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E-scooters could arrive in White Center before end of year

An e-scooter demonstration at Seattle City Hall. (Daron Casey, KTTH)

King County Council has unanimously voted to test an e-scooters pilot in White Center, to see if it can help cut down on traffic and increase mobility.

Lime rolls into council meeting with plenty of scooter support

“This type of pilot is really a part of the solution,” said King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci.

Exact details are a work in progress, but the hope is to get a pilot program up on its feet before the end of 2019. The pilot will run for a full year, with check-ins on the books for the six and nine-month marks to assess milestones and feasibility.

Initially, the goal was to get e-scooters in White Center sometime in November, but concerns over scooters hindering the disabled population led to slight delays.

“It’s early days — we have some work to do to get micro-mobility right,” said Balducci.

With White Center existing as an unincorporated census-designated neighborhood, the pilot will be run and monitored by King County. It will also be the closest location to Seattle to feature e-scooters, joining Tacoma, Bothell, Everett, Redmond, and Spokane.

Meanwhile, Seattle continues to try and figure out its own e-scooter pilot. Mayor Jenny Durkan has said she supports allowing scooters in the city at some point, but she wants to “do it right.” Generally in Seattle speak, that means committees, meetings, and pilot programs.

The city’s current plan is divided into three phases. The first phase, spanning “a couple months,” looks to establish goals, scope, and scale for the e-scooter program, and conduct an environmental review to finalize a framework.

Seattle builds roadmap for e-scooters, plans launch in 2020

The second phase — running between late-2019 and early-2020 — will deal primarily with permitting, eventually finalizing and posting permit applications. The final phase will take place across early-to-mid 2020, when the pilot program will finally be launched. SDOT will look to gauge observations and experiences during the initial launch period, and conduct ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Meanwhile, things are will move much faster down in White Center.

“We can’t just continue just forever growing general purpose lanes and think that that’s going to solve our problems,” said Balducci.

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