Five Ways to Redesign Cities for the Scooter Era - Bloomberg
The rise of electric scooters in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco has led to no small amount of debate and angry community board meetings, but it seems safe to say that the mobility toothpaste has already been squeezed out of that transportation tube. The promise of cheap, easily available, motorized personal transportation is too alluring to be legislated out of existence.
So cities will have to design their way toward a solution. This is no small task, as more than a century of urban design championed the car above all else, leading to public spaces where the majority of the space is devoted to private vehicles. This has meant that most cities find themselves in an awkward phase: designed for one form of transportation, but increasingly serving as a stage for newer, unexpected forms of mobility.
Janette Sadik-Khan, a former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, doesn’t blame the scooters. “The problem isn’t the mode. The underlying problem is street management and the failure of imagination to update our streets,” says Sadik-Khan, who now advises other cities on transit policy as a consultant at Bloomberg Associates, a firm started by Michael Bloomberg, founder and owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. “It’s not that these riders are a bunch of outlaws,” she says. “It’s that the infrastructure hasn’t kept up with the changes on the street, and the street is forcing people to wing it.”
So what can a city do to adapt to a world where more people use vehicles such as scooters and bikes in place of cars? An informal survey of design professionals came up with some real-world solutions. Some are physical, some behavioral, but deployed in concert they could radically change the way a city moves.
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