Uber Sells Jump to Lime

image from mma.prnewswire.com

In a headline that would be complete gibberish 5 years ago, Uber announced that it was selling Jump to its competitor Lime, which it also owns part of. Jump started in New York back in 2010 and came to DC in 2017. It offered a new kind of dockless bike, one that was both electric and lock-to. It started out with 100 bikes, plans to go to 400 and a desire to get 1000. This was when DC had suddenly been inundated with cheap, dockless bikes as part of a pilot, bikes like Ofo, Spin and MoBike that disappeared from DC's streets in 2018 almost as quickly as they came, but Jump survived and when DC showed an interest in moving to lock-to, it seemed that they had the inside track. I rarely saw freejacked Jump bikes on the street or abandoned ones in the river. They seemed to be different in that sense too. 

Lime survived too though, but only by changing. In the beginning the had cheep green and yellow bikes, but later switched to electric scooters. 

image from twt-thumbs.washtimes.com

In April 2018, Uber bough Jump reportedly for $100M, and then integrated the service into their app. It appeared they were positioning themselves to become and integrated transportation company, and that looked like good new for Jump too. 

The deal gives Uber access to Jump’s 12,000 dockless, GPS-enabled bikes in 40 cities across six countries — a vast network in the bike-share world that will certainly become even larger as Uber’s capital will help to scale it even further. It also helps fulfill one of the company’s missions to branch out into new modes of transportation.

In the same month there was more good news as DDOT withdrew its plans to charge dockless bikes fees, require lock-to and demand bike rack installation. [In private conversations with Jump management I know they preferred lock-to and were eager to install more bike racks as long as all competitors had to as well]. WAMU asked at the time if dockless bikes and scooters were a fad or a fixture, and the answer appears to be a little of both; or at least that they're here to stay but that the marketplace is still changing quickly. 

By late 2018, the cheap bikes were gone and Jump was one of five applicants for a permit to provide dockless bikes. And though they were pulling out elsewhere, by late 2019 they were the only company offering both e-bikes and electric scooters and they had 975 e-bikes (pretty close to their start-up aspiration); though new e-bike provider Helbiz joined the DC market, launching in late January 2020. Meanwhile in April, Lime, Bird, Bolt and Razor were all kicked of DC streets when they failed to secure permits and Jump was allowed to expand up to 2,500 bikes if they chose to. A month later Covid-19 caused them to pause their service. 

Then Uber sold Jump to Lime, but then also bought more of Lime with an option to buy all of it later.

Lime’s acquisition of Jump occurred as part of a $170-million investment in Lime, partly led by Uber, which already owned a small part of Lime (even though Lime was a competitor of Uber’s Jump the whole time). The latest deal also allows allows Uber to buy Lime in 2022, if it wants.

At the same time, it announced layoffs.

 The company also announced it was laying off 3,700 employees, around 14 percent of its workforce. At the end of April, Lime also laid off roughly the same percentage of workers, amounting to 80 employees without jobs.

The industry was already in turmoil and consolidating/rebalancing. Covid-19 has made an unstable industry even more wobbly.

Things have moved so quickly and with so many changes, it's impossible to say what will happen next. Maybe dockless will get bigger. Maybe it will go away. Maybe it will be companies we recognize. Maybe it will be all new ones. All I can say is hold on to your butts. 

9 recently funded projects will help make the region more bikeable

The COG's Transportation Planning Board recently approved 15 projects to share in the $857,266 of funding from the federal Transportation Land Use Connections (TLC) Program.

TLC provides short-term consultant services to local jurisdictions for small planning projects that promote mixed-use, walkable communities and support a variety of transportation alternatives. The program provides consultant assistance of $30,000 to $60,000 for planning projects, and up to $80,000 for design or preliminary engineering projects.

Of those 15 projects, at least 9 have a bicycle component. They are

District of Columbia -- Independence Avenue SW Transportation Assessment

Local and federal agencies are collaborating to improve connectivity, multi-modal use (walking, biking, transit, and curbside uses), safety, and the quality of the pedestrian experience traversing north-south between the National Mall and the SW waterfront and neighborhoods, and east-west along Independence Avenue SW.

