Birds have landed in Arvada.
The city announced on Jan. 25 that Los-Angeles based company Bird Rides will be the first partner in the new Shared Micromobility Pilot Program, which was approved by a city council vote on Aug. 16. The scooters became available on Jan. 26.
The scooters will be located in a one-mile radius of Arvada’s RTD G-Line stops in an effort to increase accessibility to the train. Riders will be able to rent scooters through the Bird mobile app on a per-minute basis at no cost to the city.
[cqmedia layout=”panel” content=”eyJwaG90byI6W3sibWVkaWFfdHlwZSI6InBob3RvIiwicGhvdG9faWQiOiIyNjYyNzEiLCJwaG90b19jYXB0aW9uIjoiQmlyZCBzY29vdGVycyByZWFkeSBmb3IgcmlkZXJzIGF0IHRoZSBjb3JuZXIgb2YgR3JhbnQgUGxhY2UgYW5kIE9sZGUgV2Fkc3dvcnRoIEJvdWxldmFyZCBpbiBPbGRlIFRvd24gQXJ2YWRhLiIsInBob3RvX2NyZWRpdCI6IiJ9XSwidmlkZW8iOltdLCJmaWxlIjpbXX0=”]
Arvada Manager of Mobility and Planning Innovation John Firouzi said that the idea for the pilot program came from a desire to increase connectivity to the G-line.
“It started with the citizen’s Transportation Advisory Committee coming to City Council with a solution for first and last mile connectivity to G-Line stations,” Firouzi said. “At the time, when they were doing their analysis on different options, we looked at a one-mile radius of each G-line station that serves Arvada, which includes the last station on the line which is technically in Wheat Ridge. But we still considered that as part of the service area and looked at the entire corridor, which we are considering our mobility innovation corridor.”
The pilot program will run for about six months, at which time Arvada Public Works will provide City Manager Mark Deven with an initial assessment report on the program. City council will then have the option to end or extend the pilot program for a second review.
If the program passes through the second Council review, it would extend until the end of 2022. An annual permitting structure would open for all vendors on Jan. 1, 2023.
The scooters can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour and can be used on roads and in bike lanes. Scooters must be parked out of the way of pedestrians and may not block driveways. Riders are required to be at least 18 years of age and are encouraged to wear a helmet.
City council passed an ordinance amending part of Arvada’s City Code to allow traffic enforcement on micromobility devices on Aug. 16.
Kellee Van Bruggen, Arvada’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, said that her team was committed to ensuring that riders were following the rules of the road.
“As new shared micromobility devices are added into the community, we want to make sure that users are aware of the rules to operate and park these devices,” Van Bruggen said. “By having a standard set of rules for the devices, we can mitigate concerns related to users and non-users safety.”
Firouzi said that his staff held four public meetings to gauge community response to the program and received mixed responses.
“We had originally planned for three public meetings,” Firouzi said. “We made that four. We provided some information on our Speak Up page including the public information and outreach efforts that we’d recorded… basically there’s a bit of a mix in terms of responses. We had some folks from outside the project area that participated which is great, we got their input.
“Overall,” Firouzi continued, “to capture the folks that are for and against, we basically heard from folks that were for the project saying, `expand the project area and expand the project options.’ For folks that were against, they were mostly concerned about parking on sidewalks as well as generally folks not following laws and concerns about management of a program like this.”