to the automobile.

How to push sustainable mobility forward.

-- "SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION: A Psychological Perspective," Linda Steg, IATSS Research, Volume 31, Issue 2, 2007, Pages 58-66, specifically the section on push vs. pull measures
-- Changing Transportation Behaviours: A Social Marketing Planning Guide, Transport Canada
-- "Chasing sustainability: Do new TOD residents adopt more sustainable modes of transportation?," McGill University
-- "A Step Towards Sustainable Transportation Behaviour: Understanding automobile ownership and mode choice through qualitative research," Julia Dalia Rosa, masters thesis, University of Waterloo
-- "Sustainable Mobility Guide for Municipal Leaders," Hungarian Young Greens
Women on moped, Central Park West and 72nd Street, 1965, by Joel Meyerowitz
Women on mopedscooter, Central Park West and 72nd Street, 1965, by Joel Meyerowitz

Failure of mopeds in the US.  Speaking of "appropriate technology" in the urban context, a moped--popular in cities in Europe, especially Italy, and Asia--makes a lot of sense in Southern and Western states, but after 40 years such vehicles have made little headway towards adoption. 

While mopeds are not environmentally friendly, efforts are underway to electrify them.

There is a fascinating 1977 article in People Magazine ("Ever Wonder How a Fad Starts? In the Case of Mopeds, Look to a Silver-Tongued Frenchman") discussing the process to make mopeds legal in the US, to develop distribution systems, etc. That being said, distribution and dealership systems along with enabling laws and regulatory system have been created, but 40 years later, the moped remains an insignificant element of the US mobility mix.

It's a cautionary note.  Car sharing and ride hailing are popular because they involve car use, and car trips are still preferred by a majority of the population.  While bike share, biking, and transit still experiences relatively low use, except in those situations especially in legacy cities where urban design, density, and other factors make these modes particularly efficient.

A study in Beijing ("Factors influencing the choice of shared bicycles and shared electric bikes in Beijing," Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, Volume 67, June 2016, Pages 399-414) found that there, e-bikes took mode share from cars, whereas so far in North America bike sharing primarily takes mode share from transit.

Given the dominance of the automobile in the US planning regime, only a mix of push (regulations, fees, etc.) and pull (incentives) measures will bring about substantive shifts to sustainable modes.  The US experience shows that incentives aren't enough and neither is "providing people with more choices."  When people have a choice, they generally pick the automobile.

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Revitalization planning vs. positive thinking* as planning

* "Positive thinking: Reduce stress by eliminating negative self-talk," Mayo Clinic

Note that I believe that critical self-reflection is a positive thing. But others may not agree.

-- "The Weakness of Positive Thinking," Strategy+Business

Suzanne and I have a running argument about the problems of today's organizations is that everything is supposed to be positive, you can't be critical or particularly evaluative, because that isn't being part of the team and is perceived as being unhelpful.

(I got in an argument with someone about this on a historic preservation list, when she criticized my comments as unhelpful.  I replied that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, that in DC to prevent demolition of buildings, they have to be designated, and doing a MoveOn petition isn't the way you go about doing it.  I suppose you could counter that petitions help build support.  Maybe they do, but for what purpose, when a petition doesn't produce a finished nomination and landmark application, and the number of signatures is immaterial to whether or not a landmark nomination has merit, meets the standards laid out in the law and regulations, etc.)

Recently, I answered a question on a job application for a listing of your planning area specializations--my response was too long for the 100 character limit.  But my first item was neighborhood and commercial district revitalization planning.

And later, thinking about it, I realized that's why I feel out of sorts so much with thematic planning  such as for "sustainability" or "culture," even neighborhood and livability planning because those types of planning processes tend to be aspirational and very positive and don't provide a realistic survey of current conditions or the process to get from A to B, especially if B is a stretch goal.

Another line I read that resonated was:
"Mistaking a fad for innovation."
That's the first thing that goes through my mind when I read the word "incubator" in an economic development or cultural plan.  ("Dockless bikes," "scooters," "big data," too.)

With incubators, plans focus more on the temporariness and less on the elements for which incubees need help: space; short term and permanent; technical assistance; capacity building; and financing ("The Sad Story of How a DC Tech Incubator Fell Apart," Washingtonian,; for an different perspective see "What to consider before you put your startup in an incubator," Medium).

Kicking out tenants after an arbitrary period of time fails to acknowledge how important it is to have long term access to cheap space and how long it can take for a business/initiative to succeed and ("Think Before You Incubate: How Incubators Can Hurt Your Startup," Techli).

