Author Topic: Pilot e-scooter program in downtown Jacksonville hits some bumps in the road  (Read 4237 times)

Ken_FSU

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Downtown is really sad looking. I would guess if you've been here or lived in Jax for a long time, you just don't notice it or see it.

This is a really interesting point that I think there’s a lot of truth to. I notice it a lot when walking to lunch with clients coming in from out of town, for example. To many of us, Laura Street is arguably downtown’s crown jewel. Kind of front and center when we talk about downtown redevelopment and momentum.

To passive observers, however, it looks like it was bombed back in World War II and nobody ever got around to repairing the damage. Shelled out buildings. Entire chunks of other buildings missing. Razor wire and chain-link fencing.

I hope that certain City Council members complaining about the cost of the Trio project have the opportunity to walk Laura Street with some fresh sets of eyes as well.

Re: the scooters.

After some of the discussion here recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of conversations around downtown about the scooters here in the last week. In many cases, what I’ve heard has been sadly revealing about prejudices you’d hope that we’d be much closer to moving away from. I’ve overheard a lot of comments that could easily start with, “I’m not racist, but...”

I think how the city and police ultimately respond to an influx of minorities riding scooters downtown (in the absence of any criminal activity, mind you) is going to be really telling about where we’re at.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2021, 07:52:55 PM by Ken_FSU »

thelakelander

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^I believe those prejudices have a lot to do with why the Landing is gone as well. Some of us need to have a newsflash and get more familiar with Jax's actual demographics today and the trends of where things are headed. It's becoming a more racially and culturally diverse city, where minorities will soon become the majority....(this may have already happened). So if people are envisioning downtown's future as a homogeneous space like St. Johns County or the Beaches, they may as well move to those places because that's not where things are headed.

I also believe there's truth to heights unknown's impressions. My brother, who lives in South Florida, has started visiting town for work occasionally. His first trip, he stayed in the Omni downtown. He thought the entire area felt like a dying Rust Belt community and wondered what was limiting downtown because it had some great old buildings that they don't have down south. Later that week, he discovered town center and mentioned, that the entire city had moved there, and that's where he'll be staying when he's in town for work from now on. He was here again last week and mentioned that the core of the city was pretty depressing. However, he was really impressed with a variety of areas like Heckscher Drive, Riverside and even the natural landscape of Mandarin.

I also travel a lot and its pretty evident that the only "crown jewel" about Laura Street is a streetscape that was done a decade ago. Other than that, it's a pretty quiet corridor in comparison to even the main streets of little towns like Mount Dora and Winter Garden. You get real depressed when you witness the vibrancy of central business districts at street level in the larger cities. We have our work cut out for us. I'm hoping VyStar and the Trio can help change that, but to be honest, we're still a few years away at best. Call me a realist, but I do think that it does us best to be honest about our ailments, in order to properly address and overcome them.
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jaxlongtimer

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^Jacksonville's Downtown doesn't compare to many small towns in America.  Whether Fernandina or St. Augustine close to home, Lake City or  Winter Park a bit further away, St. Mary's or St. Simons in Ga., Beaufort or Anderson, S.C.... you get the idea.  All have more going for them than here.  Of course, almost every mid to large sized city has us beat by a country mile.

It's been said here before... it's not rocket science.  It's good and consistent zoning that supports retail street facings, appropriate green space, preservation of buildings with character (usually historic), integration of the arts and culture, clustering, user-friendly and reliable mass and circulating transit (not to be confused with the Skyway or AV's), good connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods (repeat prior parenthetical), support for walk-ability and bikes, achieving good building design and scale... and all we care about are Shad Khan and the Jaguars being happy, putting $400 million or so into JTA pipe dreams and tearing down buildings with little forethought.

So frustrating... going on since the end of WW II making it almost 80 years of failure.

heights unknown

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"To passive observers, however, it looks like it was bombed back in World War II and nobody ever got around to repairing the damage. Shelled out buildings. Entire chunks of other buildings missing. Razor wire and chain-link fencing."

LOLOLOLOL...I'm sorry, but my side is hurting from reading this over and over; it is too funny, but alas, so true!
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simms3

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Re: the scooters.

After some of the discussion here recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of conversations around downtown about the scooters here in the last week. In many cases, what I’ve heard has been sadly revealing about prejudices you’d hope that we’d be much closer to moving away from. I’ve overheard a lot of comments that could easily start with, “I’m not racist, but...”

