9/9/18, Bird

A Bird scooter stands by a parking lot. Before, electric scooters could be left anywhere on campus provided they didn't get in the way of pedestrians or conflict with Americans with Disabilities standards. As part of a move to allow scooters back in West Lafayette, the city has created designated parking spaces for them on city streets.

In a short discussion at Monday’s West Lafayette City Council meeting, the fate of Bird scooters was laid out before attendants.

The electric Bird scooters, which first showed up in West Lafayette Friday morning, were collected by the West Lafayette Police Department Saturday afternoon. Despite their best efforts, more showed up on Sunday.

“There are more today than there were yesterday,” said WLPD Deputy Chief Troy Harris, who noted the current policy of the police department is to only remove the ones in the right of way.

“You’re blocking our residents from the the resources they need to get to,” Harris said at the meeting. “What we've explained to (Bird) is that if they are a trip hazard, we have to remove them.”

According to West Lafayette Economic Development Coordinator Erik Carlson, the scooters appeared in the city without warning — a common trait in Bird’s rollouts across the country. Cities including Indianapolis woke up to flocks of scooters on the sidewalks with some, including the Indiana state capital, choosing to immediately ban the scooters until further notice. Bird returned to the city on Aug. 7 with a permit allowing their scooters in the city. But cities weren’t the only ones affected.

“College campuses all across the country are being targeted with these kind of transportation options,” said West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis, referring to how schools including the University of Texas, Austin experienced similar situations. Like Indianapolis, the scooters were initially banned but were able to return to the city after applying for a permit.

According to Carlson, West Lafayette, Lafayette and Purdue University are working together to figure out the scooter situation.

“There’s going to be a united front and united rules and regulations with how to deal with these scooters,” he said. “We dealt with this two years ago with the Zagster bikes and it’s worked out very well.”

According to Harris, he and Bird had "friendly and constructive communications" over the weekend.

"I like the concept," Harris said. "Lots of alternate modes of transportation out there that will be accepted with open arms by our student population."

Read more on Thursday in our print edition.

You can contact Ryan Chen via email at city@purdueexponent.org or on Twitter @ryanjengchen.

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