That being said I think most business districts need to encourage the provision of WeWork type spaces, to provide support to developing businesses that aren't at the point where they need or can afford a traditional space.

On the other hand, revitalization planning starts with the acknowledgement that things aren't so great, but that there are opportunities, and through the planning process you come up with a plan and program to realize them. Depending on a variety of preconditions, it can take a long time or a short time to succeed. And generally, the more money required from the public sector is an indicator of the difficulty of the prospects.

Even sustainable mobility planning has to start out with data about mode split for sustainable modes (biking, walking, transit, car pooling, car sharing) and in most cities that data demonstrates the "opportunity" present in increasing mode share but also how difficult it is likely to be to achieve high rates, especially for biking.

... the draft of the next cycle of the DC historic preservation plan mentions the importance of the cultural plan.  But the reality is that the Cultural Plan barely even acknowledges the importance of the city's built environment as an element of culture, and mostly highlights historic preservation in terms of financial support for telling community stories. 

Hey, that's important, but to ignore the built environment is pretty damning.  But focusing on people's stories is positive, the eating away of the city's architectural character and coming up with ways to address it is less fun and harder.

Also see "Helping Government Learn," 2009, which includes my approach to developing better practice, and which I have since modified. The idea is that you start with one site, and then scale up in the duplicate and replicate phases, and then further refine in the accelerate phase.

Original list

1. Indicate -- identity the particulars of processes and structures of success and failure
2. Duplicate -- figure out how to duplicate (repeat) success.
3. Replicate -- develop the systems, structures, frameworks to apply programs to different situations and communicate them throughout innovation networks.
4. Accelerate -- figure out how to speed up successful innovation and programs.

New List

1. Indicate -- identity the particulars of processes and structures of success and failure
2. Duplicate -- figure out how to duplicate (repeat) success.
3. Replicate -- develop the systems, structures, frameworks to apply programs to different situations and communicate them throughout innovation networks.
4. Accelerate -- figure out how to speed up successful innovation and programs.
5. Communicate -- push out the final product to communities of practice for more widespread adoption,recognizing that other places will bring new elements to the model.

Positive deviance.  And "I get tired of all the talk about rewarding "failure" because it shows people are trying, and won't be penalized for it," 2007, about "positive deviance."

What I call "action planning,"Social Marketing the Arlington (and Tower Hamlets and Baltimore) way," 2008 and "Best practice bicycle planning for suburban settings using the "action planning" method," 2010.

Design method/design thinking. "All the talk of e-government, digital government, and open source government is really about employing the design method," 2012, "Illustration of government and design thinking: Boston's City Hall to Go truck," 2013, and "PL #7: Using the Purple Line to rebrand Montgomery and Prince George's Counties as Design Forward," 2017.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Chattanooga as an e-car platform

Last week, I suggested Car2Go car sharing as a way to drive the development of an e-car charging system across a city ("Electric vehicles and city charging infrastructures: could car sharing be a way to drive changes more quickly?"). 

Note that I didn't use Brooklyn and Queens as an example, even though Car2Go is operative there today.  When asked about this by I colleague, I wrote:
My reservation is that it's not best to try to do something innovative but difficult in a place where it is already extraordinarily difficult to do anything. In other words, try to pick a place to start off with where you can be wildly successful and where opposition is likely to be muted.

E.g., DC tried to do streetcar in Anacostia but the area has pretty contentious if not noxious thinking about politics, "the neighborhood," transit, and public resources. So that area has zero streetcar and DC shifted to H Street NE. It delayed launch, but East of the River, by at 6 years. I was at a WMATA conference in Nov. 2006, where a DDOT person confidently said they'd be starting streetcar service in Anacostia the next year.

I should have said this about NYC:

After figuring this out in places where the constraints are fewer, like DC and Seattle, then take on a space with extraordinarily difficult infrastructure challenges like NYC, specifically Brooklyn and Queens where Car2Go operates.

OTOH, you could counter with Autolib, which was launched in Paris, which is just as tough a place to do it.

The difference though between NYC today and Paris then at the launch of Autolib is the support of the top elected officials, and the overall greater commitment in Europe towards dealing with the environment and climate change.

Autolib was an initiative of the then mayor. And today the Paris mayor is just as committed to the environment and clean air. Did you see that Paris will be giving incentive payments towards the purchase of bikes, cargo bikes, and e-bikes to people who agree to give up their cars, as part of clean air initiatives. That's an indicator of the difference between Paris and today's NYC.

These days, the current mayor of NYC doesn't seem to be particularly engaged when it comes to sustainable mobility generally, and he's not a rah rah kind of person on stuff that isn't social justice related.
Anyway, like the BlueIndy program in Indianapolis and the GreenSpot program in Jersey City, it seems as if Chattanooga is developing a similar program, according to GovTech ("Chattanooga pushes multimodal to solve its transportation problems").