I think how the city and police ultimately respond to an influx of minorities riding scooters downtown (in the absence of any criminal activity, mind you) is going to be really telling about where we’re at.


You can both be ok with diversity and have a bit of skepticism about the late night scooter crowd at the same time.  Heck, if I were a single black lady walking the streets of downtown Jax at night, I'd be just as cautious and perhaps a bit nervous as anyone else (probably moreso to be honest), because we all know crime stats, we all have spidey senses, and we all know it's probably a lack of parenting and a few other things that lead to throngs of young black men, plenty of them obviously older teens, to be riding around on the scooters late at night on any given weeknight.  Some of them are still at the age that they need supervision and a bedtime, like anyone else of that age.

And if they are 22+, do they not work in the morning?  Do they not have night jobs?  Any jobs at all?  Who knows, but we can all wonder.

It's one thing to appreciate a diverse population.  But literally 100% (as it would appear) 16-24 year old black men riding scooters at 10 PM or later is not "diverse".  That's about as narrow a demographic as one can get down to, and it's the demographic that commits a ridiculously disproportionate amount of crime, and here they all are unsupervised roaming around downtown on scooters, clearly brazen enough to taunt police officers and break traffic laws.  How much longer until a tragedy happens and then will that publicity be GOOD for downtown?  GOOD for overall race relations?

We can avoid these questions all we want but we cannot avoid realities or realities of perceptions grounded in unfortunate crime stats and I have no problem speaking up about it in 2021 because it does NOBODY any good to avoid these truths.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 09:18:46 AM by simms3 »
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thelakelander

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^Has crime gone up since the scooter program started?
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simms3

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^Has crime gone up since the scooter program started?

I have not looked at more serious level crime stats, but I think it goes without saying we know of at least one crime so far since it was written about in the papers - the guy who taunted the police, then ran from the cop and resisted arrest.  To me, that's pretty brazen - something I would not consider doing, nor would the people I know in my life consider doing.  To me, that indicates a willingness to do pretty much anything and who knows what influences that individual has in his life to consider doing that - and yes, I stereotype the YOUTHS who populate the scooters downtown AT NIGHT as the kind of people with few good influences in their life, and I don't want to put myself in a situation with them that I don't want to.  I prefer my bubble!

But when I observe the behavior of the scooter riders at night, which by the way is breaking traffic laws (though something I'm a lot less concerned about and something I have done myself), overall it becomes clear that there is a bit of a mob mentality that comes with the territory here.  They "own" the streets at night, are young, immature, and bold (as most young men are).  It's not a good combination.

Put it this way...I would be cautious around ANY bands of 16-22 year old male youths roaming around wrecklessly on scooters late at night on any given weeknight, but even more cautious around black young men than say Asian young men - stats don't lie and WE ALL KNOW THEM.  Where are some of their mommas?  Now with the THIRTEEN year old who was recently shot in Chicago, who was riding around with a 21 year old shooting at cars at 2:30 AM, NO THANK YOU.  This is the same general type of crowd.  NO THANK YOU.

If one of the purposes of the scooters, is as we say, to provide an alternative transportation (for instance, to get from one end of downtown to the other for lunch in a timely manner, thereby extending the area of lunch/errand opportunities to downtown workers and tourists), what is the purpose of the scooters at 10 PM on a Tuesday night?

We simply do not have much foot traffic at night (or day), but I don't consider 19 year old men riding around aimlessly in groups at night to be "foot traffic", and I have had enough of my own incidents in my own life where I wouldn't be personally interested in being one of the only people walking around in that area at night (say from one bar to my car a couple blocks away) with this demographic roving around and hardly any police presence.  It's an invitation to an incident.

Thus, at the end of the day, what we view as a great program on this site (ignoring the large stream of complaints by the general public which we automatically label as racist and without merit) is seemingly being viewed by the public as an actual "deterrent" to coming downtown.  I'd rather see a DIVERSE mix of 25-50 year olds walking around downtown going to BUSINESSES, not 16-22 year olds with no interest going to bars/restaurants roaming around wrecklessly on scooters.  But sure, get what you want and don't be surprised by what you see as a result.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 11:26:55 AM by simms3 »
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Zac T

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^Has crime gone up since the scooter program started?

