TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - By a 5-2 vote, the Tucson City Council gave preliminary approval to a pilot program to being e-scooters to the city.
The final vote is scheduled for March 19 unless staff asks for a delay.
The implementation date has been rescheduled for July 1, in the middle of summer.
For some on the council, including Paul Cunningham (Ward 2) the slow summer is a good time to implement a pilot program which is new, experimental and still fraught with questions.
Some of the bigger issues yet to be resolved are how to deal with safety issues in a very crowded downtown and on 4th Avenue, likely to be two places where the scooters will be most popular.
Congress Street is already stressed where trucks, cars, the streetcar, pedestrians and bicycles compete for space.
4th Avenue, with a high rate of pedestrian traffic is another concern.
How to keep the scooters, which go up to 15 miles per hour, off the sidewalks in those areas is an issue.
A concern of Shirley Scott, (Ward 4) who cast one of the no votes, is how to keep the scooters out of the hands of young people is also a concern. The age to ride the scooters is required to be 18.
Tucson’s Mayor Jonathon Rothschild is in favor of giving the pilot program a try to see if the kinks can be worked out.
A concern of Steve Kozachik (Ward 6), who also voted against the program, is city liability. Even though the city is indemnified against accidents or injuries, he’s concerned it won’t work out that way.
But Paul Durham (Ward 3), who voted in favor, says a study in Portland showed those who use the scooters reduced their car trips by 34 percent, one of the goals of the program.
The city plan also requires the city to seek out alternative forms of transportation if they reduce traffic and air pollution.
KOLD News 13 will have more on the pilot program as it rolls out.