But I don't think it's an example that is quantumly different at a system scale because it's pretty small when it comes down to it, but a bit more marginally interesting because the transit agency is adding a solar farm to power it--even though it seems somewhat duplicative as the region is known for cheap hydroelectric.  From the article:
The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) is constructing an 80-kilowatt solar farm, the installation of 64 electric-vehicle charging ports spread across 22 sites and a car-sharing program powered by battery-electric Nissan LEAFs. ...  
“With interest from an electric-vehicle car-share operator, CARTA entered into a funding agreement with TVA in February 2014 to provide for a minimum of 40 charging ports and a 20-vehicle car-share program ...

The car-share portion of the project is operated by Green Commuter, a membership-based car-sharing platform based in Los Angeles. Members rent the car for the time they need it, while the company pays for electricity to recharge the vehicles, as well as maintenance, parking and insurance costs. Rates are $7 an hour or $45 a day.
20 cars isn't that big a deal, almost not big enough to even acknowledge, although it is significant from the standpoint of smaller cities, as Chattanooga has about 180,000 residents.

The BlueIndy program has 230 vehicles. Granted, Indianapolis has five times the population of Chattanooga, but still, a program with 230 electrically powered vehicles is of a size that's significantly noticeable.

In DC, Car2Go has a 600 car fleet, albeit none are electric.

Multimodal vs. the concept of the sustainable mobility platform
.  The other thing that I don't think is as useful is to think about this in terms of "multimodalness." Yes, different modes are multiple.  But the issue is to integrate the sustainable modes into a system. 

Some refer to this as "transportation as a service" or "mobility as a service," although they aren't necessarily focused on all the services being "sustainable."

I prefer to call this the sustainable mobility platform ("Dolly micro-move app as an element of the Sustainable Mobility Platform" and "Free access to cargo bikes/e-cargo bikes as part of a mobility hub/sustainable mobility platform"), extending the concept from a diagram from an old national bicycle plan for Germany.

Bicycle Traffic as a system, diagram, German National Bicycle Plan, 2002-2012
Bicycle Traffic as a system, diagram, German National Bicycle Plan, 2002-2012

Sustainable Mobility Platform Elements

I continue to work out where to place the various rungs on the ladder.  It's easier if you split it out according to trip distance.  These are the elements:

-- Walking
-- Scooters/Skateboards
-- Cycling
---- secure bike parking, air pumps, repair stands
---- access to trailers
---- tandems
---- cargo bikes
---- e-bikes
---- special populations ("Two men leading an effort to provide bikes to homeless," WLOX-TV)
-- Bicycle sharing
---- community system
---- building/campus (e.g., hotel, office building, university, office complex)
---- special populations ("New bike share program gives One80 Place's homeless a way around the city," WCIV-TV)
-- Segways/electric wheels
-- Delivery services (e.g., Dolly; UPS, FedEx, etc.) and package pickup points
-- Transit
---- various bus, streetcar, light rail, heavy rail, railroad services
---- network scale (regional, metropolitan, city; primary, secondary, tertiary)
---- intra-district(Baltimore Circulator, Circulators, San Diego FRED Shuttle); tertiary network (Tempe Orbit)
---- shuttle services (school, employer, residential)
---- microtransit either private (Bridg, Chariot, Israeli sheruts) or public (AC Transit FLEX pilot project, "The newest battleground between public transit and Uber, Lyft is an unlikely one," San Jose Mercury News)
---- van pools (longer distance) (vride)
---- shared taxi type services at edges of the transit system (taxi collectif in Montreal) or intra-district (Via, UberPool, Lyft Line) either publicly subsidized ("Mass transit gets boost from ridesharing," USA Today; "Uber and Lyft Want to Replace Public Buses," Bloomberg) or not
-- Taxis/Ride hailing
---- single trips (equivalent of "single occupant vehicle trips")
-- Car sharing
---- one-way (car2go)
---- two-way (Zipcar, Enterprise)
---- inclusion of a variety of vehicles in fleets to accommodate multiple uses (Zipcar)
---- electric car sharing systems
-- Scooters
---- scooter sharing (Scoot in SF)
-- Car pooling
-- Car rental

Somehow too the system support elements need to be woven into the framework, such as the charging stations, IT services, intelligent transportation systems, apps, etc.

Another way too to think about this is that the enabling infrastructure of a city's mobility system: streets and sidewalks; is the operating system for mobility but also placemaking and quality of life.

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