Friday, August 9, 2019

Councilwoman Fisher: Safety Investments Still Lacking in New e-Scooter Contracts

Official release:

Following weeks of advocating by Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher for better contracts to improve the safety of Hoboken’s nascent e-Scooter pilot program, the City Council voted on amended contracts that will allow Hoboken to collect additional revenue to help address growing public safety concerns. While the terms of the new agreements are a step in the right direction, they fall short in addressing the immediate and tangible safety initiatives that Hoboken needs to properly ensure responsible ridership and safety for its residents. 
As part of the new agreement, the city will collect an additional $.35 from Lime per ride taken in Hoboken. Councilwoman Fisher successfully negotiated that the full $.35 cannot be immediately tacked on to the fare cost and revenue will be used directly for traffic safety and enforcement. Additionally, a last-minute addition to induce the Council to support the proposed contracts, the city agreed with Lime to offer riders the ability to make a donation through the app to the Hoboken Community Center, a popular local Hoboken cause.   
“Since the botched roll-out of the e-Scooter program in May, the administration has still not properly addressed the safety and enforcement issues on our streets,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. “That being said, I supported last night’s contract amendments because it allows Hoboken to collect a fair share of ridership revenue with hopes this additional money will be used to implement a more drastic and immediate safety and enforcement plan. Keeping our streets safe has been my top priority since we brought this program to Hoboken and it’s frustrating to see the administration use a last-minute political gimmick, albeit a cause I support, to cover up the shortcomings in the new agreements.”
Also on last night’s agenda was the second reading of an ordinance sponsored by Councilwoman Fisher that would ban e-Scooters from Hoboken’s waterfront.  She agreed to delay a vote on this until the next City Council meeting while continuing to work with Hoboken’s Parking and Transportation Director Ryan Sharp on the following initiatives: a pilot for protected bike lanes on the remaining portions of Sinatra Drive along the waterfront, updated markings and signage for the protected bike lanes on the lower waterfront, and ridership, enforcement and incident statistics for the waterfront to be provided to the City Council to better understand usage and enforcement needs along the waterfront.
“A more tangible and comprehensive public safety plan is needed that includes these initiatives and does not over exhaust our law enforcement resources, otherwise we will need to reconsider the legislation to ban scooters from our waterfront at the next City Council meeting,” said Councilwoman Fisher.  
Councilwoman Fisher has been working with both Lime and Director Sharp since the inception of the program in May to identify ways to better enforce scooter laws and make direct investments in public safety. Since the beginning of the roll-out, Councilwoman Fisher has successfully fought to lower the speed to 8 mph along the waterfront and add an identification requirement to prevent underage ridership and co-sponsored revised fee schedules for eScooter violations.