E-scooters, bikes took Navy Yard by storm final week, as NYC hopes for transit options
Aneta Wojtowicz, a bodily therapist at Montefiore Hospital, tried out her new bicycle – courtesy of TA’s #BikeMatch program and Superpedestrian – on Friday. Picture: John McCarten/Brooklyn Eagle
Boerum Hill resident Ann Villaveccs, a nurse at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, had been attempting to get her arms on a bicycle because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday on the Brooklyn Navy Yard, her want got here true, by way of Transportation Alternate options’ bike match program.
“My household and mates despatched me hyperlinks to this system,” she stated. “I’m so blissful. They don’t know the way a lot this implies.”
Villaveccs was considered one of 50 well being care, transportation and meals employees who have been gifted new bicycles on Friday by means of this system.
The bikes have been donated by the micro-mobility firm Superpedestrian. And for enjoyable, recipients received an opportunity to test-drive Superpedestrian’s new “sensible” LINK electrical scooters.
With bicycles briefly provide as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the sturdy 3-speed bikes, value roughly $1,000, are a godsend, the recipients stated. The employees registered for the bicycles by means of Transportation Alternate options, in addition to by means of Make the Street New York and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Aneta Wojtowicz, a bodily therapist at Montefiore Hospital, stated she has been on a ready record for a motorcycle for months. Wojtowicz was thrilled to obtain one on Friday, and plans to journey it to work — a distance of 17 miles.
“I’ve to take a bus, then a subway, then one other subway to get to work,” she advised the Brooklyn Eagle. Her common commute takes her greater than two hours, so, “I want taking a motorcycle,” she stated.
Park Slope resident Sam Faria says he’s going to journey his new bicycle to work on the Dealer Joe’s in Soho.
“Everybody’s biking proper now,” he stated. “My coworker received a motorcycle by means of this system. After I noticed that I stated, ‘I would like this,’ and signed up.”
“To have my very own bike is great,” stated Jasmine Billups, a necessary employee with the MTA in Downtown Brooklyn. She plans to journey her bike for train.
This system (aka #BikeMatch) normally matches New Yorkers who’ve an additional bike with important employees who want one, Transportation Different’s Em Friedenberg advised the Eagle.
“This system has been working by means of the pandemic. We’ve matched a couple of hundred important employees in New York Metropolis,” and the idea has unfold to roughly 30 different cities, she stated.
However on this case, Superpedestrian donated 50 bicycles abruptly — a giant win for important employees.
As an added perk, the NYC Division of Transportation gave the recipients free bicycle helmets.
Taking a wise e-scooter for a spin
This fortunate reporter additionally received an opportunity to check out Superpedestrian’s LINK e-scooter on the occasion (Woo hoo!). I used to be curious how laborious it might be to journey, since I’d by no means been on an electrical scooter earlier than.
Right here’s the report: The scooter is kind of straightforward to journey. It takes about 15 seconds to determine the place the brakes and throttle are (on the handlebars), then push off and get rolling. It’s similar to using an everyday scooter, besides you don’t must expend any effort. The middle of gravity is low, so it feels steady. The highest velocity is 15 mph, which places it within the bicycle class (so please, put on a bicycle helmet.) The town can set decrease velocity limits if it needs to.
The scooter is supplied with onboard geofencing, which prevents the rider from venturing into no-go zones like sidewalks. The corporate arrange a sizzling zone in loads on the Navy Yard, and the scooters efficiently slowed, then stopped, as they approached it.
Prepare for e-scooters, Brooklyn
Shared e-scooters have been permitted by New York Metropolis for all of the boroughs besides Manhattan, and Superpedestrian will probably be one of many corporations responding to the town’s upcoming request for proposals. A pilot program might launch as early as March, 2021 — so prepare for Brooklyn to be e-scooter central subsequent 12 months.
Different corporations prone to take part within the RFP embrace well-known names like Lime, Hen and Lyft. Nevertheless, Superpedestrian thinks its scooters will shine as a result of they have been designed by a by-product of MIT’s Senseable City Lab, which zeroes in on the actual challenges confronted by cities.
In addition to onboard geofencing, the scooters additionally perform automated programs monitoring. They know if they’ve fallen over, if the brakes are failing, or if somebody is attempting to journey over the Brooklyn Bridge (that’s a no-no). The scooters are additionally additional sturdy, with thicker necks than different e-scooters.
“They’re engineered to take abuse and shield pedestrians,” Superpedestrian’s Paul Steely White advised the Eagle.
“We load the geofencing maps straight on the scooters, they usually don’t depend on cell connections to speak to the cloud,” he stated. “Speaking to the cloud takes time, and [by then] the scooter might be properly contained in the pedestrian space or sidewalk.” With onboard geofencing, “Even when you hit the accelerator, you possibly can’t go into the delicate zone.”
The scooters can journey as much as 55 miles on a single cost, so the corporate should recharge them much less typically than the everyday e-scooter, he added.
In Chicago and different cities, one downside e-scooters posed throughout preliminary pilots was that piles of scooters have been discarded in the public right of way. Steely White stated LINK’s expertise prevents customers from parking scooters the place they’re not wished, resembling on sidewalks.
In its first pilot, Chicago additionally failed to verify the e-scooters have been accessible in areas missing transit choices (Chicago has mounted that in their current pilot program). New York Metropolis’s pilot goals to provide precedence to areas underserved by public transit or present bike share packages.
Steely White says that LINK has “fewer questions of safety and it’s cheaper to function. So it will possibly serve the complete metropolis, not simply the rich areas.”
E-scooter rides normally value $1 to begin and 20-30 cents a minute, which can probably be NYC’s worth vary. However Steely White stated that individuals on public help will get a roughly 90 % low cost, making their common journey 50 cents or much less.
The Metropolis Council in June voted to legalize using electrical bikes and scooters within the metropolis. E-bikes and e-scooters have been legalized statewide when the state finances was handed on April 1. Helmets will probably be required of supply individuals and all riders below 18.
LINK operates in a number of U.S. cities already, and can launch in Rome in September.