Hi, I’m Spencer Schumacher, Councilman Coan’s summer intern, and despite what you might think I did not come up with the title for this week’s eNews (I’m told it’s a reference to a movie that was released just after I was born). As the office’s resident Gen-Zer, I figured I would use this opportunity to talk about one of my generations favorite hellraisers: electric scooters.
Personally, as a college student who doesn’t own a car and tends to rely on public transportation, scooters are a godsend. They perfectly fill in “the first and last mile” gap between public transit stops and my final or starting destination. In a city where it is extremely difficult to live without a car, micro-mobility could be a critical step towards increasing ease of movement in our city.
However, I am not unsympathetic to the very real concerns District 8 residents have over the new scooters. Our district is different: our sidewalks can be narrow, bike lanes are limited, and people often ride them on the sidewalk instead of the street. So, with that in mind, let's scoot right into the problem.
The biggest pressure points are exactly where you would expect them to be, along major intersections of Bardstown Road. The city tracks all dockless vehicle trips across Louisville (which you can find here), and a few months ago I separated the data for District 8 and turned it into a heatmap of all scooter end destinations. The intersections on Baxter, Grinstead, Eastern Parkway, and the Mid City Mall all have high concentrations of scooter parking in areas with high pedestrian traffic, a recipe that can quickly turn a sidewalk into an obstacle course.
So what do we do to fix the problem? Well, luckily the city planned for this in the Dockless Vehicle Policy and created a provision to create Designated Group Parking Areas (DGPAs) - marked areas designated for scooter parking in high volume areas. Our friends at Public Works and Assets are looking into the possibility of piloting some DGPAs for dockless vehicles along Bardstown Road to help prevent scooters from blocking pedestrian access. These areas would be situated near TARC stops that have a high demand for scooter parking. That is what we call in conflict resolution a “win-win-win.” Better infrastructure for users, safer sidewalks for pedestrians, and more capacity for operators.
In the meantime, to all my fellow Gen-Zers (our generation needs a better name) and micro-mobility enthusiasts, let's be responsible riders. Don’t ride scooters on the sidewalk unless you are parking. Make sure your scooter is not blocking pedestrian’s right-of-way. Stay to the right unless you are turning. Yield to pedestrians. Abide by traffic laws. If you see a scooter parked incorrectly, move it. In short, be a good citizen. If we want scooters to stay in Louisville, then we need to highlight their effectiveness in increasing mobility—not turn them into a nuisance.
While I have you all here, I want to take this chance to tell you about a great new initiative we have been working on. In District 8, we are blessed to have 25 diverse places of worship who provide meeting spaces, social services, and outreach programs across our community.
This summer I have been reaching out to the leaders of these places of worship to meet with them and try to learn everything I can about their congregations, the services they provide, and the spaces they offer. In conjunction with Highland Community Ministries, we are planning to create a directory of all the places of worship in District 8. We hope that this will be the first step in better coordinating community efforts between places of worship and city government. That could be anything from finding a place for a neighborhood association to meet, to collaborating in a compassionate response to homelessness. Check back (hopefully) in late August for the full directory!
For breaking news and information, please follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have a question or comment, please call me at: (502) 574-1108 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org (and copy email@example.com). If you have a service request, please call MetroCall at: 311 or visit MetroCall 311 online. Visit the District 8 Strategic Plan page here.