E-scooters will be a transportation fixture within Bothell city limits until at least April 2020.
In July 2019, the city, in collaboration with the Lime company, launched a 90-day pilot program in which residents could utilize e-scooters in the downtown redevelopment area. Since the launch, 100 scooters have been at the community’s disposal.
As of Oct. 19 — the day of the original pilot program’s expiration — Bothell residents will have another 180 days to enjoy the scooters after council approved a program extension.
Throughout the pilot’s 90-day window, Bothell’s economic development manager, Jeanie Ashe, closely examined how Lime adapted to the needs of the city.
“I wanted to see how the company responded to — as a business — some of the challenges some of the other communities have been going through,” she said.
Reception to the scooters by the public has largely been neutral to positive, with many locals taking advantage of the scooters. After the city posted on Facebook to gauge community feedback, the majority of comments — some of which, Ashe said, might be described as “trolling” — showed neutrality, with five posts denoting strong opposition. As of Sept. 28, according to the Oct. 15 city council meeting agenda packet, there have been a total of 13,773 trips since the launch, roughly translating to about 5,171 unique riders.
As of the same cut-off date, 21,708.2 miles have been traveled and 19,655.2 pounds of carbon dioxide have been saved.
Ashe said that she’s received some complaints, largely about noise. But she noted that the scooters aren’t responsible for it.
“It’s a challenge because the scooters aren’t making the noise — the people are,” she said.
Ashe said during talks with Lime, she learned that it’s a possibility to shut down scooter access in accordance with city quiet-hour ordinances. Lime is also able to put up geofencing in areas where there is concern about scooter-pedestrian collisions. A geofence is a virtual perimeter affecting real-life locations that can be technologically controlled elsewhere.
Though Lime has said it hasn’t received complaints from Bothell residents, Ashe said that speaking from personal experience, it’s difficult to navigate the Lime site, which makes it hard to voice negative feedback in the first place.
The 180-day extension will necessitate that the city lock down how to manage the program, finalizing ordinances and permitting processes accordingly.
Councilmember Tom Agnew additionally wants to see more data from local departments who have potentially collected data relating to the scooters.
“We need to continue to find out from police and fire if there have been any accidents related to this,” he said.
Agnew added that he was interested in seeing how the program would be impacted by fall and winter weather.
“It’s going to be interesting to see the numbers we get at the end of these 180 days,” he said.
Council, while receiving quarterly scooter-focused reports in the interim, will next discuss the e-scooter pilot in the spring of 2020.
For more information about the e-scooter pilot program’s extension, go to the Oct. 15 meeting packet. (tinyurl.com/y6oyj379)