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Rewards From Your Personal "Moonshots?"

Two news items from the Star News, June 8, 2019:

Walmart Groceries to Fridge:

“Walmart is ready to deliver groceries straight to your refrigerator.” It's a national rollout. The delivery process is filmed and can be monitored. Goodby to trips to the grocery store, (and maybe all the budget busting, calorific stuff the kids or you didn’t intend to buy?) In tests, “skeptics were converted into believers.”

Bank of America Mobile/Online Banking Wins:

Bank of America is closing out of that fancy new headquarters they put downtown on Third Street which helped jump start the Downtown Renaissance, noting “Every day, more customers use their mobile phones or online banking to do their basic transactions.” Locations remain on Oleander or College Road for traditional services or appointments for more complex services. Goodbye to nearly all bank trips.

Ready for these changes? Do you see a pattern here in simplifying your life, eliminating the unnecessary? We’re the Moonshot advocates. If you can, we say leap ahead of and embrace these and other changes.

Let’s have fun with some ideas for change:

Electric Shuttles Everywhere

Buy forty four, 23 passenger electric shuttles, (really overgrown golf carts with side curtains and accessories). Clear 1,000 attendees per round trip from extended Nutt Street behind North Riverfront Park of 7,000 event attendees, twenty times a year. Go out the Rail Trail to McRae, put all the parking out there. Saves millions in unaffordable, impractical downtown parking, substitutes inexpensive surface parking past McRae for downtown high rise parking lots, congestion, pollution and frustration. (See our blog of May 7 for more details).

Walkable, Rideable Downtown

Now you have 44 shuttles, “free” for 365 days a year, enough to turn downtown and more into a car free mecca, with free or nominal fares to travel anywhere that is connected. Reduce congestion, increase fun and business, attract residents to a TechHub that would enrich the region with jobs and revenue!

Help Wave Transit Serve Your Needs, Cut Your Transport Costs?

And, supplement the beleaguered Wave transit with more routes in neighborhoods. Shuttles will travel at about 20 mph, which turns out to be about as fast as urban traffic moves in reality. (Folks drive 45 on Oleander, 40 or more on 3rd St. But how about all the time stuck in congestion and at stop lights with increasingly slow effective speeds?)

If this is a public transport alternative that increases usage, remember what we pay for

transportation in this region. It is 22.3% of income for average earners. Just think what we could do by cutting that in half, for example—savings of $4-5,000 a year. We don’t need to tell you what a change that could make in your lives, you know!

Bike, Scooter to Work—or at least to the Wave Transit Stop?

We have bike sharing at UNCW, and there’s work afoot to have it broadly accessible in the region. That’s one way to solve the “last mile problem”. But it is just the beginning. In the last year or so, we have seen the dizzying rollout of bikes, scooters and then electric versions of each, upgrades (sturdier, more functions, comforts, lower charging times and costs) come to market. Why wait for the perfect? We are impressed now, among many alternatives:

•For $600 you can buy an electric scooter at Amazon or Walmart that weighs only 26 pounds, a handle that folds flat, or rolls the scooter behind you like a suitcase, a 15 mph speed and 15 mile range, rechargeable in 3.5 hours (“Glion Dolly”).

•For only $429, you can buy a scooter with seat, grocery basket, 18 mph speed and 10 mile range. It weighs 67 pounds, but is perfect for taking to the Wave Stop (if there is secure parking) and if you need to pick up a few items on the way home. (“Razor 36-Volt EcoSmart Metro Electric Scooter”), also at Amazon and Walmart.

•In the shared vehicle category, major player Bird has just announced (June, 2019) the Bird Cruiser, another seated Electric Vehicle built for two, more in the motorbike tradition. It is only in test rollout at present, but the trends toward consumer choice are making serious consideration of environmentally friendly, personal mobility vehicles compelling.

Let’s not forget you can buy two of these for a thousand bucks or so, and get payback in about three months if it gets rid of that second car by having your own scooter at both ends.

It should go without saying that accidents happen, city streets are not yet user friendly, proper training, helmets, careful operation and all manufacturer warnings are prerequisites to your quest for safe, economical, environmentally friendly alternatives.

We hope to write soon about ways to share city streets differently, widely called “taking back the streets from cars for people”. Let’s work together for that Moonshot whose time has come! And, we haven’t even mentioned Autonomous Vehicles yet...

Bill Graham

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