Tucson tries to approve scooters a third time

KOLD Downtown electric scooters

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - For the third time, Tucson will try to find a way to approve the use of electric scooters on its streets.

The first time was an all out ban.

After communities across the country began approving scooter programs, Tucson began to see certain advantages.

They’re designed to ease traffic congestion by getting people out of cars, cut carbon pollution and provide a cheap and east mode of transportation on short trips.

But many cities have run run into issues with the scooters.

They can be left at the side of the road at the end of a trip, causing them to stack up in some places.

They can cause crowding on narrow sidewalks, creating issues for pedestrians.

And they dart in and our of traffic, sometimes colliding with cars.

Since the scooters can go 15 miles and hour, there’s a safety issue, especially on crowded streets.

“Some cities have done a good job regulating them, for others it’s been a mess,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.

Tucson decided on a six month pilot program to see if they could bring them to town without creating a mess.

The first proposal would have allowed four companies and put thousands of the scooters on the streets.

The council felt if was a bi ambitious so voted it down.

A new proposal to be voted on next week will allow only two companies which will be selected after an RFP process.

The number of scooters will be limited to 500 for each company with some exceptions for areas which have transportation needs.

Another area of concern for some city leaders is Congress Street in downtown.

A narrow street where cars, trucks, buses, the streetcar, bicycles, pedestrians and skateboards all compete for a limited space is an accident waiting to happen.

“I think it is a legitimate concern,” said Andy Bemis, who is coordinator of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program for the city of Tucson. "We will do the best we can to address that."

The city votes on March 5, 2019.

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