Time For a Street Plan – not a Scooter Plan

People ride a Neutron Holdings Inc. LimeBike, left, and Bird Rides Inc. shared electric scooters on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, April 13, 2018. GPS-enabled scooters and bicycles are spreading across several major U.S. cities, driven by a wave of venture capital into a handful of companies. Policymakers are scrambling to find ways to regulate the great scooter boom of 2018. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images


In a letter to Mayor Durkan (link), Feet First has asked the City of Seattle to incorporate scooters into city streets and ensure that sidewalks are not the prime battlefield for disruption. 

Seattle is going through a dramatic change in the use of city streets.  Transit use and population is rising, and that brings more people on foot to downtown and local business districts. New forms of travel such as floating bike share, electric bikes, solowheels, and motorized scooters join existing users. The legislature recently allowed delivery drones on city sidewalks.  And sidewalks downtown are hosting more cafes and other business uses. This convergence of uses and needs requires a fresh use at how we use all of the city right of way – not just the sidewalks.

City planning to date has focused on each mode separately with master plans for freight, transit, walking, and biking.  We do not think we need a scooter master plan to join them. We need a new planning approach:

Looking freshly and defensively at each new modal use as if it exists in isolation is a losing game, and we urge you to look holistically at where each of these uses makes sense and can coexist safely and comfortably.

We believe the right place to start on this analysis is downtown, where the conflicts and the opportunities are the greatest.

Cramming new uses onto sidewalks, setting up conflicts between all the sidewalk users, is not the right approach. It’s time to look at how to use the entire street to accommodate all users. We urge Mayor Durkan to start that process now, and not wait for the inevitable conflicts.

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