A hybrid Human/Solar/Battery/Electric-Powered,
NYC-legal pedicab (and potential cargo-carrying) vehicle. Ten feet long, four feet wide, and six-foot-tall. For cargo, it is wider than the current NYS 36” standard, but proposals are currently being made, to expand this to 55”. It can be partially or completely open to the weather or totally enclosed. Its low platform permits it to be ADA wheelchair and hand truck accessible, by a ramp, which can serve either sidewalk or the street. There are two potential pedalers, and room for four or more additional passengers. The shell is made of clear, weather-protecting, polycarbonate. There are 500 watts of solar panels on the roof. The comfort and safety of passengers are paramount.
I was one of the two founders, over 25 years ago, of this industry in NYC. Unfortunately, rather than an important, new form of transportation, pedicabs have come to exist, virtually entirely, as an expensive way to experience Central Park. The potential of this activity to provide the public with a needed new means of getting around the city, with huge environmental benefits and positive effects on healthfulness, was lost, when the taxi industry successfully lobbied to limit their impact on their industry. Many regulations need to be brought up to date. For instance, If they were to be permitted to be just a few feet longer than the current 10’, they could accommodate as many as two handfuls of people and ply regular routers, at a modest pace, as a supplement to the current options. They could be made unique, by artists and craftspeople from right in the City and its environs, even supplemented by creative efforts from around the country and the world. (Please take a look at the LightWheels.com/Festival World’s Fair page that is adjacent to this one, as one possible way to further this idea.)
The very substantial, independent, and valuable employment created here can be in the form of individual entrepreneurs, establishing their presences, within geographically defined communities, through their regular routes. This could be seen as a version of the traditional sidewalk newsstand, a conspicuous local statement about being a worker in, and therefore as a citizen of, a defined community. By becoming, perhaps the most knowledgeable person, about all of the businesses events and activities along their route, through the simultaneous posting of the very real and also virtual advertising, of real estate, employment, eating and entertainment and services, from legal to physical therapy, serious income, and status too, can be earned. Transport could even, eventually, be free (with tips allowed of course) if other income opportunities prove to be sufficient.
I call this design the Half because the rest of the story is still out there. It may be perfect in some ways to me, but it is not meant to supplant everything there and become the new standard. I hope it serves to do the opposite, a means to demonstrate the possibility of a wide range of the most different and exciting additions to the streetscape, while at the same time expanding fully accessible transportation options and helping to develop a quieter, cleaner, and more beautiful city.
Less than half the size, (40 sq. ft. vs 18 sq. ft.), The Other Half is meant to provide a smaller scale, and similar in many ways, complement to Half. The OH is personal transport, a big tandem trike, rather than this substantial object, that some might even want to call a mini-bus. I call it another missing link in the bike chain.