By Blake Peterson / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
BOTHELL — Electric scooters will remain in Bothell city limits until at least April 2020.
In July, the city, working with the Lime company, launched a 90-day pilot program for residents to rent electric scooters in the downtown redevelopment area. Since then, 100 scooters have been at the community’s disposal.
Now Bothell residents will get another 180 days after the city council approved a program extension.
During the three-month trial run, Bothell’s economic development manager, Jeanie Ashe, closely examined how Lime adapted to the needs of the city.
“I wanted to see how the company responded to — as a business — some of the challenges some of the other communities have been going through,” she said.
Public reaction to the scooters has largely been neutral to positive. As of Sept. 28, there have been a total of 13,773 trips, roughly translating to about 5,171 unique riders.
As of the same cut-off date, 21,708 miles have been traveled, according to a city report which also says 19,655 pounds of carbon dioxide have been saved.
Ashe said that she’s received some complaints, largely about noise. But she noted that the scooters aren’t responsible for it.
“It’s a challenge because the scooters aren’t making the noise — the people are,” she said.
Ashe said during talks with Lime, she learned that it’s possible to shut down scooter access in accordance with city quiet-hour ordinances. Lime is also able to put up geofencing in areas where there is concern about scooter-pedestrian collisions. A geofence is a virtual perimeter affecting real-life locations that can be technologically controlled elsewhere.
Though Lime has said it hasn’t received complaints from Bothell residents, Ashe said that speaking from personal experience, it’s difficult to navigate the Lime site, which makes it hard to voice negative feedback in the first place.
The 180-day extension will give the city time to decide how to manage the program and finalize ordinances and permitting processes.
Councilmember Tom Agnew additionally wants to see more data from other city departments.
“We need to continue to find out from police and fire if there have been any accidents related to this,” he said.
Agnew added that he was interested in seeing how the program would be impacted by fall and winter weather.
“It’s going to be interesting to see the numbers we get at the end of these 180 days,” he said.
The Bothell-Kenmore Reporter is a sibling publication of The Daily Herald.