In a letter to Mayor Durkan (link), Feet First has asked the City of
Seattle to incorporate scooters into city streets and ensure that
“sidewalks are not the prime battlefield for disruption.”
Seattle is going through a dramatic change in the use of city streets.
Transit use and population is rising, and that brings more people on foot
to downtown and local business districts. New forms of travel such as
floating bike share, electric bikes, solowheels, and motorized scooters
join existing users. The legislature recently allowed “delivery drones” on
city sidewalks. And sidewalks downtown are hosting more cafes and other
business uses. This convergence of uses and needs requires a fresh use at
how we use all of the city right of way – not just the sidewalks.
City planning to date has focused on each mode separately with master
plans for freight, transit, walking, and biking. We do not think we need
a scooter master plan to join them. We need a new planning approach:
“Looking freshly and defensively at each new modal use as if it exists in
isolation is a losing game, and we urge you to look holistically at where
each of these uses makes sense and can coexist safely and comfortably”
We believe the right place to start on this analysis is downtown, where
the conflicts and the opportunities are the greatest.
Cramming new uses onto sidewalks, setting up conflicts between all the
sidewalk users, is not the right approach. It’s time to look at how to use
the entire street to accommodate all users. We urge Mayor Durkan to start
that process now, and not wait for the inevitable conflicts.