Arlington County -- Micro-Mobility Transit Hub Prototype

This design project will develop plans for a prototype installation of a micro-mobility hub that can be added to high ridership transit stops and stations. Micro-mobility refers to transportation options that are often shared like bikes or scooters used for short trips. The prototype should include parking/docking and battery charging facilities for bikeshare, e-scooters and other shared micro-mobility devices, components for parklets, public art, informational displays, accommodations for people with disabilities, and seating/waiting areas for transit passengers.

Prince George’s County -- Cool Spring and Adelphi Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Improvement Project

There is a lack of infrastructure to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian connection between the Cool Spring Neighborhood and the Purple Line station at the University of Maryland Campus. The project will develop preliminary engineering designs for a separated pedestrian/bicycle facility along Cool Springs Road and a crossing at Adelphi Road.

Prince George’s County -- Riggs Road Neighborhood Bicycle Boulevards Project

This project will develop design plans for bicycle lanes and shared use roads on several local streets in the Langley Park area. The project will greatly improve pedestrian and bicycle access to the future Purple Line station.

City of Takoma Park -- Maple Avenue Complete Street Design

Maple Avenue is a well-traveled neighborhood street connecting residents and visitors to schools, jobs, housing and recreation, while also providing linkages to the Takoma Metro station and the Sligo Creek Trail. This TLC project will redesign Maple Avenue as a complete street which prioritizes pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users in order to provide safer, more convenient, and more comfortable travel for all users.

City of Bowie -- Feasibility Study for Pedestrian Overpass over Maryland Route 214

The proposed crossing would be a crucial segment of The Bowie Byway recommended in the city's Trails Master Plan and the Countywide Master Plan trail shown the 2006 Bowie and Vicinity Master Plan (Collington Branch Stream Valley Trail). It will link the neighborhoods of Ternberry and Collington Ridge and South Lake to the Pointer Ridge neighborhood and the Hall Road transit hub and public library.

City of Frederick -- Rails with Trails Phase 3 Bypass Design

The Bypass will connect an existing shared-use path through the Clemson Corner neighborhood with the northern end of the shared-use path now undergoing final design and construction ("Phase 2").

East Street Rails with Trails will create a north-south bicycling spine for the City of Frederick connecting its downtown MARC station with neighborhoods and regional shopping destinations to its north before continuing beyond to the town of Walkersville.

Fairfax County -- Fairfax County Parkway Trail and Cross County Trail Connection

The Fairfax County Parkway Trail runs for 28 miles through communities from Reston to Lorton, while the Cross County Trail runs for over 40 miles through Regional Activity Centers including Annandale and Fairfax. The county seeks assistance to design a shared use path connection between these two trails, to improve a gap where pedestrians currently travel in a narrow roadway.

Town of Herndon (Fairfax County) -- Shared Micromobility Feasibility Study

The study will analyze current trends and future needs in shared micromobility like Capital Bikeshare, e-bikes, scooters, and others, specific to the Town of Herndon, and provide implementation recommendations for a shared micromobility system that best connects those working, living, and visiting Herndon to transit, trails, and activity centers.

In addition, the North Capitol Cloverleaf Urbanization Study: Replacing Highways with Human Scale Infrastructure could create some bike facility within the area currently used by the cloverleaf. The 2010 feasibility study did. 

image from washcycle.typepad.com

2019 State of the Commute - Free Parking is bad

Late last year, the Council of Governments presented the results their latest State of the Commute survey. There was nothing too Earth-shattering in it and it was, as usual, hampered by combining walking and biking in most statistics, but it does show - again - a connection between free parking and solo-automobile commuting. 

For the region, walking, scootering and biking (WSB) made up 3.3% of all commute trips with nearly half of that (1.4%) biking. Despite all the changes in recent years (dockless scooters for example), a 50% increase in reported benefits and 30% saying it's gotten easier (much higher than any other mode), the WSB percentage is unchanged since 2016.

Combined
Combined

Bike commuters tend to live close to work and be young, white, male and well-paid (but not exclusively any of those)

Character

17% of people in DC are WSB commuters but only 1% in the MD suburbs and 2% in VA. About 6% of white commuters bike, but only 1% of black or 2% of Hispanic. 

