In an effort to improve travel for residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant, City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) hosted an e-scooter demonstration on Fulton Ave to increase support for bringing a scooter program to New York City.
The scooters were brought by the company Bird, who is working with the city council to bring a scooter sharing program similar to the bike sharing program that the city already has.
There has been legislation introduced into the city council that would create a program that would place electric scooters for rental across the five boroughs. Although, Cornegy said the language still needs to be updated.
The electric scooters are completely motorized and do not emit any fumes from them, creating an environmentally sound transportation alternative.
Cornegy said he is prepared to fight for the scooters for the same way he fought for increased bike safety.
“I would have to stand up, I’ve been an advocate, I ride my bike everywhere,” he said, “I try to follow the voice and the conscious of bike lanes, but balance that out with what my constituency wants,” he said.
With the implementation of the scooter program, steps would need to be taken to increase safety for bikers and those who use the scooters, Cornegy said. There are an increasing number of people using alternative modes of transportation as a way to earn an income, such as those delivering food on their bikes.
“When things change we have to be able to adapt quickly as a city to accommodate what the market is calling for,” he said.
Cornegy wanted to hold the demonstration in Bed-Stuy as a way to get minority communities a chance to be at the forefront of adapting to the alternative mode of transpiration.
“We’ve created an atmosphere for minority communities to be on the cutting edge,” he said.
Matthew Kapko, the director of public policy for Bird, said the company believes safety would improve in New York City with the implementation of the scooters. He said the vehicles are safer because they are low-speed, lighter and smaller.
“The more people who are riding on birds and not in cars are operating in that 21st century manner,” he said.
The scooters could be used as a way to combat the L-Train shutdown that is scheduled to take place in April 2019. Kapko said the scooters are a better alternative to bicycles on a hot day because they are motorized and do not require any peddling, which leads to less sweating for people traveling to and from work.
Kapko said Bird is working with the mayor, the city council and the department of transportation to get a pilot program launched in New York City by the end of the year. Currently, Bird operates on three continents and dozens of cities across the United States.
“Once we get the thumbs up from the mayor and the council we can take it from there,” he said.