Mid-pilot report shows MovePGH encourages car alternatives | Pittsburgh City Paper

Mid-pilot report shows MovePGH encourages car alternatives

A new report from the City of Pittsburgh found residents are making use of alternative transit modes one year into its MovePGH mobility initiative. Between July 2021 to July 2022, the city recorded more than half a million Spin e-scooter trips, 82,000 trips on POGOH bikes, 8,100 Zipcar trips, and 11,250 trips on Scoobi e-mopeds.

In particular, the report touts Move PGH’s e-scooter program, which it notes is the first authorized program of its kind in the state, writing that “e-scooters have become a vital part of our transportation network.”

“By replacing private vehicle trips, Spin e-scooter journeys have taken approximately 257,000 vehicle miles off the road and stopped nearly 260,000 pounds, or 130 tons, of CO2 from entering our atmosphere,” reads the release.

The report considers ridership trends among various forms of transit in the city, including Pittsburgh Regional Transit, POGOH bikeshare, Scoobi mopeds, Spin e-scooters, and Zipcar carshare, according to a city press release.

“The mid-pilot report is an important milestone on the path to greater mobility for the residents and visitors of Pittsburgh. Through robust data collection and analysis, we're excited to share the results of the MovePGH pilot program to date, and we know that the best is yet to come,” says Kim Lucas, Director of Mobility and Infrastructure.

MovePGH, a two-year pilot collaboration between multiple local mobility operators, aims “to create a more affordable, accessible, and equitable mobility ecosystem,” according to the report.

Although the city’s report calls the e-scooter program a success, not all Pittsburgh pedestrians agree. Recently, local activists, including former director of the Thomas Merton Center Gabriel McMorland, have used social media to draw attention to mobility barriers created by abandoned e-scooters.

Dockless e-scooters are billed as a car alternative that can be ridden and then left anywhere in the city when the rider was finished. Although the city report says that individuals are not allowed to park e-scooters on the sidewalk, accessibility advocates note e-scooter users often park their devices in a way that obstructs the sidewalk and makes it difficult or impossible for disabled people to pass.

The report says "improper parking" accounts for just under 30 percent of Spin's support requests. Maria Montaño, Gainey's press secretary, says the mayor's office encourages witnesses to report violations to Spin via phone or email, or to the city through the 311 system.

 "DOMI continually works with Spin to update policies and enforcement mechanisms for improper riding and parking of scooters," Montaño says.

According to the press release, this fall, Move PGH will implement more mobility hubs and scooter corrals.