Discover more from The Curbivore
Black Friday - A Sea of Empty Asphalt from Coast to Coast
BrightDrop Talks Growth, Bikes Boom
It’s that time of year when we get to unite as a community and celebrate the holidays.
In 2021, 30+ organizations pooled their funding and resources to host a first-of-its-kind holiday party at BioscienceLA to unite the diverse communities that make our LA innovation ecosystem unique. With budgets tightening, it's harder for organizations of all sizes to host a proper end-of-the-year celebration for their team. But in the spirit of collaboration and unity, we were able to have a jolly good time socializing with colleagues and giving back to the communities that need it the most. 300 attendees helped contribute to 700 lbs+ food donations, 100+ toy donations, and clothing donations for toddlers. This year AILA is bringing back the party at a large private residence in Holmby Hills, so we can have more room to eat, drink, dance, and network. There is still time for your organization to become a sponsor and get special branding and ticket pricing. Please contact email@example.com to learn more about the turnkey holiday party solution!
Get tickets now: www.longlaholiday.com
Black Friday - A Reminder That America Has Too Much Parking
Last Friday was a joyous occasion for retailers and bargain hunters nationwide, as stores famously got “in the black” with a surge of holiday sales. While many spent the day fighting with their fellow shoppers for cut-rate electronics, it’s also an occasion to reflect on something even more pernicious: how over-parked America’s commercial zones are. From coast-to-coast, Twitter users shared sights of empty parking spots in urban and suburban shopping environments.
lf these parking lots aren’t going to be filled during the busiest shopping day of the year, you can’t expect them to see usage on any other day. Even before the pandemic rewrote shopping and travel patterns, most of these locations were over-parked, a symptom of outdated zoning / planning practices, conservative bank lending and chain leasing standards, and lagging guidance from organizations like ULI and ITE’s Parking Generation manual. This Kimberly-Horn study from 2017 shows how much less parking is needed in the real world, and the delta has only gotten more severe in the past five years. Given that all the examples below are rather suburban environments, one shudders to think about the additional damage done in walkable, bikeable and transit-served neighborhoods.
Pouring all this asphalt doesn’t just bake the earth, it reinforces automotive-based travel patterns, while driving up prices for businesses and consumers (someone has to pay for that parking structure, after all.) Imagine the lots surrounding a mall repurposed as new shops and housing, the street parking downtown as parklets and revenue-generating streateries, the old parking structure converted to new office space or affordable housing. Maybe you can even be creative and convert an underground garage into… hmm, a brewery or a skate park or something? Good luck with that one!
Cities are finally starting to wake up and realize there are more productive uses for this land. The best “gift” anyone could ask for on the next Black Friday would be to see their own municipality join the list of cities that have abolished parking minimums.
HOT INDUSTRY NEWS & GOSSIP
How to build a billion dollar electric delivery van business: Harry sits down with BrightDrop’s Chief Revenue Officer for a fascinating interview on how the company is scaling to meet unprecedented demand.
The not-quite everything store: Amazon throws in the towel in India’s ultra-competitive food delivery market. After three years of trying, Bezos is giving up on competing with Zomato and Swiggy for a slice of the $20 billion pie.
Bikes, bikes, bikes! Electric cargo bikes continue to show great promise, with Amazon doubling down on their usage in the UK. At an individual consumer level, new research shows cargo e-bikes can replace up to four car trips per week. For general-purpose e-bikes, France is now paying up to €4,000 for drivers to swap out of their cars and into this more efficient mode. California is also exploring a new e-bike rebate, wisely pairing it with some industrial policy that would incentivize companies to operate in-state (maybe they should apply this to the EV rebate as well?)
Bikes, scooters, and the other scooters? As for shared micromobility, new NACTO data shows systems recovering from their pandemic nadirs. But while ridership is rising, so are prices - which looks to be discouraging longer trips. Over in France, scooter operator TIER is piloting a new wheelchair accessible scooter. And with regards to the other kind of scooters (a.k.a. mopeds) - Smart Cities Dive looks at why Americans have been so slow to embrace them as a shared mobility option. (Like most things, the answer is that our streets and cars are terrifyingly large.) Over in the UK, Zapp is going public. But since they’re doing so via a SPAC - don’t take that to be a sign that there’s much market demand over there either!
The streets of Seoul: Korea’s high-tech metropolis is about to get something decidedly retro: the city’s first tram line in 57 years. While these trains won’t be particularly rapid, they will help connect a dense residential neighborhood with three metro stations that are just slightly too far away to comfortably walk to. (Hopefully the region’s subway strike has been resolved by the time it opens…)
Zero emissions delivery! A new report highlights best practices for cities establishing zero emissions delivery zones. Some of the findings are pretty easy (take a stepwise approach) while others sound slightly more daunting (reform state and federal policies.)
Well that ought to win riders back… NYC’s MTA ridership is still way below baseline, but that’s not stopping the agency from proposing a new set of fare hikes. Boosting the fare to $2.90 would put it way above even other expensive peers like WMATA and BART’s base fares. Ideally the state would step in with some fresh cash, but barring that - maybe consider adopting peak and off-peak fares, since lower income riders are less likely to ride during the traditional rush hour? Or maybe the MTA can learn from Vancouver, where network optimizations to make trains usable at all times of day for all types of riders has powered a robust ridership recovery.
CloudKitchens storms into direct ordering: The ghost kitchen powerhouse’s Otter subsidiary is wading into the competitive direct ordering market, as the startup looks to improve margins by eliminating third party commissions.
Send us your job listings! Next week we’ll be doing a big roundup of industry job openings. If your company, or any organization you admire, has some - send them over! (This should be more fun than covering layoffs, like the latest at DD.)
Links por todos: Oy - Australian instant deliverer Voly shutters. Can a new Amazon tool unkink supply chains? Using surge pricing to improve restaurant margins. Can crosswalks really be “illegal” if they’re saving lives? At least DC is considering improving its sidewalks without guerilla intervention… Some more stats on how dangerous America’s streets are. LA could finally stop “spot road widening” and instead may keep rolling out new bus lanes. Elon’s Boring Company leaves interested cities in a “hole” lot of trouble… Milan expands subway system. A soothing video of a cargo ebike.
Catch you in your inbox next week; don’t forget today’s the last day to score $99 Curbivore tickets!
- Jonah Bliss & The Curbivore Crew