Council Chairman Smith Wary On Allowing Hundreds Of Electric Scooters/Dockless Bikes On City Streets

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

City Council Chairman Ken Smith said he is wary of allowing hundreds of electric scooters/dockless bikes on Chattanooga streets.

"You can go on Google and in five seconds see the problems. Cities like Los Angeles and Indianapolis are fed up with them. People are setting fire to them, smearing poop on them and throwing them in the Pacific Ocean."

He also said the scooters "could wind up left all over our streets. I would look twice before I voted to approve allowing them."

But City Transportation Director Blythe Bailey is touting the new form of transportation. He said several companies are anxious to set up shop here, and the city should have an ordinance regulating them ready by the end of the month.

Mr. Bailey said, "The city of Chattanooga strives to assure that all of our public street and open spaces are active and alive as well as safe and well-managed. We believe that a city that is occupied with people going about their business in a variety of ways is a city that is healthy and is a great place to live, work and play.

"Multiple mobility options can contribute positively to a vibrant business model to work in Chattanooga as well as a clear permitting process and consistent enforcement so that Dockless Systems (mobile scooters, dockless bikes, and other systems as the technology emerges) can operate safely and to the betterment of Chattanooga citizens and the public spaces that we enjoy."

Mr. Bailey said the plan is to have firms obtain Temporary Use Permits to be able to ply city streets. He said the charge would be $110 per vehicle in the fleet per year. The program would be evaluated for possible changes after a year.  

He said the devices would not be allowed on sidewalks, but would mainly travel in bike lanes. He said they would share the roads with cars.

Mr. Bailey said, "Our city is a great place to be and these companies want to be here."

He added, "I don't think adding more vehicles to our streets will be a problem."

Councilman Darrin Ledford said he owns one of the scooters himself. He said, "I love it, but they can zip around and are quite dangerous. I would not let my nine-year-old son on one."

He also noted that in photos illustrating the devices "I don't see anybody wearing helmets."

He asked if there would be a "scooting under the influence" penalty for those who may visit a bar for several drinks, then get on one of the devices.

Another issue raised was the problem of the scooters being stolen and vandalized. Mr. Bailey said the scooters will be outfitted with GPS so they can be located by the owner.



Seattle Firm Wants To Start Rehab Of Affordable West Side Apartments Early Next Year

An official of a Seattle firm that specializes in buying and rehabbing housing for low income families said it wants to start work on $8 million in improvements to the Ridgeway Apartments by early next year. First, Vitus is seeking a PILOT tax abatement from both the city and county. The abatement sought is payment of the current annual taxes of $50,110 for 10 years, plus ... (click for more)

City Transportation Director Says He Is Okay With Whatever Council Decides On Electric Scooters

City Transportation Director Blythe Bailey said he is comfortable with any way the City Council decides to go on allowing electric scooters. He said an Internet search does turn up many problems tossing a fleet of the scooters onto a city's streets can cause. On the other hand, he said they provide an additional transportation option. Mr. Bailey said he believes that many ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 2018 Ig Nobel Awards

The word ‘ignobel’ is rarely used because only a few among us know that it means "characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness." About 30 years ago, a glorious group of great scholars took a literary hatchet to form the word into ‘ig nobel’ so it could be placed in the dictionary as a term that means “a satirical social criticism that identifies absurd research.” Think of ... (click for more)

Henderson Saves The Day For Soddy Daisy Volleyball

The high school volleyball match at Soddy Daisy Monday night between the host Soddy Daisy Lady Trojans and the Chattanooga Christian Lady Chargers was not a district match and has no bearing whatsoever on regular-season standings, but it was one that CCS coach Sarah Stutheit wanted to win in a big, big way. Her Lady Chargers made an incredible comeback after losing the first ... (click for more)

Covenant's Lemay Named Defensive Player Of The Week

Covenant men's soccer junior goalkeeper Paul Lemay was named the USA South Defensive Player of the Week, for the period ending on Sept. 16, announced the league on Monday. The honor is the first of Lemay's career. The junior from Apopka, Fla., played all 270 minutes at the net for the Scots and helped the team to a 2-1 week, with both wins coming against conference opponents. ... (click for more)