Birds are slowly flying out of the West Valley as Glendale joins Peoria in banning the electric scooters.

Birds are slowly flying out of the West Valley as Glendale joins Peoria in banning the electric scooters.

Birds are slowly flying out of the West Valley as Glendale joins Peoria in banning the electric scooters. The move comes three days after council gave staff direction to research electric scooters in the city. City Attorney Michael Bailey sent Bird Rides Inc. a cease and desist letter January 25, telling the company to remove all scooters from city property. Otherwise, the company could be charged up to $250 an hour per scooter. Bird responded January 31, saying all scooters would be removed from the city. “While Bird does not believe it was operating in conflict with existing rules or regulations, we understand the city’s legal position,” said Nourie Boraie, Bird Rides Inc. manager, government partnerships, in the letter to the city. “In light of this, Bird will remove our devices from Glendale rights-of-way as soon as logistically possible, while we continue to work with city staff and elected officials to update language, develop new rules and regulations, and establish a strong and respectful partnership with Glendale.” Numerous councilmembers said they were against the e-scooters in the city. Vice Mayor Joyce Clark stated in her newsletter the city will spend the next six months reviewing the ordinance to decide if they want the scooters. In Bailey’s letter to Bird, he wrote, “Among other prohibitions, the Glendale city code prohibits self-propelled scooters, such as Bird’s scooters, from being operated in ‘any city park, on any public sidewalk, roadway or any other part of a street or city property.’” The letter added, “Self-propelled scooters are also prohibited from: parking on a street, parking on the roadside, parking on a sidewalk, parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, or parking within 30 feet of a stop sign, yield sign or traffic control signal.” Numerous people walking downtown were glad to hear the city was making the company remove the scooters. “The fact that I see these things all over the sidewalk and I have to walk around them everywhere, it is really annoying,” Joanna Gilderson said. “They are a nuisance and I am glad the city is finally doing something about them.” Another person having lunch in downtown Glendale, Dawn Brutinski of Peoria, said she was glad Glendale was following Peoria’s lead. “Peoria just ordered them to be removed and I am glad to see Glendale also getting rid of them. They are just everywhere and are dangerous if you are walking down the sidewalk and they are laying across blocking the way for pedestrians,” Brutinski said. Peoria, who also recently ordered the scooters removed from the city after they appeared in early 2018, was running a pilot-program that officials “intended to evaluate how this new transportation system would be used, while balancing public safety concerns.” The city wanted to evaluate the safety, demand, usage, code compliance, economic impact, and community response to the electric scooters, according to the press release. Peoria officials ordered the scooters removed after Bird made “major handwritten changes to the approved agreement.” One of those changes would have placed significant liability, risk and exposure to lawsuits and claims against the city and its taxpayers, a statement read. “As a result, the agreement was never finalized, and Bird will conclude its operations in Peoria,” the statement noted. Bird claimed, in a letter sent to Peoria officials January 23: “Over the past few months we have worked closely with Peoria city staff to craft an e-scooter pilot program customized to suit Peoria’s transportation goals. While we appreciate the opportunity to bring a sustainable transportation alternative to the residents of Peoria, Bird is unable to agree to the onerous regulations promulgated by the city, and must move to withdraw our fleet operations in Peoria.” Bird claimed three issues in negotiating with Peoria, including “Peoria’s insistence that we indemnify the city for its own negligence ... high fees … overly burdensome and redundant operational requirements.” In the response from Bird to Glendale, Boraie added, “Over the past four months of operation, we have built a network of individuals in Glendale who charge, repair and deploy our devices. While we move quickly to come into compliance with your request, we hope that you will afford us time to communicate these coming changes to our local chargers and mechanics. Please allow us one week’s time before enforcement begins so that we may work through operational logistics, move the fleet, and discuss next steps with our team on the ground.” Bailey’s letter to Bird added, “The Glendale Department of Transportation is working with the Glendale City Council to develop appropriate regulations for the operation of dockless mobility services in the city of Glendale.” Boraie responded, “We appreciate your cooperation as we make this temporary adjustment and we look forward to maintaining our close partnership with Glendale, as we are eager to return to the city as soon as it develops a program officially permitting e-scooter operation.” The scooters are expected to be removed from Glendale by February 7.