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Halfway into pilot program, city seeking feedback on electronic scooters

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Posted at 6:59 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 18:59:37-05

CLEVELAND — The city of Cleveland is halfway through its trial period of electronic scooters and city officials are asking for your feedback.

“Safety concerns are just people getting hit by cars, obviously,” Danny Gaffney said.

You’ll find quick and easy access to the two-wheeled transportation devices on nearly every street corner.

“People that use them to get to work where they once might have driven,” Calley Mersman said. “They’re using them to get from meetings day to day or running errands.”

Gaffney said renting a scooter is far easier than finding street parking and feeding a meter.

“If you’re going somewhere short distance, like short distance commuting,” Gaffney said. “I use it for a two-mile commute to work every day.”

The scooter takeover in Downtown, Ohio City, University Circle and Tremont began in August under a six-month pilot program.

The city of Cleveland is working to find solutions for drivers who are scared to share the roadway with scooter operators.

Scooter companies can power off all scooters during harsh weather conditions, making them unavailable for rental.

“Most of the companies take them off the streets during icy conditions,” Gaffney said. “The newer models have bigger tires so you can get through the ice.”

Freddy Collier, a city planning commissioner, said the surge of scooters puts downtown Cleveland on the map as a tourist destination.

“I think the advantage here is that we’ve managed the program better than a lot of those cities that you’ve mentioned,” Collier said.

He said the choice to rent scooters also benefits commuters financially.

“You know, when you get off the bus and you have to go a few blocks, this is a legitimate option,” Collier said. “For people like myself who have to get to meetings downtown, it’s saved me on parking tickets, to be quite honest.”

City officials are working through a few kinks and roadblocks. Feedback shows some riders aren’t abiding by proper parking procedures.

“Keeping walkways clear is very important for everyone, but then think about if you’re a mom with a stroller or if you’re someone with vision impairments,” Mersman said, “It can make it really difficult to continue to get around.”

The city has teamed up with the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind for advice on how it can improve day-to-day scooter operations for the visually impaired.

To share your feedback, participate in the city’s survey here.