Downtown CommissionMay 15, 2024

Item #3 Draft Downtown Commission Recommendation 20240515-003 - Dockless Micromobility Regulations — original pdf

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BOARD/COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION Downtown Commission Recommendation Number 20240515-003: Dockless Micromobility Regulations WHEREAS, following Superpedestrian/Link ceasing operations in North America at the end of 2023, the Austin e-scooter system contracted in size by 29%, losing 2,000 scooters from the system; WHEREAS, the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan (ASMP) calls on the city to “Emphasize and incentivize shared mobility solutions” by developing and focusing on ”shared mobility services and systems to provide first-mile/last-mile mobility solutions and increase shared trips on the transportation network”; WHEREAS, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) highlighted Austin in its 2022 Report on Shared Micromobility in the U.S. and Canada as having the second most used e-scooter system in North America with a ride per vehicle per day average of 2.7, which NACTO called “stand out for e-scooter rides per vehicle per day compared to peer cities.”; D R A F T ● “Maintain the number of licensed micro-mobility vendors at 2”, ● “No increases to device permits for current licensed operators”, ● “Maintain the total number of permitted scooters citywide at 6,700”, ● “Reduce the number of scooters allowed to operate in the Downtown Area Project Coordination Zone (DAPCZ) to 1,125 per licensed vendor”, ● “Reduce maximum speed from 15mph to 10mph between 10pm and 5am daily in the main entertainment districts of the urban core”, and ● “Assign restricted and designated device staging areas and require rebalancing of devices to assigned areas each morning”; WHEREAS, on March 28th, 2024, Transportation and Public Works (TPW) Director Richard Mendoza briefed the City Council Mobility Committee on “upcoming changes to our department regulations regarding the operations of micro-mobility devices” and cited safety, general aesthetics, and watershed protection as the main issues the regulations were meant to address; WHEREAS, the “Enhanced Regulations to the Shared Mobility Program” took effect on April 1st, 2024, and the following changes were communicated to vendors on April 11th, 2024: WHEREAS, on March 30th, 2024 the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association released a statement opposing the moratorium on new vendors, caps on the number of new vendors, reduction of vehicles in the DAPCZ, and elimination of dockless e-bikes, and further requested the city “delay its planned changes and instead moves towards solutions that more prudently balance the impacts on mobility users, the city’s mobility goals, and safety”; WHEREAS, according to the City of Austin Vision Zero Viewer, the number of e-scooter-related serious injuries decreased 50% from 12 in 2022 to 6 in 2023, and the number of deaths decreased from 2 to 0 over the same period; WHEREAS, the Phase 1 Austin Core Transportation Plan Survey results indicated residents wanted more access to scooters and micro-mobility solutions, and preferred scootering Downtown over carpooling, ridesharing, and driving alone; and WHEREAS, on May 6th, 2024, the Urban Transportation Commission passed Recommendation 20240506-006: Dockless Micromobility Regulations and Transportation-related Rulemaking; NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Downtown Commission recommends that TPW and the City Council immediately take action to better align the city’s Shared Mobility policies with the city’s values on safety, mobility, equity, and transparency; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Downtown Commission recommends the rulemaking process on dockless vehicles prioritizes robust public engagement, notification of stakeholders, board & commission review, City Council feedback, and be evaluated on whether the rules will help the city meet the ASMP Shared Mobility Indicators & Targets, including: D R A F T historically underrepresented and underserved; ● Increase the coverage of shared mobility solutions; and ● Increase the density of shared mobility vehicles. ● Increase the usage of shared mobility solutions; ● Increase the share of shared mobility trips that originate or end in areas that are Motioned by: Seconded by: Date of Approval: Record of the vote: Attest: _____________________________________________ (Staff or board member can sign)