For those that don't own a car, 16% WSB commute, but that drops to 2% if the household owns a car. 

Average commute distance for bike commuters is 4.2 miles and 24 minutes long. 

And of course, WBS commuters are the most happy

Cantgetno

The main reasons WSB commuters use their modes are - in order - exercise, avoid stress, save money, save time and flexibility. 

And of course, when parking is free - people drive alone much more often. (I would have really preferred a pair of pie charts here).

FreeParking

Battery Lane plan includes a separated bike lane, protected intersectin and improved Bethesda Trolley Trail

Battery+Lane+District+illustrative+FEB+2020

Developers got a second round of approval for a new Battery Lane District plan last week. The plan includes a two-way separated bicycle facility along the south side of Battery Lane, replacing the current bike lanes, and an improved Bethesda Trolley Trail (a.k.a. North Bethesda Trail). The improved trail would be in a linear park with nearly an acre of extra land, have separate paths for cyclists and pedestrian and have an addition pedestrian connection to Woodmont Avenue. 

The Bethesda Trolley Trail is a multi-use trail between Battery Lane Park and the Twinbrook Metro built primarily on the right-of-way of the old Tennallytown and Rockville Railroad. This new plan includes a few hundred feet of the trail to the NIH property. 

MapBTT

Previous plans called for a two-way separated bike lane on the south side of Battery Lane from Old Georgetown Road to the Trail and on the north side from the Trail to Woodmont Avenue. However, MCDOT has determined d that the south side of the street was the preferred alignment to facilitate safe and efficient travel across the Battery Lane / Woodmont Avenue intersection and Wisconsin Avenue/ Battery Lane/Rosedale Intersection, and coordinate with previously approved bicycle lanes east of the project along the 8280
Wisconsin Avenue frontage. [Note the image at top has the bike way on the north side] The applicants will also build a protected intersection at Battery Lane and Woodmont Avenue.

Bike way

Plans also call for a pedestrian connection going east from Woodmont Avenue, through the rear of the properties on the north side of Battery Lane, to the Bethesda Trolley Trail. Furthermore

On Site D (below) of the Preliminary Plan, the Sector Plan recommends an expansion of Battery Lane Urban Park, referred to as the North Bethesda Trail Urban Greenway (Page 82 of the Sector Plan) and calls for this to be a green and active linear park connection between the National Institutes of Health and Woodmont Triangle. The Sector Plan recommends the expansion to be approximately 0.9 acres in size and wide enough to allow stream improvements, including daylighting of the existing piped stream, environmental interpretation and play elements. The proposed configuration of Site D will allow for an expansion of a neighborhood green as recommended in the Sector Plan, with the details of size and design to be reviewed at the time of Site Plan, as conditioned.

The Applicant proposes to enhance the existing Bethesda Trolley Trail which will separate the pedestrian and bicyclists on two separate paths. 

Sites

Because the project is being phased in, the applicant will have to implement the two-way separated bicycle facility along the south side of Battery Lane as both an interim and ultimate condition. They'll need approval of the Interim Separated Bike Lane Facility between Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue before getting a building permit. They need to build the protected intersection before getting the first occupancy permit. Approval of site plans is dependent on the design of the ultimate bike lane, and final occupancy of the sites is dependent on the construction of - or financial contribution toward - the separated bike lane. 

A new separated bike lane, a protected intersection, a trail through a wider park with a daylighted stream and a new pedestrian connection to the trail makes for a nice set of improvements in this area. 

Seat Pleasant could become a trail crossroads

Seat Pleasant, located right next to Washington, DC's eastern corner, updated their Master Plan in 2018 and while it doesn't contain many specifics, it does in general plan for a more bike-friendly city, envisioning a future with more bike lanes connecting to regional bike infrastructure and taking advantage of the planned Central Avenue Trail.

