In 2020, the city of Palo Alto is looking to roll out an escooter pilot program, with Mountain View and Sunnyvale set to follow close behind.
Studies show that escooters can help reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. A 2019 study by the City of Santa Monica, where Bird has a 750-scooter fleet, found that 49% of scooter rides would have otherwise been made in a passenger vehicle, whether privately-owned or for hire.
The Palo Alto and Mountain View programs include rules about where the devices can be parked, and require the operators to have a hotline to report problems.
Over the next few years, the major new developments, including 1300 El Camino and the Stanford development on El Camino near Safeway will be opening up. Caltrain will start electrified service with more frequent trains. Scooters could potentially provide a convenient way for people to get to nearby destinations that are a little far to walk.
Menlo Park has an opportunity to watch the results closely in nearby cities, to assess if it would be helpful to follow in their footsteps.