Scooter contract renewal pulled from Bloomington BPW agenda, pending more review

The approval of contract renewal that would allow the Bird scooter company to continue to use the public right of way to do business in Bloomington was pulled from the Tuesday meeting agenda for the board of public works (BPW).

The item is also not expected to appear on the agenda for the very next BPW meeting. But it could appear on the board’s Nov. 22 agenda, possibly along with the contract renewals for the two other companies doing business in Bloomington—Lime and VeoRide.

Under the terms of the scooter contracts, companies pay the city $10,000 year for a license, and 15 cents for each ride their customers take.

The reason the contract was pulled off this week’s agenda was given at Tuesday’s meeting during the staff report from public works director Adam Wason. “After some communications from some city councilmembers and others yesterday about the renewals, city staff in coordination with the mayor’s office and legal decided that we were going to pull this from the agenda at this time while we do some further coordination with both the university and the city council,” Wason said.

Wason added, “Part of that is going to be some evaluation of some data and combined conversation with the university and their team that are working on scooter issues.”

The pushback from councilmembers stems from long-brewing frustration over blockage of ADA ramps and sidewalks by parked scooters, and the city’s apparent decision not to impose fines for the infractions.

That’s after the council was assured at a public meeting in July 2019 by the city attorney that fines would be imposed for any parking violation, if they approved the ordinance allowing scooter companies to operate in Bloomington. Continue reading “Scooter contract renewal pulled from Bloomington BPW agenda, pending more review”

Cataloging scooter parking violations: Bloomington to use temp agency for initial staffing of 2 positions

Shared electric scooters that are parked so they block ADA ramps and sidewalks in Bloomington will soon be systematically documented and moved out of the way by two temporary workers.

In action taken on Tuesday, the city’s three-member board of public works approved a contract with Express Employment Services that is supposed to pay two workers $15.75 an hour for around 25 hours a week. The total cost of the city’s payments to Express can’t be more than $15,500.

The parking services division, within the department of public works, will administer the pilot program, which is supposed to be evaluated at the end of the year.

A temp agency is being used just to get the new workers on the job as quickly as possible, with an eye towards bringing the same people on board as temporary city employees soon after that.

The jobs are posted on the city’s own job board.

The program to document blockage of ADA ramp and sidewalk access, and move the scooters out of the path is being launched more than three years after the city council enacted its scooter ordinance.

Bloomington’s local law allows shared use electric scooter companies to use the public right-of-way for their operations, in exchange for a licensing fee of $10,000 a year, and a payment to the city of 15 cents per ride.

Currently licensed to do business in Bloomington are Bird, Lime, and VeoRide.

Continue reading “Cataloging scooter parking violations: Bloomington to use temp agency for initial staffing of 2 positions”

Bloomington police report: Early Sunday morning death when drunk driver hits scooter rider

In the early morning hours of Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, a drunk driver veered up onto the sidewalk of North Walnut Street near 12th Street causing one person on the sidewalk to jump out of the way, according to a Sunday afternoon news release from Bloomington police.

But the driver struck a 20-year-old man riding an electric scooter, and the man has died from his injuries, according to the news release.

Bloomington police arrested 22-year-old Madelyn N. Howard of Crown Point and have charged her with two crimes: Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Resulting in Death (a level 4 felony) and Leaving the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury or Death While Intoxicated (level 3 felony).

According to the news release, the car driven by Howard was seen on security footage from a nearby business driving with its passenger-side tires up on the sidewalk on the east side of Walnut Street. According to the news release, the car was driving fast and a person on the sidewalk can be seen jumping out of the way of the car into the grass just before it strikes the victim on the scooter.

According to the news release, the man was found lying along the east edge of Walnut Street just north of the intersection of 12th and Walnut Street. He was taken by ambulance to the IU Health Bloomington Hospital.

Bloomington police officers responded to the call around 1:50 a.m on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, according to the news release. Continue reading “Bloomington police report: Early Sunday morning death when drunk driver hits scooter rider”