That’s only about 46 percent of the ridership seen for the same two months in 2019—an impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though Indiana University students have returned to campus, many of them have vastly reduced local travel requirements, because some of their classes are offered online.
University affiliates make up the majority of ridership for public buses and private e-scooters alike. After e-scooter ridership dipped to nearly nothing over the summer, it has rebounded a little bit this fall, somewhat better than public bus ridership.
Bloomington’s uReport system for resident complaints features this item from mid-July last year: “When will the city start removing this debris?”
It was a mordant reference to the “pile of scooters” blocking the 6th Street sidewalk in front of the public library.
Complaints and comments about scooters have diminished since the Bird and Lime companies deployed them in Bloomington, starting in September 2018. But complaints have not completely disappeared. On Friday morning, @indiana_rachel Tweeted a photo of an 8-strong phalanx of Lime scooters parked in a way that blocks sidewalk passage, saying, “Hard to get past this in a wheelchair.” [Added 9:05 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2020, shortly after initial publication]
The number of complaints and comments in the uReport system is one way to track the activity of the shared-use electric scooters in the city.
Nearly four months after a package of laws regulating e-scooters first appeared on the Bloomington city council’s agenda, the legislation was approved on a 7–1 vote Wednesday night.
In broad strokes the package of laws includes: licensing of companies by the city’s board of public works; caps on numbers associated with licenses; regulations for the way all scooter pilots—shared use or not—operate their scooters (e.g., yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians); regulations on the locations and manner of scooter parking (e.g., only if in upright position); safety features of scooters (e.g., configured so scooters cannot exceed 15 mph); data sharing; required public outreach; and affordability and accessibility.
When Bloomington’s common council meets on Wednesday in regular session for the first time since June 12, the city’s nine elected representatives will confront for the fifth time a package of legislation that regulates shared-use (and other) e-scooters.
Local scooter laws are likely to be the focus of detailed deliberations at the regular meeting, unlike the other two main topics on the agenda.
The council will get a first reading of a proposed zoning ordinance change to allow for construction of an 820-bedroom project at the site of the current Motel 6 on Walnut Street, across from Miller Showers Park. Based on a note in the packet of meeting materials, the first council deliberations on the project are not expected to take place until Aug. 7, at a committee meeting.
The council will also get a first reading of some changes to ordinances involving parking. Those ordinance changes are on the agenda for the committee of the whole, which will convene right after the regular session adjourns on Wednesday. One parking ordinance change would remove some, but not all, “no parking” restrictions on Dunn Street. The other ordinance involving parking involves loosening the membership requirements of the parking commission.
By late last week, the Bloomington City Council was getting ready to return to its normal meeting routine after a summer hiatus. Councilmembers last met in regular session on June 12; their next regular meeting falls on the last day of July.
Based on some conversation at a work session last Friday, they’re thinking about how to set up the calendar for at least three topics they’ll be handling soon: a proposed 820-bedroom student housing development on North Walnut at the current Motel 6 site; possible tweaks to a still-pending ordinance that would regulate shared-use electric scooters; and some amendments to the new parking ordinance.
And based on conversation at a work session held by the Monroe County Council on Tuesday evening, Bloomington’s city council could in the next couple months be called on to participate in a four-way meeting about the proposed convention center expansion.