Chris MacIsaac, Transit Team Lead for the City of Airdrie spoke to Discover Airdrie to discuss more details regarding the new pilot project to bring e-scooters and e-bikes to the city, but as he states, a lot of it is still up in the air.
“There's a number of items that are still pending for the city. There are amendments to a number of existing bylaws that would have to occur before shared micro-mobility or e-scooter companies could start offering their services in our community. Once those amendments are reviewed and approved by council, that will open up the marketplace for private e-scooter companies to start offering their scooters in our community.”
An interesting part about these e-scooters, according to MacIsaac, is that they could have GPS in them.
“It's mainly to provide directions in terms of where e-scooters can be used, whether it's on a sidewalk or pathway, and defining how fast these scooters could go on the pathway network.”
As the city looks to make its downtown core a more popular place for foot traffic, the city is exploring a “geofencing” option to make sure those walking won’t be disrupted by the scooters.
“Taking certain areas within our community and saying ‘we're going to reduce the highest speed possible on an e-scooter along a portion of Main Street’ understanding that it's a shared sidewalk with pedestrians. We just want to make sure that, ultimately, we're providing a safe environment for all modes of transportation”
MacIsaac says there is also a way to stop people from driving e-scooters while being under the influence.
“The e-scooter companies have technology built within their app where the customer would be required to take a sobriety test before they utilize the e-scooter. That's going to prevent misuse of the scooter.”
The biggest consideration for the city, according to MacIsaac, is to ensure that whatever private company is implementing the e-scooters is going to collect these scooters so they’re not becoming a nuisance or a challenge to other residents because they're being left on the sidewalk or they're blocking a pathway. The city won't be the one that's going out to remove the e-scooter, it'll be the company itself bringing that e-scooter back to a location that's safe or to an area where they can recharge it for the next day.
“The next step for the city is the amendment to the Traffic and Business Licensing Bylaws. That's going to put in place some clear language for all micro-mobility users. Not just e-scooters, but everyone in our community that may have a personal device that they're using, whether it's an electric bike or an electric scooter. It'll provide a clear understanding of where they can use that equipment.”
Micro-mobility is all forms of transportation outside of walking and using a personal vehicle. Things like electric or non-electric bikes, scooters, skateboards and things like that.
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