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Electric scooters are coming to Downtown Athens

"This is beneficial to the businesses and the individuals within the city of Athens because it’s another mode of transportation," said Johnson.

Posted: Jun 30, 2021 6:58 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2021 9:45 AM

Athens city council approved bringing in 25 Bird electric scooters to Downtown Athens. 

City planner, Lakeisha Johnson, said it will give residents another form of transportation and help grow local businesses. 

"This is beneficial to the businesses and the individuals within the city of Athens because it’s another mode of transportation," said Johnson. 

Dawne Douthit, the owner of Epiphany Boutique and Square Clock Coffee, said electric scooters could definitely help surrounding businesses, including her own. 

"Anything that brings in more business we just love," said Douthit. "It’s a great atmosphere down here and lots of foot traffic, so I’m sure the scooters will be awesome."

The electric scooter company says surrounding businesses can anticipate growth. 

56% of rides connected to local businesses. On average, over 6 months, an additional $921 was spent at local businesses, per scooter. 

The electric scooters are at no cost to the city. Johnson said it's an experimental process, to see how the city benefits. 

"Athens is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state and Limestone County is the fastest-growing county within the state," said Johnson. "This is an opportunity for us to be diverse, multi-dimensional, and to utilize new experiences we did not have before."

Although safety is one concern residents in the area have. 

Athens resident, Dakhea Eubanks, said, "It's the other people, it’s how they drive, I mean you got to pay attention yourself, but it’s the other people too."

Johnson said safety is a top priority when it comes to electric scooters. Signage around the square is one tool the city plans to use to alert drivers. 

"You won’t be able on any alternate streets, only local streets," said Johnson. "You won’t have to worry about 72, 31, we’re keeping it very localized in the downtown area district."

Eubanks said he does understand the appeal of bringing electric scooters to the square. 

"If it’s pretty packed, you just pull up, hop off your scooter and get what you need to get," said Eubanks. 

The city is in the beginning planning stages in partnership with Bird. Johnson said she expects electric scooters to be in Athens in the next couple of months. 

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