As Scooter Pilot Ends, A Call For Keeping Them Around – With Changes

Chicago’s e-scooter pilot program ends Tuesday. The city says the 2,500 scooters were taken out for about 800,000 rides since mid-June.

Supporters say they’re a fun way to get around and can connect riders to public transit. Critics say they’re a safety hazard with limited benefits.

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The Active Transportation Alliance, along with several community organizations, published a report Monday with recommendations for next steps. It includes policy recommendations informed by a survey of its members and input from a series of community meetings.

According to Active Trans, 63% of respondents support Chicago developing a long-term e-scooter program, although Active Trans acknowledges the survey was not representative of the city’s demographic makeup.

Active Trans itself also supports such a program, but calls for some important restrictions and requirements. Chief among them: requiring scooters to be parked in docks or designated areas, expanding scooters to the rest of the city with the exception of the downtown area and ensuring equitable access.

The report also notes that while scooters are a fun way to get around, they’re best used to increase access to public transit.

“Electric scooters do not deliver the health, safety, sustainability, and equity benefits of walking, bicycling, and public transit,” the report says. “These modes should be given priority relative to e-scooters when it comes to street space, parking, and public investment. Revenue from e-scooter programs should help fund walking, bicycling, and public transit infrastructure on city streets.”

Jeremy Cuebas of the Northwest Side Housing Center and Kyle Whitehead of the Active Transportation Alliance join Chicago Tonight for a conversation.

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