By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 03, 2021 at 9:00 AM

A city resolution presses the pause button on new scooter trips in Downtown Milwaukee, the city announced Tuesday.

Due to an “excess of trips on (the) sidewalk,” the statement reads, “Beginning Tuesday, August 3, 2021, scooter companies (operators) participating in the 2021 City of Milwaukee (2021) Pilot Study will be prohibited from deploying or allowing new trip starts in Zone 1, which encompasses the downtown, near west side, near south side and lower east side (see map).”


That means a ride can originate outside Zone 1 but terminate in Zone 1. However, the scooter then becomes inoperable so that a new trip cannot originate inside Zone 1.

Scooter riders must obey the rules of the road and are banned from riding on city sidewalks.

Riding on the sidewalk was named as the most common concern in the 2019 Scooter Pilot program and the city’s Department of Public Works hired a consultant to monitor sidewalk scooter traffic, according to the city.

“The consultant monitored 15 intersections with high ridership for 15 total hours in Zone 1 throughout a two-week period in late June to early July,” today’s statement noted. “The results showed that approximately 30 percent of all trips through these intersections occurred on the sidewalk.”

That's three times the amount of scooter rides on the sidewalk  to trigger the pause, based on the pilot program rules.

The scooter companies (Bird, Lime and Spin) must use in-app messaging to remind riders that riding on the sidewalk is prohibited and also must hold monthly safety events in the areas of high sidewalk scooter traffic.

“All three operators have also committed to installing sidewalk riding technology on their scooters and have demonstrated or will demonstrate this technology to city staff. With additional education and outreach combined with this ever evolving technology, DPW is hopeful for reductions in sidewalk riding.”

Here is the text of the resolution:

“Further Resolved, That, given public safety concerns related to the operation on scooters on public sidewalks, pilot study participants shall be prohibited from deploying and allowing new trip starts of scooters in Zone 1 if it is determined that more than 10% of their scooter operations in Zone 1 are occurring on public sidewalks as set forth in the Intersection Count Scope of Services.”

The 2021 pilot program began on May 15 and runs through Nov. 15.

The scooters have been popular, according to DPW, which reports more than 298,000 rides with 27 percent of trips originating in Zone 1.

“DPW continues to fully support greater micromobility and multimodal transportation options,” said Commissioner of Public Works Jeff Polenske, in Tuesday’s announcement. “DPW will continue to work with stakeholders, operators, elected officials and the public in hopes of safely resuming new trips and scooter deployment in Zone 1.”


Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.