Scooters will not be allowed on the Lakefront, the 606 Bloomingdale Trail, and other popular areas
Last week, the City of Chicago announced a program for operators to launch a shared electric scooters program in the city this spring.
After two pilot programs were conducted in the city in 2019 and 2020, Chicago announced that up to 3,000 scooters from three different companies will appear in city streets starting in spring 2022.
CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi said in a news release, “CDOT and our partners at BACP have conducted two pilot projects that tested whether shared electric scooters are a viable addition to the mobility landscape in Chicago. We’ve learned that an effectively managed e-scooter program can provide an affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly way for Chicagoans to get around."
Chicago officials will select up to three companies to offer the scooters. Applications are due in February.
According to a report from Block Club Chicago, safety concerns have sprung up regarding the fleet of e-scooters hitting city streets. Alderman Harry Osterman (48th) told Block Club Chicago, "Communities like mine that are very dense, there are streets where it’s just not safe for these scooters to be on sidewalks."
However, the city announced the scooter companies will be required to use technology that can detect and limit sidewalk use. The scooters will be permitted mainly on city streets, with some restrictions. E-scooters will not be allowed on the 606 Bloomingdale Trail, the Lake Front, Chicago Riverwalk, or O'Hare Airport.
The scooter program will begin with three companies offering 1,000 scooters each. But they will be allowed to deploy more if they meet the city's safety ordinances. The ordinance allows up to 12,500 scooters to hit the city streets in total.
According to BACP Commissioner Ken Meyer in the news release, "The two scooter pilot programs allowed us to thoughtfully evaluate scooters in Chicago to come up with a permanent structure for this new license. Through collaboration, and City Council approval, the license will ensure licensees put safety and equitable scooter distribution at the forefront of their business models.”
The city announced 50% of scooters must be deployed to Equity Priority Areas, including south and west side neighborhoods.
In October, Chicago officials said the program could bring in $4.4 million revenue from permit fees from the first 6,000 scooters. Riders will pay Chicago's 9% lease tax.
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