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 12.01.39 AM

Looking at the open space plan above, it becomes clear that what Seat Pleasant might lack in current facilities, it more than makes up for in potential. Along the east side runs Cabin Branch, a green corridor which Prince George's County has identified as trail corridor in their 2040 plan. On the south side is Central Avenue, a priority corridor which should be hitting 100% design some time soon. On the east is the only piece of remaining railroad ROW from the old Chesapeake Beach railroad. And running near the north end is MLK, Jr. Avenue, a priority trail corridor and one that WABA wants to be see built sooner rather than later. There are also two metro stations just beyond the south side of town, and an Orange line station that would be only 1.5 miles away on a Cabin Branch Trail that extended to it. That's a pretty nice starting point.

A Cabin Branch Trail, which the Master Plan mentions once, isn't even really a twinkle in the county's eye, but could become a trail from Cheverly to Capitol Heights where it starts about 1200 feet from Watts Branch. The plan seems to show it only from MLK to Drylog Street, which would be a mistake, but I guess it depends on who owns the land along it between Drylog and Central.  

The plan shows the current "Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail" extended north from Crown Street to MLK and then rebranded as "Maker's Alley" - a connector along which quiet maker spaces can exist with access to nature. Unfortunately for the trail, the whole CB railroad ROW has been built on within DC, but in MD the ROW picks up again to the east where the Blue line goes under ground again.  The addition of a boundary stone park at the NE Corner with DC is a nice touch. This would create an opportunity to connect to the Marvin Gaye Park Trail, which ends only 3 blocks away, if they can coordinate it with DC. 

MLK Jr. is also built on a former railroad ROW - the WB&A, which becomes a legit bike trail farther north. It currently has some unappealing bike lanes on it, but it's a good location for a protected bikeway. And here again, coordination with DC could continue it along Dix to the Marvin Gaye Park Trail.

Central

The rendering above shows the bikeway on Central, but nothing on Addison. That's unfortunate, because a bikeway along Addison Road (north-south) and another on Drylog Street, with its extension through "Innovation Village" to the west, would complete the network and leave everyone within a few blocks of the bike network. 

Seat Pleasant has enviable opportunities to build a bikeable and walkable town, with the chance to serve as a connecting point for the Marvin Gaye Park, Anancostia Tributary, WB&A and Cheseapeake Beach Railroad trails, but the follow through will be critical. 

Arlington's 2020 Resurfacing Projects for Complete Streets

Arlington County is accepting comments on their 2020 Resurfacing Projects for Complete Streets now through tomorrow April 21st. 

Staff have reviewed the annual list of projects up for routine maintenance and identified a subset of streets for potential projects. Community feedback about current experiences with the street segments, along with other available data, such as plan guidance and crash data, will help inform the development of concept plans.

2020 potential projects

2020 Engagement

Wilson Boulevard – N Larrimore Street to McKinley Road (Dominion Hills/Boulevard Manor)
Potomac Avenue – S Crystal Drive to Alexandria City Line (Potomac Yard)
Clarendon Boulevard – N Nash to N Oak Street (Clarendon-Courthouse/Radnor/Fort Myer Heights)

With all of these they want to Improve access and safety for people walking, biking and driving and they want to know "how you currently use the street and how you would like to use it in the future." On Potomac Avenue in particular the goal is to "Improve bike safety along Potomac Avenue and improve connectivity between Crystal Drive, Four Mile Run Trail, and Potomac Yard Trail."

2019 Engagement

N Lorcom Lane – Old Dominion Drive to N Taylor Street and N Military Road – Lorcom Lane to Old Dominion Drive (North Arlington) – These projects were open to public feedback in 2019, and moved to 2020 implementation because of construction around Dorothy Hamm Middle School.

Things they can do are paint bump outs, medians, buffered bike lanes or create painted traffic controls

Trafficcontrol

Lynn Street Esplanade and Custis Trail Improvements are complete

Projects to improve the Custis Trail and Lynn Street Esplanade in Rosslyn are now "substantially complete". Work began in late 2018 to widen sidewalks and add a new on-street bike lane along North Lynn Street, widen the Custis Trail to 16 feet from its current 10 feet and make a number of other crosswalk, intersection and streetlight upgrades to improve safety and accessibility. New Lynn Street, and the Intersection of Doom, is seen below.

