A proposal to implement a pilot program that would allow scooters in the Franklin city limits of Cool Springs got little to no traction after it was presented to aldermen during Tuesday’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen work session.
“I think we’re probably spinning our wheels on this,” At-large Alderman Clyde Barnhill said as a way to summarize the mostly negative reactions to the idea.
His thoughts were similar to most of the other aldermen after they had seen a presentation on the idea for e-scooters in Franklin that was brought forth by the city’s sustainability commission. E-scooters were presented as a potential alternative that could reduce automobile trips and/or be a complement to transit services. The city researched other examples of cities involvement with e-scooter vendors, including Nashville, Knoxville, Brentwood, Memphis and Asheville, North Carolina.
Scooters would not be allowed in the downtown Franklin area.
“Of course, we all hear that one of the most common concerns is around transportation and mobility, so this is something to look at and consider,” City Administrator Eric Stuckey said to aldermen as he introduced the presentation. … “But before we spend more time and effort looking at it, we wanted to get your feedback and guidance on where we should go and if we should continue.”
The negative responses came like falling dominoes as one alderman after another voiced opposition to the idea, beginning with Dana McLendon from the 2nd Ward.
“I can’t support this,” he said. … “In my neighborhood (Fieldstone Farms), it was 100% against. Maybe some of those people are misinformed, maybe not, but this strikes me as a cure worse than a condition.”
Others were hearing the same responses from their constituents.
“I have received probably more emails about this than anything I’ve ever received,” Margaret Martin, 4thWard, said, “and every single one of them have been opposed.”
Of course, commercial scooters have been a hot-button issue since controversy over their usage in Nashville began coming to light several months ago. One person died from a scooter accident in Nashville last summer, and there have been several injuries reported.
Beverly Burger, a member of the sustainability commission whose 1stWard includes Cool Springs, was vocal in her support for a pilot program allowing the use of e-scooters.
“When we have a public outcry, it’s because they’re thinking of Nashville, they’re thinking of the negative, they’re thinking of the worst thing,” Burger said at the close of the discussion. “We just need to be a little more positive and think of what are the possibilities here. We complain about traffic all the time and people tell us we need to do more about traffic, and yet we are against looking at something that could be tested and throwing it out the window. “
“If we don’t do this, that’s fine. We brought it to you and talked about it. But I would expect all eight of us on this board to go to work and find other alternatives because I represent a ward that is bogged down in traffic every single day, and I’m just tired of it. I’ve been trying to help them figure this out.”