Elon Musk is a very smart man.
The billionaire entrepreneur has spawned several successful companies, including Tesla and Space-X. He’s widely recognized as one of the visionaries in today’s tech landscape, with many putting him on-par with the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Given this, it’s a bit odd to see Musk so aggressively market the Hyperloop, a concept that has not been built, or really tested, anywhere in the world. Yet, Musk set the Twitterverse on fire, by tweeting that he had received “verbal approval” for building a “Hyperloop” between New York and Washington. According to Musk, the new transportation option would allow passengers to travel between the two cities in just 29 minutes (compared with 3 ½ hours today). He claims, and has claimed in the past, that construction will commence soon and will be far cheaper and more cost effective than high speed rail travel. He has even gone so far as to draw comparison with high speed rail efforts that are underway today, seeing these as a waste of time and money.
Last weekend, the MTA’s recent struggles went national when the Mayor of Chicago, published a Monday New York Times Op-Ed entitled “In Chicago, The Trains Actually Run on Time.” The haughty, headline of Emanuel’s opine earned a swift backlash from New York’s press and many ordinary citizens. New Yorkers may hate the MTA, but it’s our MTA! Beneath all of the noise, there was a rare, thoughtful and prominent critique of urban mass transit best practices.
For me, many of Emanuel’s argument’s resonated, while other’s didn’t.
Yesterday, a tragic accident in Manhattan claimed the life of a cyclist. Dan Hanegby, a 36 year old from Brooklyn, is the Citibike’s first fatality in its four years of operation.
The New York Times provides a summary of the accident below:
The New York Post is reporting that up to five dockless bikeshare operators are slated to begin operations here in New York over the coming weeks and months. The companies, which include Bluegogo and Spin, two companies that recently launched in the Bay Area with very limited success, are targeting portions of the region that are uncovered Citibike.
The tone of the Post’s coverage comes close to encapsulating the level of trepidation and concern that civic leaders have when it comes to these services:
I don’t use the word crisis very often, certainly not to describe a transportation problem, but that’s the only applicable word that come to mind, which describe the levels of bike theft plaguing cities today. Long ignored by police and policy makers, the theft of bicycles has now become a common, tolerated, fact of urban life. While great progress has been made in building bicycle lanes, bicycle security has been largely gone unmentioned. No one has tackled the thorny problem that results in many fewer cyclists on the streets and millions in lost property.
March 1st Links: Updated throughout the day
If you follow me on Twitter or read my last post, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t taken kindly to the notion that Uber and other car sharing services are somehow responsible for the decline in subway service. To me, that’s attacking the symptom and not the disease. Yes, it’s true that there has been a slight decline in Subway ridership, but that’s because there has also been an admitted decline in Subway service, especially on the weekend, where the dip was significant (Weekday service is actually higher than ever).
Ironically, the day after my post on the subject, I was given the unfortunate opportunity to document what a such a decline looks like from the perspective of a frequent rider.
Below is an annotated photo essay. In the notes section I’ll briefly explain the problem, the cause ,and what (if anything) is being done about it.