I have not looked at more serious level crime stats, but I think it goes without saying we know of at least one crime so far since it was written about in the papers - the guy who taunted the police, then ran from the cop and resisted arrest.  To me, that's pretty brazen - something I would not consider doing, nor would the people I know in my life consider doing.  To me, that indicates a willingness to do pretty much anything and who knows what influences that individual has in his life to consider doing that - and yes, I stereotype the YOUTHS who populate the scooters downtown AT NIGHT as the kind of people with few good influences in their life, and I don't want to put myself in a situation with them that I don't want to.  I prefer my bubble!

But when I observe the behavior of the scooter riders at night, which by the way is breaking traffic laws (though something I'm a lot less concerned about and something I have done myself), overall it becomes clear that there is a bit of a mob mentality that comes with the territory here.  They "own" the streets at night, are young, immature, and bold (as most young men are).  It's not a good combination.

Put it this way...I would be cautious around ANY bands of 16-22 year old male youths roaming around wrecklessly on scooters late at night on any given weeknight, but even more cautious around black young men than say Asian young men - stats don't lie and WE ALL KNOW THEM.  Where are some of their mommas?  Now with the THIRTEEN year old who was recently shot in Chicago, who was riding around with a 21 year old shooting at cars at 2:30 AM, NO THANK YOU.  This is the same general type of crowd.  NO THANK YOU.

If one of the purposes of the scooters, is as we say, to provide an alternative transportation (for instance, to get from one end of downtown to the other for lunch in a timely manner, thereby extending the area of lunch/errand opportunities to downtown workers and tourists), what is the purpose of the scooters at 10 PM on a Tuesday night?

We simply do not have much foot traffic at night (or day), but I don't consider 19 year old men riding around aimlessly in groups at night to be "foot traffic", and I have had enough of my own incidents in my own life where I wouldn't be personally interested in being one of the only people walking around in that area at night (say from one bar to my car a couple blocks away) with this demographic roving around and hardly any police presence.  It's an invitation to an incident.

Thus, at the end of the day, what we view as a great program on this site (ignoring the large stream of complaints by the general public which we automatically label as racist and without merit) is seemingly being viewed by the public as an actual "deterrent" to coming downtown.  I'd rather see a DIVERSE mix of 25-50 year olds walking around downtown going to BUSINESSES, not 16-22 year olds with no interest going to bars/restaurants roaming around wrecklessly on scooters.  But sure, get what you want and don't be surprised by what you see as a result.

Just say you're scared of black men and move on lol I've walked the streets of downtown at night with these young people riding scooters and haven't had a single issue. Yeah they're loud and reckless like any group of teenagers are but at the end of the day they're just kids trying to have fun. No different than the mobs of white boys that "terrorize" the dirt roads around my parents house in Clay County on their 4-wheelers and dirt bikes. And maybe your tunnel vision has you so focused on the 16-24 year old black men demographic but the nighttime scooter riders are a pretty diverse crowd from all ages and walks of life but I guess the black men just stand out to you due to your internal feelings towards them

fieldafm

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^Has crime gone up since the scooter program started?

I have not looked at more serious level crime stats, but I think it goes without saying we know of at least one crime so far since it was written about in the papers - the guy who taunted the police, then ran from the cop and resisted arrest.  To me, that's pretty brazen - something I would not consider doing, nor would the people I know in my life consider doing.  To me, that indicates a willingness to do pretty much anything and who knows what influences that individual has in his life to consider doing that - and yes, I stereotype the YOUTHS who populate the scooters downtown AT NIGHT as the kind of people with few good influences in their life, and I don't want to put myself in a situation with them that I don't want to.  I prefer my bubble!

But when I observe the behavior of the scooter riders at night, which by the way is breaking traffic laws (though something I'm a lot less concerned about and something I have done myself), overall it becomes clear that there is a bit of a mob mentality that comes with the territory here.  They "own" the streets at night, are young, immature, and bold (as most young men are).  It's not a good combination.

Put it this way...I would be cautious around ANY bands of 16-22 year old male youths roaming around wrecklessly on scooters late at night on any given weeknight, but even more cautious around black young men than say Asian young men - stats don't lie and WE ALL KNOW THEM.  Where are some of their mommas?  Now with the THIRTEEN year old who was recently shot in Chicago, who was riding around with a 21 year old shooting at cars at 2:30 AM, NO THANK YOU.  This is the same general type of crowd.  NO THANK YOU.

