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Temporary Zoning Ordinance Allows County To Regulate The Eventual Arrival Of E-Scooters

Last year, e-bikes became a familiar sight in the Park City area, as an amenity in public transit.

Now there are indications the next wave in individual shared transit may be e-scooters, supplied by private companies.

Given that, Summit County Council member Roger Armstrong says the council approved a Temporary Zoning Ordinance Wednesday. That will allow the county to get a regular handle on this new phenomenon.

Armstrong told KPCW that cities in California are reacting to the new scooters.

“If you paid a visit to California recently to San Francisco or to Santa Monica. San Francisco has got their arms around it and banned the scooter outbreak.”

They're starting to appear in Salt Lake.

“Beth and I had dinner in Salt Lake a couple of weeks ago and the couple that we were dining with mentioned the scooters I had never seen them before. We were about ninth and ninth in that area and looking around there were scooters everywhere. They were lying on the sidewalks and it was a remarkable phenomenon watching people wandering around trying to find a scooter that had a good battery many of them had dead batteries, so they had to leave those aside. They are hugely popular. They are hugely controversial in places like Los Angeles where residents complain that people, after they’re done using them, just throw them on their lawns. On the bike and skate paths and pedestrian paths down on the boardwalk in Santa Monica the conflicts are remarkable with scooters cutting in and out of the travel lanes. They’re a lot of fun, Beth climbed on one in Salt Lake and had a quick ride and really enjoyed it.”

He said they passed the TZO, to start getting a handle on the activity.

“So that we can come up with ordinances that make sense. To make sure that people have liability insurance to make sure that they have some sort of a plan to service these things, to collect them, to communicate with the public. There are a variety of points that have to be put in place. I think just be responsible. It all goes back to there are a lot of ways for us to make our way around this community. This is a part of active transportation. Being able to take a scooter for a short distance from one point to another seems like a great idea. Let’s just be kind to each other as Charlie says and respect each other.”

We asked what scooter companies can do during the six months of the TZO

“They can be here in the meantime, but they have to enter into a license agreement with the county to be here so that we can make sure that we understand who they are, what they are, how they plan on rolling it out. Make sure that they have a plan. That license agreement will cover many of the same kinds of terms that we would anticipate rolling into an ordinance. It also limits the number that can be operating in the county to a total of three until this temporary ordinance is past and we have a permanent ordinance in place.” Armstrong clarified that the ordinance would not include Park City Municipal, “I think Park City has to institute its own and I think it’s working on that now simultaneously. I think we were told yesterday they’re parallel paths.”

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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