Frisco looks to create ordinance regulating dockless mobility scooter, bike programs

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The city of Frisco plans to create its first ordinance to regulate dockless mobility programs, including scooters and bicycles. What that ordinance will entail is uncertain.

Frisco City Council enacted a temporary ban in December. The ban does not have an expiration date, but council members said the city is aiming to have an ordinance to regulate dockless mobility programs in place by February.

Frisco Development Services Director John Lettelleir said city staff plans to discuss a dockless mobility ordinance with council members during council’s winter work session, which is scheduled for Jan. 25 and 26. At least two other dockless mobility companies have reached out to city staff with interest in starting programs in Frisco, Lettelleir said.

The plan for an ordinance comes after dockless mobility company Bird unexpectedly dropped off a fleet of 200 rental scooters Dec. 5 in Frisco. Frisco City Council ordered Bird to remove its scooters during a special meeting Dec. 14. Four days later council approved a temporary ban on certain dockless mobility services.

Frisco’s ban makes it unlawful for anyone to park or place dockless mobility equipment, such as bicycles and scooters, on public property. Under the ban the city has the right to impound any dockless bicycles and scooters. The owner of the devices will face a fee of $50 per device.

The ban does not apply to any programs established in the city before Dec. 1 or any that operate on private property, including the bicycle program at Hall Park.

Frisco council members stressed the ban does not mean the city is against dockless mobility programs.

“Frisco has been incredibly friendly toward technology, has been incredibly friendly toward mobility-type solutions,” Council Member Tim Nelson said during the Dec. 18 meeting. “We have vehicles driving around town in the Hall Park area that don’t even have drivers. So to suggest that Frisco doesn’t embrace technology, that it doesn’t embrace new ideas, that it doesn’t embrace new possibilities, is kind of ridiculous.”

Other nearby cities recently enacted dockless mobility ordinances.

The city of Plano created an ordinance in early 2018 requiring bicycle programs to obtain a permit before providing short-term rentals in the city. The ordinance was updated in November to include scooters.

To create the ordinance Plano staff looked at cities around the country and locally for ideas, said Peter Braster, Plano director of special projects.

“We looked for [cities]that had [ordinances]already, and then we made it fit to the Plano way,” Braster said. “We had a bunch of cities asking us what we were doing, so we sent it out to them and got input from a bunch of cities locally.”

Since implementing the ordinance Plano had one bicycle dockless mobility program operating in the city as of late December. Braster said dockless mobility operators were in the process of obtaining permits for their scooters.

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Lindsey Juarez Monsivais
Lindsey has been involved in newspapers in some form since high school. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2014 with a degree in Journalism. While attending UTA, she worked for The Shorthorn, the university's award-winning student newspaper. She was hired as Community Impact Newspaper's first Frisco reporter in 2014. Less than a year later, she took over as the editor of the Frisco edition. Since then, she has covered a variety of topics and issues important to the community, including the city's affordable housing shortage, the state's controversial A-F school accountability system and the city's "Bury the Lines" efforts.
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