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OK. E-scooters is part of a larger convo on micro mobility solutions.
You can read more here (story from this weekend): boulderbeat.news/2020/01/25/tra…
And here (story about e-scooter moratorium put in place last year): boulderbeat.news/2019/05/22/e-s…
And, more specific than micro mobility is SHARED micro mobility: docked and dockless bikes and dockless scooter are the big ones Boulder is talking about tonight.
A Dockless Bike Sharing Licensing Program passed in June 2018, in response to 2017 requests from companies to operate here
Most co. went out of business or switched to e-scooters
Staff never rejected a biz license for scooters, but companies “were not able to explain how they would be able to effectively operate a business model that discouraged the illegal use of the e-scooters on sidewalks, streets, and multi-use paths”
To specify, that was during the moratorium on e-scooters over the past 9 months.
The dockless biking program Boulder passed included a requirement that bikes be able to be locked to something; scooters can't do that.

They get left everywhere and impact mobility for pedestrians, cyclists, those with disabilities, etc.
A summary of community input on this:
Boulder idd 5 community demos
“A couple hundred people” participated; strongest in Flatiron Biz Park
700 responses through BeHeard Boulder
37% in favor
49% not in favor
13% unsure
With CU’s questionnaire: 48% in favor, 39% not; 12% unsure, 1% no opinion
Indicating more support among CU students
53% who had ridden were in favor; 22% who had not ridden were in favor
35+ not in favor; younger than 35 were in favor
Those making less than $25,000/yr were in favor; those $25,000+ not in favor
$100-$150K per year were least in favor: 52% against

Spanish-speaking outreach: 10% response rate; 57% in favor
Group feedback

TAB: OK with recommendations; some want e-scooters or pilot programs limited to East Boulder (Flatiron Park, Airport Road, East Walnut)
CU: Still deciding to allow e-scooters or not
Chamber: Supports pilot programs for e-scooters and all first/last-mile options
Downtown Business Partnership: Disallow all micromobility devices through geofencing on Pearl from 9th-15th, Walnut from 11th-15th and Spruce from 11th-15th and only from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; also worried about displacement of car parking
Boulder County Local Coordinating Council (focused on ppl with mobility challenges): Thought e-scooters would get in the way for these folks

Downtown Management Commission + BJAD: Both had concerns but wanted to move forward with bikes and e-scooters
PRAB: “Many people, including senior citizens, already feel intimidated and concerned” on certain sections of multi-use path. Scooters could impact snow removal, sweeping

Community Cycles: In favor of micromobility, especially at 55th/Central area
"I know this isn't a popular recommendation," Kemp says about staff suggesting that Boulder not allow shared e-scooters. "It was difficult to make."
But the data on injuries speaks for itself. Kemp going over that now.
Alcohol is a big factor in crashes. Turns out the staff data on that in the packet wasn't entirely accurate. But it's still a lot of ppl drinking and scooting.
Young: Any data correlating condition of streets and sidewalks with crashes?
No, Kemp says. Data is all over the place right now. We had to reach and find what we could.
"This to us was very alarming," Kemp says, referencing this fatality data on e-bikes v. scooters. And it was the "primary impetus for our recommendation."
It's just not a risk worth taking, Kemp says.
OK, other reasons staff recommended against scooters. A lot of them are replacing active transportation (walking, biking) rather than car trips.
Another shot to e-scooters: They're extraordinarily short lifespans. 28.8 days.
AND they result in net increase of greenhouse gas emissions, bc motor vehicles are required to retrieve and rebalance them, staff says.
But dear god look at the emissions-per-mile of cars.
Says the reporter who drove here tonight. *sigh*
OK, back to it. More data that counted against e-scooters. They're primarily used by young white guys who make more $$ than the general population. So they're not equitable.
Any shared mobility co. in Boulder will have to provide and promote discount fares and deploy fleet in low-income areas, but those species fares are under-utilized in other cities.
TAB member back up here to explain their recommendation that opposes staff.
"We had a unanimous vote to disagree with staff's recommendation," McIntyre says.
Referring to the Transportation Master Plan, recently updated. Our goals are to be safe, equitable, support travel choices and clean air and climate commitment.