DES-Lynn-Street-photo-April_2020-768x1024

This was the most recent photo of the Custis I could find, which shows that it's so nice that drivers think it's a road.

CustisRecent

Although this photo could be more recent. Relatedly, the Rosslyn Bike-o-meter is up and running again. The trail has been open since August, but not sure about Lynn.

 

New 11th Street Bridge Park design aims for better trail connections

Sharedpath

The planners of the 11th Street Bridge Park have a new design that is intended to create better connections with the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, but the changes from the 2017 design are modest, especially for cyclists. 

It remains true that the bridge will be a poor through-travel option with the current 11th Street Bridge next door, but it will still feature a shared used path down the middle. The route on the south side will be slightly different with the path taking it's own route to Good Hope Road, instead of joining the current path as was planned in 2017. The existing path will also have bioswales built adjacent to it. Pedestrians on the other hand, will find several new connections on both sides of the river. 

2020map

A small change that might matter to cyclists is that in the old design the amphitheater would have faced the trail, with the stage adjacent to it and the audience looking towards the trail. But in the current design the stage has been swung around so that the audience is facing the water now. There is still a pedestrian access point from the amphitheater to the Anacostia Riverwalk's west bank trail. 

And while maybe not a change, just new information, the plan is to add lighting not just to the park, but all the approaches between the park, bridge and trails. 

Lighting

For it's part, the NCPC seems very interested in the bicycle and pedestrian aspects and impacts of this plan. Two of their seven comments were about that or the trail connections, for example they're concerned about wayfinding. 

The revised preliminary design further promotes pedestrian and bicycle access, as both will be essential in ensuring a successful park. From the north side, pedestrians will access the bridge where it lands adjacent to the Navy Yard and the existing 11th Street Bridge. On the south side, the bridge connects to the adjacent grade, and paths and ramps allow access down to Anacostia Drive, Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Connections will allow both bicycles and pedestrians to cross over from the existing bridge to the park bridge. Thru-bicycle access will primarily be along the existing 11th Street Bridge, although a shared bicycle/pedestrian path will allow direct access to the bridge programming. Due to the activity-based nature of the bridge park design, utilizing a shared bicycle/pedestrian path through the park could become problematic when usage increases. Appropriate wayfinding and materials can help mitigate conflicts on a shared path and staff suggests the Commission request that the applicant provide additional details on the bicycle and pedestrian signage and shared path materials for inclusion in the final
submission.

In the below drawing, you can see the planned connections between Good Hope Road, the bridge and the park. These are, of course, preliminary, and NCPC wants them to work on these. It's hard to see, but there is a small pedestrian connection between the two trails about halfway between Good Hope and the bridge. 

Connections

In the below rendering, the couple in the foreground is walking on the pedestrian connection between the bridge trail and the park trail.

Anacostia

The next drawing gives a better view of the north side connections. The trail would continue under the park (the part now closed for environmental remediation, and then up to Water street on the parcel next to the bridge. There would be a connection between the bridge and park to the park, and another stub trail along the waterfront. It also shows the ramp and staircase from the trail to the park directly below the park.

Connections

Here's a rendering from the west bank trail.

West

And a rendering of the park from the east side, with the existing trail path and the park paths.

East

And a view of the shared use path from above, with the amphitheater below that. 

Pathabove

Arboretum to create new, better entrances for pedestrians and cyclists - but not right now

Screenshot 2020-04-08 at 12.25.01 AM

The US Department of Agriculture wants to make perimeter improvements to the Arboretum including upgrading and replacing fences and  gates. The two most important gate changes, at Bladensburg Road and M Street are still in the long-term plan, but not something they plan to do right now.

The US Department of Agriculture has been getting the approval it needs to make changes to the Arboretum's gates and 2.4 miles of fencing for some time now, for both aesthetic and practical reasons. 

The existing fencing and gates are in various states of disrepair and are not consistent in appearance and design due to various sections being installed at later dates from the original fencing installed in the 1960s. Portions of the existing fence, mainly along New York Avenue are located outside USNA property and it is the intent to relocate those sections of fencing onto USNA property. Also, USNA is experiencing deer entering the Property and destroying specimen plantings throughout the year, and fawns being trapped between the pickets. The project proposes to install new fencing that maintains a consistent height of 8’-0” and picket spacing set to a maximum of 4” on center. Studies have indicated that fencing of 8 feet have reduced deer infestation as much as 90%.

