Do electric scooters live up to the city’s promises?
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - If you haven’t heard the news, you may have seen it. Electric scooters are now in Grand Junction.
As reported on last August, Grand Junction City approved a pilot program to bring electric scooters to town as part of a micromobility movement.
The city held its held it’s official launch party on May 15, 2023. City council members said they’re excited to see what kind of potential impact the scooters may have.
“I think micromobility offers some great opportunities, and not just for people going across town and enjoying an evening out, but also for people that might need it for transportation to and from work,” said councilmember Cody Kennedy. “I think there’s some great opportunity here for Grand Junction, and I’m glad we have this as a trial period.”
One thing the council wanted to tackle before brining the scooters to Grand Junction, is concerns community members might have.
“That was part of the process of getting to this point,” said Mayor Anna Stout. “So rather than launching the program, and then waiting to hear the concerns, we engaged the community early on to make sure that we knew not just what our community’s concerns were.”
Mayor Stout said the Grand Junction Police Department had the chance to weigh in on safety and traffic engineers looked at where the scooters could and could not go.
As KJCT News 8 previously reported, at the time the pilot was announced, the city development department said there would be restrictions in place, both to keep the scooters from traveling where they shouldn’t be, as well as keeping them from cluttering the city.
The city said it worked with the two companies supplying the scooters, Lime and Bird. The intent was to incorporate geofencing to act as invisible boundaries. During the pilot period, 200 to 500 scooters were brought in. The testing area extends from 24 Road to the 28 1/2 alignment and from I-70 and Horizon Drive to the Riverfront Trail as well as portions of Orchard Mesa and the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
In the downtown area, the scooters are restricted from riding on the sidewalks on Main Street, Colorado Avenue, and 7th Street. These are dismount zones, where the scooters can still be ridden on the road, but not the sidewalk. Initially, the city said the geofencing would kick in and the scooters would stop accelerating in the restricted zones. At the time when KJCT News 8 tested the scooters, the Lime scooters still worked just fine on the sidewalks on Main Street.
One area that Bird’s app shows as restricted is the sidewalk at Lincoln Park. While testing the scooter there, we discovered the scooter does still work, but the speed is capped at 4 four miles per hour. As for Lime’s app, as of the May 15 launch party, it showed red restriction zones throughout the city. But as of our testing, those red zones no longer appeared on the app.
As for keeping the scooters from being left all over to clutter the city? City officials in our last report said they would work with Lime and Bird to incorporate features into their apps, that require the rider to take a picture of their scooter in an upright position, parked in designated parking corrals throughout the city. If no picture was submitted, the rider could face a hefty fine. As we tried out both apps, both of them did indeed require a picture from the user. But, according to a city press release, scooters could also be dropped off at the rider’s destination, as long as it’s within the pilot area and ADA clearance on sidewalks is maintained and public and private access isn’t blocked.
According to the city, there are more than 30 designated parking zones throughout the pilot area. Those include the downtown area, the Colorado Mesa University Campus, the Riverfront Trail, Lincoln Park, Sherwood Park and Canyon View Park.
Since this story published, Lime reached out to KJCT News 8 with a statement in regards to our testing their scooter. To give a proper sense of time, we tested both Lime and Bird scooters on May 16, 2023.
This is Lime’s statement:
Lime takes pride in our operations and we will continue to work with the city to implement technological and operational solutions necessary to ensure the program’s success.
Sidewalks: we worked with the city to implement slow zones on the sidewalks which were fully operational starting on the 19th and now we’ve got it set up so that riders on sidewalks will feel the e-scooter slowing down, which discourages sidewalk riding.
On zones showing up in our app: looking at the vehicles in our app if you don’t click on the vehicle and/or actually rent it, the zones won’t load. As soon as you click on and then rent a vehicle it will show you all the relevant zones.
For anyone who may have concerns, or wants to learn more, the city wants you to visit:
Or contact the vendors directly at:
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