Those should be our guiding principles here, McIntyre says.
"Our primary tool to meet our climate commitment is getting ppl out of cars. It's the board's consensus that a straight-up ban on e-scooters does not help us meet those goals."
We talk about first and last-mile solutions, McIntyre says. But the last few years, we've essentially blocked dockless bikes and scooters while our peer cities have moved ahead.
Fort Collins has a scooter pilot McIntyre is going over.
40,000 rides, 9,000 users — all during the winter.
And initial complaints have diminished dramatically due to strict regulations.
No reported injuries to date, he says.
My god I forgot how much this guy can talk. Our campaign interview was one of the longest. Like 3 hours.
He's talking about Flatiron Park and East Boulder. Once you get into there with your car, there's nowhere to go for lunch without driving, really.

They would benefit from a scooter pilot, TAB felt.
RE: the short lifecycle of e-scooters. "We don't ask ppl to explain when their car will magically make up for their climate impact," McIntyre says. We're treating these modes differently.
Safety concerns are real, he says. But every day, 100 ppl or more die in car accidents. And that doesn't include 17 pedestrians or cyclists killed by cars and trucks.
"There's a difference in the way we talk about these micro mobility" solutions, McIntyre says in closing. "We tend to give cars a pass."
Swetlik makes a correction to McIntyre: It was the last council that unanimously approved the transportation master plan, 7-0. Not this council.
Joseph: E-scooters climate impacts are higher than bikes or walking, but it's half of cars.

She supports TAB.
Can we regulate for safety concerns? Joseph says. Like requiring helmets. "How can we ensure we protect ppl while allowing this opportunity for the community?"
Brockett: For me, it's about safety in context. Cars are not safe. Would e-scooters make the relative safety of our community's transportation better or worse?

Other cities have found this is not worse than other modes. Referencing Portland data.
"Where's the discrepancy there between our analysis and some peer cities' analysis?" Brockett asks.

Kemp: "The evaluations aren't all the same. You can draw from whichever evaluation report you'd like. We were focused on finding out where ppl were getting hurt."
"Bc it's a real possibility." When we look at e-bikes vs scooters, bikes are safer. That was the focus of our analysis.
Young: What's the evolution of e-scooters? You said they're starting to get bigger wheels and saddles. They look like bikes. How fast is this happening?
Kemp: Very quickly. What some of the co. are hearing and what we're seeing bc of crash statistics, it's the high center of gravity and smaller wheels that make it more prone to being involved in a crash.
Hernandez: Right now the dividing line is whether it has a crank and peddles or not.
For many cities.
Young is asking a q I don't really understand, but it's about the physics of injuries on scooters vs. bikes
Hernandez: I was in Denver a year ago with my consulting firm having this same discussion. We looked at all the data, and I can tell you, we don't know. Depending on who funds and writes the reports, there's a bias in the data.
I would not feel comfortable as a professional to tell you one way or the other how they're going to be safe or not, Hernandez says.
Kemp: We're doing our best to piece together data. It's hopeful a 2020 report will pull all that together.
2020 report on micro mobility, that is.
Young: Is it safe to say that, to date, the data is cobbled together and not reliable?
Yes, Hernandez says.
Friend: "The best way to get the data is to pilot it here."
In East Boulder / Flatiron Park.

She asks how to make sure they stay there with geofencing.
Kemp: Council can pick whichever area they'd want to pilot this program. With geofencing, the power would go off on the e-scooter if you went outside the area. It would power down; you could ride it manually.
Friend: "To get out of the lunch dessert, you have to leave there."
McIntyre: We intended it for being a broader area than just the office park.
Joseph: How are you looking into enforcement? Ppl leave these scooters around. In Boulder, we want to be safer. What can we do to ensure enforcement.

