The Next Fight over Scooters Is Just Beginning

by Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Scootson17th

With the next wave of scooters on the horizon, a new standard for community outreach emerges.

When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency broke the news Aug. 30 about which two scooter companies — out of more than a dozen who’d applied — had earned pilot program permits, the reaction was like a pro-sports draft. Articles popped up on the Examiner, the Chronicle, Wired, and TechCrunch. Reporters interviewed CEOs and dug into the intricacies of both Scoot and Skip. And scooter fans immediately took to Twitter, berating the city for its limited geographical roll-out“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”

“Since no applicant proposed sufficiently detailed or comprehensive community outreach plans, the SFMTA will outline the agency’s expectations for community engagement prior to issuance of the first permit,” it reads. “These expectations will detail potentially appropriate outreach strategies (e.g., use of community meetings, partnerships with local Community-Based Organizations, etc.), based on experience with bikeshare and other shared mobility programs in San Francisco, as well as peer city best practices. Moreover, the SFMTA will require Scoot and Skip to submit revised community-engagement plans reflecting these expectations.”

It’s a vague and wordy statement, but for community groups and nonprofits across the city, it marks a vital shift away from what they see as years of watered-down outreach. With this mention, the SFMTA acknowledged the materialization of a new set of guidelines that may dictate how emerging mobilities roll out…

Carlos Bocanegra, a nonprofit housing and immigration attorney for Mission Neighborhood Centers, says a citywide coalition of community stakeholders launched a few months ago in response to constituents’ concerns over the rise of new transit options and their impact on the city’s streets and sidewalks. Included in the conversation were Senior and Disability Action, South of Market Community Action Network, Dolores Street Community Services, Impact Hub, Excelsior Action Group, MEDA, Mission Housing, and United to Save the Mission…

“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”…(more)

 

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