The city of Spokane plans to reinvest its revenue from Lime scooters and bicycles into making the program safer and better organized.
With $59,050 in funding, the city is exploring construction of vehicle parking zones downtown and messaging on sidewalks and signs to instruct riders on proper etiquette.
“We’re trying to respond to the biggest issues and make investments where the city is uniquely positioned – the public right-of-way is kind of our realm,” said Colin Quinn-Hurst, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian planner. “The goal is to use all the fees we get from Lime and put them back into making the program safer and improving it.”
Since Lime reintroduced its scooters and bicycles in Spokane in May, ridership has been robust.
There have been more than 200,000 rides and 240,000 miles traveled on scooters and bicycles since they returned to the streets in May.
There were more than twice as many rides in the first month of operation this year than during the first month of the pilot program last year, Quinn-Hurst said.
Pending City Council approval, the city anticipates creating an account that takes the fees Lime pays to the city and reinvests the money in the program.
With the initial funds, the city plans to create a small number of scooter parking zones and implement signage to remind downtown scooter riders to stay off of the sidewalks.
“We have some locations where we’re going to start placing (parking zones), and there will be more to come after that depending how well they function,” said Brandon Blankenagel, a city engineer.
Just because parking zones are built does not mean riders will use them. But there is the potential for Lime to offer incentives to riders who use the parking zones, such as a discount or a chance to win a prize, Quinn-Hurs said.
The initial parking zone locations are at Wall Street and Riverside Avenue, on Main Avenue between Division and Browne Streets, and at the corner of Post Street and Spokane Falls Boulevard.
Messaging painted on sidewalk corners will remind riders of city regulations. In March, the city adopted a new law that required scooters to be ridden on the street – not the sidewalk – in the downtown area.
The $59,050 set to be allocated in a special budget ordinance by the City Council on Monday is an estimate based on the revenue the city anticipates from the program this year.
Thus far, the revenue is aligning with the city’s expectations when it launched the program in May.
Based on its contract with the city, Lime pays the city on a quarterly basis at a rate of 75 cents per vehicle in the right-of-way per day.
How long the scooters and e-bicycles will remain on the road this year will depend on the weather, according to city officials.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.