St. Pete City Council to vote on contracts for e-scooter program

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The City of St. Petersburg is one step closer to bring electric scooters to city streets. The scooters already are popular in other cities, but St. Pete city leaders are hoping to avoid some of the problems seen elsewhere.

The city is starting small with their one year pilot program approved last October. Only 450 scooters will be allowed on the streets and there are guidelines to follow.

To avoid scooters getting dumped everywhere, there will be corrals where riders will need to drop them off when they’re done. They won’t be allowed on sidewalks, and only on streets with 30 mph speed limits or less. They can be used in bike lanes and trails, but not on the waterfront or pier. The city council says there’s a reason for what they call one of the strictest e-scooter ordinance’s in the country.

“We really looked at what other cities had done. We examined the good, the bad, and the ugly and I think we’ve come up with an ordinance that addresses the safety concerns and the clutter issues we’ve seen crop up in other cities,” said city councilwoman Gina Driscoll.

Then another challenge: how to keep the coronavirus from spreading through the scooters. The city hopes to keep people safe by doing what the bicycle sharing company in town is already doing.

“What we have found is that the bike share company that we work with for bike share has been able to operate and they’re making sure to sanitize the bikes and really putting the responsibility sometimes one the consumer as well to make the right decisions, to use hand sanitizer. So I think we can apply those same precautions to e-scooters and do it successfully,” said Driscoll.

There are still people that don’t want to see the scooters.

On Thursday, the city council will vote on the contracts for the two companies providing the scooters Veo and Razor. The program was supposed to have started earlier this year, but coronavirus shut everything down. The program is set to launch in the end of September.

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