If one of the purposes of the scooters, is as we say, to provide an alternative transportation (for instance, to get from one end of downtown to the other for lunch in a timely manner, thereby extending the area of lunch/errand opportunities to downtown workers and tourists), what is the purpose of the scooters at 10 PM on a Tuesday night?

We simply do not have much foot traffic at night (or day), but I don't consider 19 year old men riding around aimlessly in groups at night to be "foot traffic", and I have had enough of my own incidents in my own life where I wouldn't be personally interested in being one of the only people walking around in that area at night (say from one bar to my car a couple blocks away) with this demographic roving around and hardly any police presence.  It's an invitation to an incident.

Thus, at the end of the day, what we view as a great program on this site (ignoring the large stream of complaints by the general public which we automatically label as racist and without merit) is seemingly being viewed by the public as an actual "deterrent" to coming downtown.  I'd rather see a DIVERSE mix of 25-50 year olds walking around downtown going to BUSINESSES, not 16-22 year olds with no interest going to bars/restaurants roaming around wrecklessly on scooters.  But sure, get what you want and don't be surprised by what you see as a result.

So you see this is a policy issue, kind of like this?

« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 11:52:59 AM by fieldafm »

simms3

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^Has crime gone up since the scooter program started?

I have not looked at more serious level crime stats, but I think it goes without saying we know of at least one crime so far since it was written about in the papers - the guy who taunted the police, then ran from the cop and resisted arrest.  To me, that's pretty brazen - something I would not consider doing, nor would the people I know in my life consider doing.  To me, that indicates a willingness to do pretty much anything and who knows what influences that individual has in his life to consider doing that - and yes, I stereotype the YOUTHS who populate the scooters downtown AT NIGHT as the kind of people with few good influences in their life, and I don't want to put myself in a situation with them that I don't want to.  I prefer my bubble!

But when I observe the behavior of the scooter riders at night, which by the way is breaking traffic laws (though something I'm a lot less concerned about and something I have done myself), overall it becomes clear that there is a bit of a mob mentality that comes with the territory here.  They "own" the streets at night, are young, immature, and bold (as most young men are).  It's not a good combination.

Put it this way...I would be cautious around ANY bands of 16-22 year old male youths roaming around wrecklessly on scooters late at night on any given weeknight, but even more cautious around black young men than say Asian young men - stats don't lie and WE ALL KNOW THEM.  Where are some of their mommas?  Now with the THIRTEEN year old who was recently shot in Chicago, who was riding around with a 21 year old shooting at cars at 2:30 AM, NO THANK YOU.  This is the same general type of crowd.  NO THANK YOU.

If one of the purposes of the scooters, is as we say, to provide an alternative transportation (for instance, to get from one end of downtown to the other for lunch in a timely manner, thereby extending the area of lunch/errand opportunities to downtown workers and tourists), what is the purpose of the scooters at 10 PM on a Tuesday night?

We simply do not have much foot traffic at night (or day), but I don't consider 19 year old men riding around aimlessly in groups at night to be "foot traffic", and I have had enough of my own incidents in my own life where I wouldn't be personally interested in being one of the only people walking around in that area at night (say from one bar to my car a couple blocks away) with this demographic roving around and hardly any police presence.  It's an invitation to an incident.

Thus, at the end of the day, what we view as a great program on this site (ignoring the large stream of complaints by the general public which we automatically label as racist and without merit) is seemingly being viewed by the public as an actual "deterrent" to coming downtown.  I'd rather see a DIVERSE mix of 25-50 year olds walking around downtown going to BUSINESSES, not 16-22 year olds with no interest going to bars/restaurants roaming around wrecklessly on scooters.  But sure, get what you want and don't be surprised by what you see as a result.

Just say you're scared of black men and move on lol I've walked the streets of downtown at night with these young people riding scooters and haven't had a single issue. Yeah they're loud and reckless like any group of teenagers are but at the end of the day they're just kids trying to have fun. No different than the mobs of white boys that "terrorize" the dirt roads around my parents house in Clay County on their 4-wheelers and dirt bikes. And maybe your tunnel vision has you so focused on the 16-24 year old black men demographic but the nighttime scooter riders are a pretty diverse crowd from all ages and walks of life but I guess the black men just stand out to you due to your internal feelings towards them

If there are mobs of 16 year old white boys "terrorizing" rural areas, then yes, same thing.  I would flat avoid those areas if I could.  I heard about the dirt bike mob recently and saw on the news how a group of them literally kicked in the bumbers of a car with an older couple in it, and they were literally terrorized.  Same thing.

