VOL. 133 | NO. 122 | Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Council To Review ‘Shared Mobility’ Rules For Scooters, Bike Share
By Bill Dries
Memphis City Council members get their first look Tuesday, June 19, at a “shared mobility” ordinance that would set broad ground rules for “shared use mobility bicycles, electric assist bicycles and electric scooters.”
The 1 p.m. committee discussion follows the kickoff last week of Bird electric scooter stations in different parts of Memphis, with a total of around 200 scooters. And it comes three weeks after the start of the Explore Bike Share program with a fleet of 600 bicycles at 60 stations around the city.
Both are operating under temporary agreements with the city pending passage of an ordinance setting permanent ground rules and permitting procedures.
The council could add the ordinance to Tuesday’s agenda for a vote on the first of three readings at its 3:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall, 125 N. Main St. Or it could be on the agenda for a first-reading vote at the first council meeting in July.
Follow Tuesday’s council session @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, for live coverage and updates from committee sessions earlier in the council day at City Hall.
Bird, a Venice, California-based company with a scooter network in 14 other cities, began talking with city leaders in Memphis as the shared mobility ordinance was already taking shape, said city chief operating officer Doug McGowen.
“They’d been thinking about this for a long time,” McGowen said of the city, Innovate Memphis and the Downtown Memphis Commission. “The ordinance was going to be distributed Tuesday anyway. We were already there. Had it not been for that we wouldn’t be able to harness this opportunity.”
City Council member Kemp Conrad has been a guiding force in writing and passing other city ordinances dealing with the “demand economy,” as it is called. That includes rules for Airbnbs and ride share services. “We are on the cutting edge of it,” Conrad said. “We literally put this together in less than a week.”
The ordinance basically puts a cap on the number of scooters or other shared mobility vehicles pending a city review of the usage per vehicle. That follows criticism of Bird in other cities for an unregulated number of vehicles on sidewalks and streets.
Conrad and council chairman Berlin Boyd also count the opening of Bird’s Memphis operation as an answer to critics of the city’s decision to hire the Ingram Group as its lobbyist in Nashville.
Bird is also an Ingram Group client, and the city’s discussions with Bird were brought about by Ingram representatives.
The council also votes Tuesday on a resolution by councilman Edmund Ford Jr. that would set up an exploratory committee to examine raising the minimum pay of part-time city employees to $15 an hour.
The move follows council passage of a city budget amendment that raises the pay of all full-time city employees to $15.50 an hour effective with the fiscal year that begins July 1.
At an 11:45 a.m. committee session, council members will review a resolution that would allow the city to buy the circa 1948 apartment complex at 2998 Tillman Cove and the circa 1973 apartment complex at 3085 Steele to “demolish, reconstruct/rehab the properties” with $3.5 million in federal entitlement grants due the city.
In planning and development items, the council discusses the use of the Downtown Memphis Commission PILOT – payments in lieu of taxes – extension fund to finance a garage for the One Beale development.
The discussion is at the 2:30 p.m. council executive session.
The council votes Tuesday on a remote trailer parking area for an Amazon fulfillment center at 3588 East Holmes Road, east of the intersection with Tchulahoma Road and a new and used tire shop at 975 North Germantown Parkway. The council also votes on a special use permit for a hotel by MNR Hospitality at 164 Union Ave. on the northwest corner of Union and B.B. King Boulevard. There is also a vote Tuesday on a motor freight terminal facility by JNJ Trucking at 5000 American Way south of Mt. Moriah Road.