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Can Electric Scooters Solve 'First-Mile, Last-Mile' Problem?

Countless ideas have been proposed to bridge the first-mile, last-mile gap: bike share, dockless bike share, ride-hailing services, circulator buses, trolleys, and, of course, good old-fashioned feet. The newest entrant: electric scooters.
March 18, 2018, 5am PDT | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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"Bird is based in, and was first deployed in, Santa Monica. It has spread to San Diego and elsewhere, and, with a fresh $15 million of capital, more cities are to come. Bird’s careers page lists 13 major cities nationwide where they're hiring. This invasion presents a moral quandary. I want to hate them. They are annoying and juvenile in the way that all “disruptive” technologies are annoying and juvenile. But I find myself oddly attracted to them." 

"As an anarchic element of urbanism, the problems Birds pose are mostly minor and probably correctable. But they should not be allowed to fly under the radar, as so many other “disruptive” services have done. The spats between Uber and city governments have become legendary, as arrogance has run headlong into bureaucracy. The same goes for Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber. Bird is already getting into it with the City of Santa Monica (and losing), and San Diego seems none-too-pleased." 

"If scooters proliferate, planners have all the more reason to reclaim pavement from cars, creating more sidewalks, bike lanes, or, indeed scooter lanes. Scooters might warrant further transit investments as they widen the traditional walk-sheds of transit stops. They might influence parking requirements and warrant the conversion of on-street parking spaces into scooter corrals. Or maybe they’re benign enough, and our existing streetscapes accommodating enough, that we can indeed let them evolve organically and not freak out about them."

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Published on Friday, March 9, 2018 in California Planning & Development Report
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