Cali Bans Parking?! + SD, Miami Meetups
CALI Bans Parking?! + SD, Miami Meetups
Before we get to this week's news - we're excited to share a few upcoming events, including Smart City Expo USA, Sept. 14-15 in Miami. Along with two days of innovative programming, Jonah will be paneling with friends from Automotus, AWS, Miovision, and NoTraffic on a topic near and dear to us all: Congestion and the Curb: Tech to Manage Traffic.
Join us September 14-15 in Miami at Smart City Expo USA to hear from city leaders and experts shaping the future of our cities as we redefine what it means to be a “smart city”.
Smart City Expo USA is a White House Summit for Democracy Year of Action initiative; partners include Fira Barcelona, the National League of Cities, and the African American Mayors Association. They are expecting 100+ speakers and 3000+ highly-curated attendees, allowing you to engage with government and local officials deploying billions of dollars in federal funds towards next-gen infrastructure, blockchain, AI, big data, cybersecurity, the metaverse, mobility, energy, public safety, housing, sensors, and digital twins to build resiliency and efficiencies, bridge racial wealth, equity, and opportunity gaps, upskill communities, advance global competitiveness, and future proof cities against historic inequities. Tickets are now available - register here.
PS - are you going to be in San Diego for next week's Fully Charged LIVE? (Or hey, maybe you just live down there!) Register now for our Mini-Mobility Meetup & Happy Hour - Friday 9/9, full details forthcoming...
HOT INDUSTRY NEWS & GOSSIP
California BANS parking?! How's that for targeted clickbait... Now that you're all hot and bothered, we're not at the finish line yet. AB 2097 awaits Governor Newsom's signature, which would eliminate parking requirements near public transit, thanks to years of hard work from housing and mobility advocates that are looking to both improve the Golden State's transportation options, while removing one of the biggest burdens that drives up the cost of sorely needed new housing. If you want to help push Newsom to sign this powerful legislation, it's not too late to add your voice!
It's been an impressive few weeks for California's policy leaders, with the Overton window really shifting in terms of what progressive governance can deliver. Other bills to note include Portantino's (D – La Cañada Flintridge) SB 457, which would offer tax subsidies for Californians that don't own a car; sounds a lot better than a gas tax holiday! And keep your eyes on AB 2011, which would allow by-right approval of housing on land previously zoned commercial, subject to affordability, environmental and labor requirements; this bill alone could help create 2.4 million new homes in urban settings. (Hopefully this will help reverse one of the country's very climate change-insensitive trends.)
Electric trucks haul in the cash: Investments into medium / heavy duty EVs, and their battery componentry, seem to be heating up, spurred by the passage of the IRA. Bosch just announced a $200 million fuel cell plant in South Carolina, while Honda and LG Energy are spending billions more. Toyota is also pouring money into this battery bonanza, although it's unclear if any will go towards their commercial vehicles, (although a delivery gig worker in an electrified RAV-4 is certainly better than one in a gas-powered model...)
Other funding frenzies... Meanwhile, Lucid is hoping to tap into as much of $8 billion of new capital, while Gopuff is raising $300 million in credit as it waits out the choppy IPO market. Other EV makers might be less fortunate, as Canoo and other players scramble for cash to keep their electric dreams alive. On the international side of things, ZTO Express (think China's Fedex) roiled the Hang Sen with an announcement that it was raising $870 million, following earlier remarks that discomfited investors. And on the curb management side of things, Populus just hauled in a cool $11 million, led by Zero Infinity Partners and Climactic, along with capital from Comcast Ventures and Robert Downey Jr's Footprint Coalition Ventures. (Has the curb gone Hollywood?!)
State capacity, state capacity, state capacity! Cash for green transportation is all well and good, but it's a bit moot if this country continues to be unable to actually build things. Case in point, New York and New Jersey's Gateway Tunnel Project is now delayed a further three years and $2 billion dollars, pushing the projected opening to 2035, at a projected cost of $16.1 billion dollars. As a refresher, the adjacent tunnels under the Hudson - some of the busiest in the country - were damaged a decade ago by Hurricane Sandy. While the original plan was to open these new tunnels before the old ones had to close for rehabilitation, this new timeline means the only certainty is that Northeasterners are going to have painful commutes for decades to come. Let this serve as one more painful reminder that other countries with older infrastructure and stronger labor protections regularly build complex transit infrastructure for an order of magnitude less in costs per mile.
Will Honolulu embrace its curbs? Hawaii's capital region is months away from opening phase one of its automated metro system. While that's exciting news for a late and over-budget project (furthering the point above), the real question is what comes next. Now that commuters have a viable non-automotive option, Honolulu has an amazing opportunity to repurpose valuable street and curb space for walking, biking, shopping, eating, and recreating. We pushed an AI to dream up what that might look like; color us impressed...
A feast of food delivery and ghost kitchen news: Perhaps no product is more associated with "delivery" than the humble pizza. And even after decades, there's still ample room for innovation, as shown by Slice's latest announcements. Meanwhile, famed Youtuber and ghost burger slinger MrBeast announces his first in-person location, hoping to lure foot traffic to a struggling New Jersey mall. DoorDash rolls out a slew of new ghost kitchen brands, while a former Apple developer announces an innovative financial platform for virtual kitchen operators. Last but not least, California legislators approved a bill that would subject larger food franchisees to new time / wage requirements; if signed by Newsom this could be a rare win for fast food workers.
Delivery wars! Handing the last mile has never been easy, but now Fedex Ground and one if its largest route contractors are in an all-out battle. Spencer Patton, whose company controlled 60,000 of the delivery giant's franchised routes, has lately been organizing his fellow middle-men to demand higher rates and better terms from the Memphis-based shipper. As of late, Fedex has been charging customers a "fuel surcharge," but it hasn't passed that whole fee on to its strapped contractors. While Patton has been a known name in the tight-knit industry, the last straw seems to be a conference he recently convened, where his calls to organize led Fedex to claim his company had violated the terms of its agreement. With 225 drivers now out of work, expect this saga to keep twisting and turning for some time!
Regional rivalry stays hot: LA and SF love to compete for all sorts of trivial things... baseball pennants, traffic congestion, housing prices. Now we can add another ignominious factoid to the list: transit ridership. New data shows that Greater LA has overtaken the SF Bay Area in transit usage (in absolute numbers, and sometimes per capita.) While this would be news to celebrate if it were due to surging growth among LA County transit riders, the culprit is more so that San Franciscans have abandoned BART and Muni, as the region's transit agencies continue to suffer some of the worst attrition nationwide. Boo.
Your insatiable appetite for links continues: Imagine what your city could do with *half a billion dollars* in missing parking ticket revenue! LA's proposed new bus shelters could help right years of shade inequities. New findings from Seattle show that replacing delivery vans with e-bikes not only reduces VMT and emissions, but speeds up delivery times. Novel CALSTART calculator promises similar results for a neighborhood near you. Micromobility America announces latest speakers. Kiwibot heads to LMU, while Serve spills the secret sauce in a great podcast. New Yorkers say goodbye to a longstanding fixture of their commutes, while also (shortsightedly) pushing back on congestion pricing. Japan's JR East cuts back staffing in light of continued ridership struggles. Micromobility heads towards commercial uses. What can we learn about creating new public spaces from this group of tenacious skateboard punks?
See you in San Diego?
- Jonah Bliss & The Curbivore Crew