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Relive Curbivore '23 with New Video Replays
Industry news: 7-Eleven, curb pricing, drone deliveries
It’s hard to believe Curbivore 2023 was already 13 days ago - the conversations and interactions still feel so fresh! In case you were unable to join us on March 3rd, or missed any of the sessions, we’ve now released recordings of the day’s panels, speeches, and fireside chats.
To start the day, we had our kick-off speech, followed by a great conversation between Uber Eats, a local shopper, and Erewhon Market’s Chief Growth Officer. Our eyes then turned to the curb, where city leaders and private sector problem solvers mapped out the current state of our streets. “Cooking Up Something New” focused on the new tools, menus and spaces that are rethinking off-premises dining, and “Safer Roads for All” shared insights from Cambridge Mobile Telematics.
In the afternoon, attendees started “Charging Ahead!” After, we explored how to build a world designed for delivery. To cap off the day, we discussed how to support the workers and businesses of tomorrow, and heard how Wonder and KDS deliver in 30 minutes or less. If that’s not enough - there’s always our snappy Highlights Reel.
Whew - what a day! If you want to be a part of next year’s lively conversations, or host a webinar or happy hour in the next quarter - let’s chat.
HOT INDUSTRY NEWS & GOSSIP
Transit looks to the curb: Assessing some key lessons learned at Curbivore, GovTech closes the loop between smart curb pricing and adequate transit funding. SFMTA is going after some low hanging fruit, hoping to run meters later and on Sundays to plug a funding gap caused by ridership losses that haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic.
More post-Curbivore coverage: Catching up with Alto. The most interesting transportation companies meet the gig-work innovators. Hear what fast-growing companies like Sweetfin think about PDD startups like Coco. Can cities get people out of their cars and onto the curb?
Money, money, money! The White House’s 2024 DOT budget request includes a whopping $1.3 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a hope to improve the country’s dismal safety statistics. With another $1.5B for rail safety, and $1.2B in infrastructure funding, maybe we can move more freight to rail without endangering the towns those trains run through? Concurrently, the Biden-Harris administration opened applications for $2.5 billion in neighborhood EV charging grant money.
Damned if you do: It’s great to see cities make the rare, large investment in public transit, which makes it all the sadder when the results fall short. Exhibit A: NYC spent billions on an already outdated new commuter rail terminal, that not only doesn’t save commuters time (because of how deep it is) - it’s actually taking folks longer because the agency has done such a poor job managing transfers. And increasing service would be difficult because the MTA forgot to order new train cars, and not all the old ones fit in the new tunnel. Anyone have a tape measure? Exhibit B: Austin’s ambitious light rail network is already being chopped way down, as rising costs make it look like only half as much track may be laid as previously promised.
Damned if you don’t: That said, the answer obviously can’t be “don’t build transit,” as seen in this new WSJ piece. Fast-growing cities like Miami and Nashville have failed to make adequate infrastructure investments, and now one driver’s mile-long dash to the pharmacy supposedly takes 45 minutes (which we should note is half the speed of walking.) It’s not exactly shocking that the Journal then pretends this congestion will slow down job growth (ignoring that added density means more people are near a given office, even if their commute is slower) as opposed to blaming it on say state governments that would rather demonize already marginalized groups than invest in higher education. Hmm…
Rivians for thee… Amazon and Rivian are in discussions to end a pact that had meant Amazon was the exclusive orderer of the EV maker’s delivery vans, after the Everything Store decided to order fewer vehicles than initially assumed. If the gambit succeeds, this could give the beleaguered EV maker a much needed shot in the arm. Bezos and Co may be inclined to make the deal happen, given that they own 17% of the Orange County-based startup.
Enter the drone zone? A month after earning a coveted Part 135 Certification from the FAA, drone delivery startup Flytrex’s CEO exclusively talks to OttOmate about what’s next for the company, as it hopes to build off of partnerships with Taco Bell and Starbucks in cities across North Carolina and Texas. Meanwhile, the FAA has unveiled new rules that may ease drone operations nationwide. Look out below…
More hubbub at Grubhub: Just Eat Takeaway’s acquisition of Grubhub continues to falter, as longtime company exec Adam DeWitt is stepping down as CEO, the second shakeup of the position in less than two years. Howard Migdal, the CEO of JET's Canadian subsidiary SkipTheDishes, will be the next to give it a go.
We’re tuning in! The Cities First podcast talks to Selika Josiah Talbott, former Deputy Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, about how AVs impact Vision Zero. And Meredith Sandland and Carl Orsbourn have a new book - Delivering the Digital Restaurant: The Path to Digital Maturity - that’s sure to be a must read for any delivery-oriented operator.
Sometimes the low hanging fruit is rotten? Massachusetts is looking to collect new data from 3PD workers / vehicles, and potentially tack-on a per-trip fee, similar to the state’s rules for ridehailing. A fee may be all well and good if it keeps scarce curb space properly supplied, but why not charge anyone that uses the space, and not just the delivery app users that happen to be “easiest” to invoice?
“Oh Thank Heaven!” RIP to Masatoshi Ito, who built the Japanese convenience retailer that gobbled up 7-Eleven in 1991. One could argue that no man has had as legible an impact on the urban and suburban forms of both America and Japan. One could also argue that it’s unfair you can buy fresh onigiri in a Japanese convenience store but the best an American one will do for you is a freezer burned burrito.
Link delivery: NYC may finally end free street parking; better late than never. We’re not holding our breath, but a new bill making its way in the CA Assembly hopes to photograph bike lane infractions. An informative deep-dive on why converting office buildings to new housing is so difficult. Fallout from SVB bank crisis is a good reminder of the unduly complicated way this country funds affordable housing. Upper West Siders vote against delivery worker rest stop, seem to prefer that couriers instead spit in their food. California court affirms right to treat drivers as contractors, but allows gig workers to collectively bargain. Five companies to keep your eyes on. Uber Eats VP shares secrets. More pedestrian space heads to Broadway, NYC. Via snaps up CityMapper. Angelenos perturbed by mysterious free food deliveries in Highland Park. Ultra-fast grocer Food Rocket crashes.
Until next week!
- Jonah Bliss & The Curbivore Crew