While replacing the fencing and moving it a few feet in might be interesting, it's not really important for cycling, but the location and condition of the gates is.

The biggest change they plan - but not now - is to add a gate on Bladensburg Road, something they've been planning to do for 20 years. Maybe they'll get to it during infrastructure week. When finished, that gate will be open to all users and become the main entrance, and the current main gate at R Street will become staff-use only. However there is some indication that they will restore and open the adjacent pedestrian gate. If they do, they should absolutely make that gate available for the general public. It will create an entrance for people who live in the Arboretum neighborhood and another way for cyclists to access the property.

The other big change is their plan to turn the M Street gate that was closed in 1992 into a non-car entry. That too will have to wait. [They say it was closed for "operational reasons" but it was closed because of crime.] 

A new perimeter M Street gate will require coordination between the National Arboretum, District officials, and local community to improve the right-of-way, which is District property, and to address potential future operational issues

The M Street entrance is likely to become the end point for the Arboretum Bridge that is to be built with the next section of the Anacostia River Trail, so it's particularly important. And in this case, the institutional support is pretty strong. Delegate Elanor Holmes Norton came out in favor of reopening. In its response to the plan, the National Capital Planning Commission recommended that the National Arboretum work with the District and local community to reestablish the M Street entrance for pedestrians and bicyclists. And others have voiced similar support over the years. It's unclear if the entrance will use the main automobile gate or the smaller pedestrian access gate adjacent to it.

Screenshot 2020-04-08 at 12.21.48 AM

Other gate modifications will happen in the short term.  The Washington Times gate along New York Avenue will change from a double swing gate capable of allowing cars through to a single span one that isn't. But currently cars aren't allowed to use it anyway. Two other service gates along NY Ave will be removed. A maintenance gate and the main gate along NY Ave will be replaced with more modern equipment. The "Azalea guard house" and gate will be removed and salvaged for future use (maybe it could become the entry gate for people coming from the new bridge). 

It's hard to get excited about the short-term change - though I don't want any more fawns getting caught in the fence, but it's the two gates that are farther out, and the bridge, that are real game changers. 

Paper: Quantifying CO2 savings of cycling

A recent paper tries to quantify how much increased cycling can reduce greenhouse gas production. 

This study shows that if levels of cycling in the EU-27 were equivalent to those found in Denmark, bicycle use would help achieve 12 to 26% of the 2050 target reduction set for the transport sector, depending on which transport mode the bicycle replaces.

Most if not all projections and scenarios conclude that measures focusing on improvement alone will fail to meet EU mid-term and long-term climate change objectives. Improvement measures are only estimated to deliver a 20% decrease in transport emission by 2050, using 1990 levels as the baseline.

In addition to technological developments and innovations, achieving the EU’s objectives will require ambitious plans which foresee an EU-wide modal shift away from individual motorized transport. Ordinary bicycles, pedelecs and bicycle-share schemes, on their own and in combination with mass transportation, all have the potential to further contribute to a much needed modal shift.

Above, where they mention "improvement measures" they mean improvement GHG efficiency within the transportation sector. Other strategies they see are avoiding, shifting and shortening.

Avoiding or reducing trips can for instance be done through integration of land use and transport planning.

Shifting is moving transportation from high GHG modes (like automobiles) to low ones (like biking and walking). Shortening is encouraging shorter trips. 

Cycling permits shorter trips, allowing a cyclist to cover a shorter distance yet still arrive at the same destination. Even when origin and destination are the same, the bicycle and, say, the car often take different routes, with the car trip being a few percentage points longer than a bicycle. This difference is because systems do not always have the same network density.

But cycling also and more importantly allows for shorter trips because of a destination switch: the concept of constant travel time budgets reveals that a change of travel time will be compensated for by a change of destination.

Reaching the EU's goals will likely require all of these strategies. In other words, fuel efficiency alone is going to get us there. 

 

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