Future of dockless scooters in Pflugerville remains unclear after council discussion

Lime scooters line a sidewalk in Austin.

Lime scooters line a sidewalk in Austin.

A roundtable discussion spurred by the recent arrival of dockless electric scooters in Pflugerville yielded little clarity about the future of dockless mobility across the city.

Pflugerville City Council members expressed an array of opinions about the utilization of dockless scooters in the city, ranging from receptiveness for a potential transportation alternative to safety concerns.

“All I hear about is people getting hit [or] people falling,” Council Member Jeff Marsh said at the Feb. 26 work session. “I say we impound until everyone else figures this mess out and find the best practices.”

Dockless electric scooters have apparently arrived in Pflugerville after Mayor Victor Gonzalez reported seeing one in the Stone Hill Town Center Area. Other council members reported seeing scooters on Pfluger Farm Lane and even in the Village of Hidden Lake neighborhood near Lake Pflugerville.

Council members Jim McDonald and Rudy Metayer both raised the possibility for scooters to enhance mobility options throughout Pflugerville. The city is working on updating is transportation master plan—a city planning document that outlines transportation priorities for the next handful of years and beyond.

Dockless scooters, according to McDonald, may be able to help take cars off of Pflugerville’s roadways.

“When you look at people driving on the road, typically you see one person in one car,” McDonald said.

However, Council Member Mike Heath stated he doubts the city has the infrastructure, such as connected sidewalks, to allow for the wide deployment of dockless scooters and bikes.

“We don’t have the ancillary facilities to support a scooter or bike program right now,” Heath said.

Currently, alternative modes of transit are limited throughout Pflugerville. Council in August approved a transit development plan the city drafted in coordination with Capital Metro. That plan has the potential to add pilot programs for public bus lines and shuttles throughout the city, though no pilot programs have yet to get off the ground.

The city of Austin has issued 17,650 permits for dockless scooters and bicycles to 10 different companies, as previously reported by Community Impact Newspaper.

Council moved on from the discussion at its work session without an apparent conclusion to the issue. Pflugerville City Manager Sereniah Breland told council that she will wait for a council member to request action on electric scooters and other dockless mobility options before putting any ordinances or resolutions before the dais.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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