Groups of unsupervised young men...not good.

Downtown they happen to be black, and yes, the crime stats are stacked against them and many wise people will simply avoid downtown at night as a result if they come and see (or even just hear about) what's going on.  Simple as that.  Most will say nothing; they'll just find another excuse to avoid downtown.

Doesn't make them racist, it actually makes them wise.  Nobody has yet answered my question about the purposes of the scooters at 10 or 11 at night (or later).  If they can geofence these things they can have them turn off automatically at a certain hour at night and that would solve a lot of perception problems, and perhaps future crime problems.

But I appreciate everyone's straw man.  You guys can feel free to virtue signal and say a bunch of woke things now that I've presented the opportunity.  When ONE unfortunate incident happens where someone gets hurt, whether hit by a car, or via an actual assault/crime, and it is well-publicized, you can just blame me I guess for expressing my own thoughts and views, or you can blame the shitty program that is the scooter program.

By the way, in wonderful woke urban utopia of San Francisco where these were first introduced years ago while I happened to be living there, they were not appreciated AT ALL by the general public (or the city, since at the time it was Chinese and other SV startups that literally just dumped the scooters on the streets without any permits or notice to the city).  To this day many people find them obnoxious as hell as they clog up already crowded sidewalks, litter the streets (and end up in the water, frequently, as trash), and present just more hazards to cars/buses.  NOBODY likes them except for the homeless weirdos and the inner city youths who happen to seem to have no adult supervision.
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BridgeTroll

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Just spent the weekend in downtown Orlando... scooters are supposed to be used on the street. Most were being used on the sidewalks. My wife was hit once and we were frequently forced off the sidewalks by gangs of scooters on the sidewalks. I cannot prove but I suspect most scooters were used by juveniles... the speed of the scooters is fine for street use.... The speed of the scooters on the sidewalks is excessive...
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thelakelander

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^Yes, they should be used on the street. I'm not sure of Orlando's enforcement but they are popular there as well.
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thelakelander

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Doesn't make them racist, it actually makes them wise.  Nobody has yet answered my question about the purposes of the scooters at 10 or 11 at night (or later).  If they can geofence these things they can have them turn off automatically at a certain hour at night and that would solve a lot of perception problems, and perhaps future crime problems.

I was once in that age range and stereotyped similarly. The kids don't bother me because I was one of them once. I'd probably feel more culturally out of place at the river jam concerts that last two weeks. From what I can tell, at least from my experience, is that the scooters seem to be a cheap form of entertainment in a downtown and urban core that is pretty void of things to do. This is the case in some other cities I've witnessed them in as well. Since the urban core is majority minority, it won't look like the parking lot of SJTC, a suburban Walmart on a week night. Until there is a proven link between crime, this certain demographic and time of crime, I'd be wary of creating legislation based off perception.  That path tends to do more harm than good. Especially for minorities.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2021, 01:33:20 PM by thelakelander »
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jaxlongtimer

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^It seems the solution is to keep the scooters in dedicated "bike" lanes.  Have any of these been added Downtown yet?  Seems that would be even more appropriate than having them added to suburban thoroughfares where density is less and speeds are higher.  If they are converting some streets to two-way at some point, are bike lanes going to be incorporated in those changes?

Bike-like scooters and bikes should not travel with pedestrians or vehicles... just common sense.  Dedicated lanes would also make enforcement easier as there would be clear boundaries for their operation.

Maybe there should also be limits on hours of operation, not just geographic ones.  Are they nosier than cars?  What do Downtown residents think of them as their opinions should count more like any resident watching out for their neighborhood?  Are there any legitimate reasons they should be used after, say, midnight or before, say, 6 AM?

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Bike lanes, transit lanes for U2C, buses, etc. would be great. Better balancing our streets are a definite need. However, it will be years before that happens at the snail's pace that public projects move locally. I don't see a need to limit hours though. Downtown isn't a gated residential subdivision. There's nothing that has taken place to suggest limiting the hours and use of mobility options or businesses like restaurants and bars.
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