We’ve made it a priority for our bike share program to function well for everyone, & we continue to work with service providers & the traveling public to do so.
We want to do the same with a potential scooter share pilot.
“We will work with stakeholders like our transit, pedestrian and bike oversight boards, disability rights groups, local businesses and transit partners to develop the framework of a scooter pilot for Seattle. We will continue to listen and learn from other cities. We also want to hear from our neighborhoods.” – Mayor Jenny Durkan (Geekwire 5/8/2019)
As Mayor Durkan has said, “Let’s try scooters, but let’s do it right.” We must have a pilot that promotes safety, requires fairness for riders and indemnification for the City, focuses on equity, and builds on the best of our bike share program.
So, at Mayor Durkan’s direction, we plan to draw lessons from other cities’ micro–mobility (a term for new, small, and electric transportation modes) programs and hear from community stakeholders before allowing scooter share in the City.
Over the past few months, we’ve been busy laying the groundwork for a successful scooter pilot.
We’ve studied other cities around the U.S. and their approaches to scooter share – from Portland to Los Angeles to Nashville and reviewed best practices and lessons learned. We’ve also surveyed the scooter industry, talked to scooter companies big and small, and learned about the different approaches vendors are taking to offer a safe and responsible mobility option.
Today, we’re announcing the start of a robust public engagement process to help shape Seattle’s scooter share pilot program, planned for launch in 2020.
We’re kicking off the first phase: a focused outreach and engagement effort where we work with stakeholder groups to help shape the goals, scope, and scale of scooter share in Seattle.
There are benefits to scooters in Seattle, particularly given their potential to replace driving trips. But we also know those opportunities may not be equitably distributed, and there may be unintended consequences for specific communities.
We intend to co-create a scooter share pilot that offers new mobility options while maintaining sidewalk comfort & the safety of pedestrians, people who are blind or low-vision, & people living with disabilities.
We’re exploring whether scooter riding should be allowed on sidewalks, in bike lanes, or general travel lanes. We know that enforcement disproportionately impacts communities of color, so we want to find a solution that works for all Seattleites.
So how do we do this? Our planned outreach effort includes conversations with the Pedestrian Advisory Board, Transit Advisory Board, and Bike Advisory Board, as well as organizations focused on disability rights and transportation equity, Center City community groups, neighborhood groups, and community groups representing a high proportion of people of color.
This first phase of outreach is expected to last a couple of months, & we’ll share what we’ve learned at that time.
We’ll continue accepting input while performing an environmental review and would draft any legislation needed before accepting permit applications and launching the pilot. We’ll also continue to learn from the successes and challenges of scooter share in other cities, and how communities are ensuring their scooter share programs provide an equitable and safe mobility option for their city. These steps will lead to a community-driven pilot scooter share program that works well for Seattle.