Shared from the 5/26/2018 The Denver Post eEdition

SHARED TRANSPORTATION

Lime sees little wheels as route-scootin’ biggie

Dockless, electric ride is an alternative to cars, bikes

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Denver City Councilman Jolon Clark tests one of Lime’s dockless, shared electric scooters Friday afternoon. Photos by Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

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Anyone with a smartphone can borrow a Lime-S electric scooter using an app that charges $1 to unlock the two-wheel ride and 15 cents per minute of use.

A few hundred electric scooters were set free in Denver on Friday — and curious folks didn’t waste time before hopping aboard and navigating through the sea of small dogs, activists asking for petition signatures and lunch-breakers downtown.

Lime, known for its Aurora bikeshare program, is giving the people of Denver what they never knew they wanted: a fleet of shared, dockless electric scooters that cost a buck each to unlock via an app and 15 cents per minute to zoom around.

Because they’re dockless, the Lime-S scooters don’t have to be returned to a specific location.

Sam Sadle, Lime’s director of strategic development in Denver, said the company is on a mission to help the city achieve its goal of getting 30 percent of in-town traffic out of vehicles by 2030.

“So far, Denver has only reached 13 percent nonvehicle travel,” Sadle said. “By taking cars off the roads and replacing them with scooters, we believe we can alleviate traffic congestion, help Denver reach its Vision Zero goals, improve urban mobility and transform the way people get around the city.”

Hit the brake on that scooter, the city of Denver says.

The city is concerned about the use, placement and number of scooters operating on Denver’s sidewalks, particularly in high-pedestrian traffic zones, Denver Public Works department spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said in an emailed statement. The city was only notified of Lime’s plans a few days ago.

“Our department will be removing scooters that are blocking sidewalks and other public spaces,” the statement read. “At the same time, we are working to develop new rules to regulate these activities in the public right of way that we aim to put into effect in the very short-term.”

Sadle said he doesn’t think it’s worth the effort to impound the scooters: “We want to work with the city, and we hope they’ll be willing to work with us.”

While there may be tension between Lime and the city, residents walking the streets on Friday afternoon were delighted by the devices parked outside Mutiny Information Cafe along Broadway.

The handful of scooters near the cafe were part of Friday’s rollout of the wheels around downtown, Five Points and Lower Downtown, and along East Colfax Avenue, Sadle said.

Kristina Hall and Clint Mitchell zipped around the block, parking their temporary steeds outside Sweet Action Ice Cream while they dug into an afternoon treat.

Mitchell needed some convincing before entrusting his life to a motorized, two-wheeled contraption that would fly down a busy city sidewalk, but once Hall cajoled him, he was hooked.

“It was just fun,” he said, “and I love that you can drop it anywhere.”

Brandon Gayeski was on his lunch break when he and some colleagues came across a pod of scooters.

“I was just in San Diego, where they have these, and they were awesome,” Gayeski said. “I think they’ll be super popular. I like showing up in style.”

Gayeski said he could imagine going out for the night and using the scooter — top speed: 14.8 mph — to get around downtown rather than taking an Uber or Lyft.

Anthony Gengaro, with the Metro Denver Local Redevelopment Corp., said this is exactly the kind of public transportation progress that’s needed in the city.

“It’s kind of like you just put them in the public realm and now see what happens,” Gengaro said.

Elizabeth Hernandez:

303-954-1223, ehernandez

@denverpost.com or

@ehernandez

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