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The Micromobility Lime has reportedly launched a global “People-First Cities” campaign, which aims to mobilize its millions of riders to support “complete streets.” The company is also naming itself an advocate for improving the safety of urban infrastructure, Lime Advocacy Director Jonathan Perri told Smart Cities Dive exclusively.
Because the pandemic overhauled transportation and micromobility patterns nearly overnight, this resulted in more people opting to ride bikes and e-scooters. Ultimately in response to those changes, many cities turned to tactical urbanism solutions like slow streets and pop-up bike lanes. Thanks to complete streets programs in Los Angeles, a new report published by LADOT showed cycling in the city has become safer where said programs are set in place.
Complete streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. They are especially designed for people who have experienced systemic underinvestment or whose needs have not been met through a traditional transportation approach, including older adults, people living with disabilities, people who cannot afford or do not have access to a car, and Black, Native, and Hispanic or Latinx communities.
Lime studied the impacts of the changes brought by the pandemic among its users across the globe and found a 111% increase in trips by its users on streets with new cycle lanes between Feb. and June 2020 in Paris, London, and Berlin. In San Francisco, the company found that while its vehicles saw a 41% decrease in trips from Nov. 2019 to Nov. 2020, ridership increased 28% on the city’s recently added “Slow Streets.”
Creating complete streets means transportation agencies must change their approach to community roads. So by adopting a Complete Streets policy, communities can direct their transportation planners and engineers to routinely design and operate the entire right of way to prioritize safer slower speeds for all people who use the road, over high speeds for motor vehicles. Complete streets can accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users, not just cars and freight vehicles.
Having recently joined the Complete Streets Coalition, Lime is encouraging users to contact their members of Congress to support the Complete Streets Act, sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. The Complete Streets Act would require states to set aside a portion of their federal highway funding to create a grant program that will fund complete streets projects. Through this program, eligible local and regional entities will be able to apply for technical assistance and capital funding to build safe streets projects — such as sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, and bus stops. So far, about 1,000 Lime users have contacted their representatives or senators, according to Perri.
According to a Smart Growth America blog post, the federal initiative would provide several potential benefits for micromobility vehicle users and pedestrians by setting aside 5% of annual federal highway funds for Complete Streets projects, requiring states to provide technical aid and funds to communities that create such projects, and directing localities to implement Complete Street policies that meet certain standards to access funding.
Moreover, Lime also wants to encourage its users to voice their support for the Biden administration’s proposed $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which could potentially incorporate the Complete Streets Act, according to Lime. The plan calls for a $20 billion effort to fund safety improvements for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, and a new “Safe Streets for All” program that would fund state and local Vision Zero plans.