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Thursday’s Headlines: Hungry for Unagi (The Scooter) Edition

12:04 AM EDT on October 15, 2020

New Yorkers will soon get a full taste of Unagi scooters. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

The Department of Transportation's e-scooter RFP won't go out today as it was supposed to, but Commissioner Polly Trottenberg promised that the rules for would-be scooter share companies will be issued before the month is out.

In the meantime, there's still some scooter news: Unagi, the e-scooter company that said its direct sales skyrocketed in New York City this year, is opening a physical storefront at 324 Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg today (the company's NYC office is at Newlab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, natch). The e-scooter shop is going in right next door to Van Moof's Williamsburg location, which makes the neighborhood something of a destination for all your e-mobility needs.

Unagi's store means that the scooter-curious don't have to wait for another demo by a company hoping to set up shop in the city for a chance to see what it's like to ride an e-scooter. If you already know you're into scooters, though, get to the 11 a.m. opening early, because the first 25 people in line will have a shot to win one of three Model One E500 scooters (that's a 10.7-percent chance of winning ... if our math is right and the company hasn't hidden some fine print somewhere).

The new retail operation, along with the two dozen companies that showed up to the DOT's scooter share industry day last week, is just another sign that micro-mobility companies are betting big on New York. And while every new person that ditches their car for a bike or a scooter is a positive for the environment and the cause of keeping people alive on the streets, the size of the city's bike lanes are going to have to start reflecting the traffic and interest in non-car mobility. There's some induced demand we can get behind.

In other news:

    • Bike thefts are still up! Grr. (NY Times) And cops aren't doing enough about it. Grr. Grr. (NY Post)
    • The city took a bow for two bike lane projects that had been started last year. (amNY)
    • The cop who ran down a woman in The Bronx as he allegedly responded to a call was going 60 at the time of the crash, Commissioner Dermot Shea revealed on Wednesday. The officer has been pulled from patrol pending the investigation. (NYDN, NY Post)
    • Well, turnabout is fair play. After road signs were hacked to display messages condemning cars, someone did the same thing to promote President Trump upstate. (NY Post)
    • It's amazing to think that it's news when a politician rides the subway, but we suppose that's where we're at. (NY Post)
    • More evidence that cars are a failed technology that are anathema to urban life came from Brooklyn yesterday. (amNY)
    • Besides Streetsblog, it looks like only the Daily News also covered the fear that President Trump's declaration of New York as an "anarchist" jurisdiction will have a negative impact on transit.
    • The MTA put out a radio PSA featuring the great Met pitcher John Franco urging everyone to wear masks on the subway (as one of the greatest relievers in baseball history, Franco knows a thing or two about saving games, if not lives). The PSA also serves as a reminder that Franco should be in Cooperstown. (Via YouTube)

— with Dave Colon

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