And you mentioned 21 deaths from scooters. Where? What were the characteristics of these roads? That plays a role.
Kemp: Micro mobility providers have been "enthusiastic and encouraging" around getting users to use helmets, but the user itself is another thing. We could require helmets via ordinance.
But re: enforcement: It's difficult to allocate resources to e-scooters. They have more important things to do. ... But we could limit hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or whatever. Many crashes happened at night.
Weaver: "This is a pretty complicated one."
20X the accident rate per mile of bikes is pretty notable.
Countering Brockett's Portland example: They had a 4-month pilot and 176 crashes that required emergency rooms.
Short lifecycle of scooters is "of great concern" to Weaver. And many of these are used "as toys," not as first-mile, last-mile.
Weaver: "They're just being taken for joyrides, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not solving the connectivity thing."
Suggests pilot area "everywhere east of Foothills"
"That would be mostly replacing car trips, and I believe that," Weaver says.
Yates support staff. Doesn't want a pilot in East Boulder.
He also met with Fort Collins ppl. Geofencing doesn't work, he says. They picked Bird for pilot, and that co. is going out of biz. "I think the peak on scooters happened 6 or 12 or 18 months ago."
"I think we need to look at other cities rather than experimenting with our own residents," Yates says. Lots of other cities have sat back, banned them and let other cities like Portland experiment.
Yates: "We need to be realistic that ppl aren't going to use helmets."
"In my opinion, one death is one death too many," Yates says. "That's why it's called Vision Zero. ... I'm not willing to gamble with the lives" of the people of Boulder.
Wallach agrees with Yates. *shocking*
"If we get contradictory data that indicates these devices are safer than we assume ... we can revisit it," Wallach says. "I like experiments ... but not in terms of, I don't want to pay for it with hospital visits."
Friend: What we're doing is getting ppl out of cars. Ppl are dying from cars and in cars. It's not the situation we can only compare scooters to bikes. We have to look at cars, the emissions, the fatalities.
The options out there aren't working, Friend says. B-Cycles, if they're out there, aren't being utilized. "Every day in this country we have ppl dying in cars. A small pilot to see if that works if favorable and progressive. It's what Boulder is about."
Brockett: Not every trip would replace a car trip, but when you look at the data, scooters are replacing Uber/Lyft and personal vehicles 37% of the time. Not 100% but those are pretty substantial numbers.
Brockett: We should look at where safety issues are happening and mitigate that. A lot of first-time riders get injured: If we focus on East Boulder, we'd get more re-users. We could train ppl, give them lessons. Restrict the hours.
Brockett: If you did a pilot that addressed where the largest causes of crashes have been, we could come up with something that's substantially safer than the average car trip.
Swetlik: This doesn't seem ready for prime time given the amount of unknowns. But I'm still open for the concept of a pilot program. Maybe in a year we look at this again...?
"It seems very much like one of those 'move fast, break things' industries. We're still in the breaking things part." Once we stop being in that part, it could be the innovative thing we all hope it could be, Swetlik says.
Weaver looked up fatality rate for cars: Just over 1.25 per 100M miles traveled. In the bike range but still 20X less than scooters.
Young agrees with Swetlik.

So we've got Friend, Brockett, Weaver for a pilot. Yates, Wallach against.

And Swetlik, Young against for now but maybe later.
Young: The 55th/Arapahoe intersection is one of the more dangerous in the city. Imagine scooters crossing through that. "It's not real safe conditions. It sounds like a really good idea but I don't think it's ready for prime time."
"I would wait until scooters have evolved," she says. "I'd be open to a discussion about having a pilot out there after they evolve further."
Weaver: We did allow dockless e-bikes, and nobody showed up, correct?
Kemp: We required bikes that could be locked to something. We set our starting number for fleet size too low (150 bikes). We are now recommending 500 bikes.
Weaver: Is that a staff-level change, or are we as council voting on it?
Council voting on it in March; current regulations sunset in August 2020.
Weaver: Has TAB weighed in?
Kemp: Not yet
They will in February.
Yates: On scooters, "I'd rather not experiment. But I would like to experiment with e-bikes."
Council in general agreement to update dockless e-bike regulations so that maybe some companies might want to operate here.
Hernandez: "I really appreciated the conversation tonight."
Brockett: If we bring dockless e-bikes in town, that may impact B-Cycle's revenue.
Hernandez: That's why we wanted to invest in B-Cycle now.
Hernandez: We could maybe offer a subsidy to a local provider. If there's some direction that we could take that extra investment we outlined to get those e-bikes going this fall...
Yates: If given the choice between supporting private co or B-Cycle, we'd want to support B-Cycle. But it begs the q, if B-Cycle needs a subsidy, and yet these co are supposed to come here and invest their own $$ and expect to make a profit ....
The Bird rep in the crowd just threw up his hands at that comment
Hernandez: Those co are collecting data, which is how they make $$
Bird rep shaking his head
Weaver summarizing this meeting: Do what's needed to preserve B-Cycle as-is, talk to TAB about e-bikes, come back to council.

AND take dockless e-bike regulations to TAB and then back to us.
That wraps this meeting. Still no e-scooters is the big takeaway. But maybe, possibly some dockless e-bikes, if Boulder can relax its rules enough.

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