All posts tagged DeGraw

Rental scooter companies want in Grandview, and Mayor Degraw is holding the line

Published August 7, 2019 by justicewg
Quad scooters

All rental scooters have written instructions that include “Must wear a helmet” and “no riding on the sidewalk”. These rules are universally ignored.

Since the first appearance of the rental electric scooters in 2018, three new companies have come to Columbus this year. None of them have signed negotiations to allow them to be “staged” inside Grandview Heights – they can’t start the day from drop locations here. There is nothing that can stop the scooters from being left on our sidewalks after the completion of a ride, and in the last couple months the scooter have shown up randomly in Grandview. I wondered – are the companies trying a stealth move to include our city in the operational area?

My personal opinion is that the scooters are toys that don’t fit into the transportation options well. I had a couple of incidents where I was forced to step aside off the sidewalk as groups whizzed by. Their response when I reminded them the scooters are not legal on the sidewalk (at both state and local level) was to ignore me.

I asked Mayor Degraw about the negotiations he made with the rental scooter companies, and the actions the city will take if the devices are sneaked into operation here. I was surprised that the Mayor had made the decision on his own, after receiving some complaints about the scooters, and no positive messages. There will be no rental scooters in Grandview.

I’ve been approached by 3 of 4 scooter companies, you mentioned, (I expect the fourth one to contact me) to sign agreements to allow them to stage and operate inside our community. I decided not to negotiate. Because when they originally started they just came in and place to scooters on sidewalks and reduced the area where a pedestrian can walk or blocked/impacted the handicap ramps. I think that having four of them now would even make the situation worse. In fact two of them even offered to pay to come in but giving us a share of the revenue.

I do not see enough benefit to the community that outweighs the impact on our sidewalks and safety to our residents.

The companies have learned not to stage scooters in our community, because if they do, we pick them up and lock them in the service garage. We do release them after a couple days. This has work quite well.

I’ve considered negotiating agreements for designating areas where they can be staged but have had no pressure from the community to allow them, contrary most of the feedback is to not allow them and most of that activity was last summer. You were actually the first inquiry I’ve had this summer concerning this issue. Most of the community appears to be happy or just accepts the current situation.

The ones you see around town are being driven in by residents or visitors to our city. There’s no magic blue line where Grandview starts and Columbus ends. We allow this. The riders drop them off in the companies pick them up within a couple of days. By not allowing staging we do limit the scooters in the community. There are also more and more personal scooters around town that are not part of any company.

We do allow scooters and bikes to ride on the multipurpose paths in the community. They are designed for that purpose and marked with Signage. This may be part of the confusion of some sidewalks being allowed to have scooters and bikes on them.

I will take the blame for the police department not aggressively enforcing the riding of bikes and scooters on the sidewalk. We all know that is going on, It is not a priority we have identified. They do watch for aggressive and unsafe operations as they do with driving a vehicle on the street. Technically an adult can’t ride on the sidewalk with their bicycle. Yet a father or mother riding with their kids slowly down a sidewalk is not going to draw the attention of the police. The scooter riding 15 mph in a crowd of pedestrians will. I know the police have stopped people and told him to get off the sidewalk. I know this because I’ve gotten phone calls.

I would encourage if you see something dangerous where someone could get hurt, by all means call the police.
Mayor Ray DeGraw

Dangerous devices that will be dumped on our cities

China and Grandview

Left, dumped rental bikes in China. Right, scooters in front of Grandview Yard Giant Eagle – soon to be in a dump pile?

A small history lesson on unregulated transport in China.

A few years ago, companies in China began to use the “dockless rental model” to place bikes on the streets of Chinese cities. Because investment is always cheap, soon many companies joined in the business. The sidewalks became littered with unused bikes, and as residents got tired of seeing all those bikes cluttering the sidewalks, they began to throw them into piles. The bike rental companies went bankrupt, and the cities were left with finding solutions to the piles of discarded bikes.

We don’t have piles of discarded rental scooters yet, but as the market shakes out, it could happen here. The added danger is that the scooter have lithium batteries that can catch on fire when mistreated.

Imagine piles of burning scooters.

The scooter downside list

This is the short list of reasons that dockless rental scooters are not a good transportation option.

Electric scooters are a short distance transport that makes little sense. They are nearly impossible to use if you are carrying something heavy, like food from the store. They are too slow for traffic on the street, and so people use them on the sidewalk, where they are a danger to walkers (and illegal). They get left on the sidewalks blocking the walkers, or on private lawns. They are too dangerous because nobody uses helmets. The small wheels get lodged in street defects, and throw riders, causing many injuries. They can catch on fire, which you will not like if someone dropped them off in the bushes in front of your house.

The upside – I guess they are fun, and cheap.

The rental bikes we have here (CoGo) solve all the problems the scooters can’t solve. And they seem to limit then to just what is needed. I hope we dump rental scooters (responsibly) and go back to bicycles.

(Edit – Other people don’t like rental scooters. )

Scooter pile

The candidates for Mayor talks about rental scooters.

Scooters are a huge problem for cities. No one knows how to solve it yet.

Mayor DeGraw on the Grandview flooding

Published June 25, 2015 by justicewg
Flooded Basement

Flooded Basement

DeGraw posted another Letter to the Community on the city website, in which he talked about the flooding that overwhelmed the system and flooded basements last Saturday.

He said that only 20 residents called the city to report flooding. I’m guessing that that is way smaller than the number of houses that flooded, it isn’t on my list of things to do while my basement is slowly filling with water. I wish he would have asked residents to call a number or visit a website to report the flooding, so the city would have a better list of properties where flooding is occurring.

The Mayor said the city ranked the event as a “once in twenty years” downpour. There is a limit to the volume a sanitary system can handle, and sizing it to cope with freak events would be a waste of money. Still, there seems to be choke points in the flow of water that can cause one home to have 6 inches of water come up the drain, while another house a block away has none. I don’t know the complexities of hydraulic design for this system, but it seems like a little over building at key points might save homeowners a lot of time cleaning flood damage.

The city will be doing bulk pickup of large items for free during the next two trash days.

Anonymous confused pamphleteer against Mayor – (G.W.)

Published March 20, 2013 by justicewg

phamplet_scanThis repost from 2008 reported on one of the most bizarre political acts ever in Grandview.

Some unknown person (or more likely a group, from the number distributed) went around in the middle of the night and stuck a very odd sheet of paper under the windshield wipers of cars. It was a political screed criticizing Mayor Ray DeGraw, done in a style that  made you visualize a tea-bagger type, convinced that there is a grand conspiracy to hide the truth about the president – and the mayor, for some reason. It started with complaints about the plowing of snow and the closing of the Grandview Theater. What was he supposed to do about that, offer them money? Which would have inspired even more hate from this group. The warning about NRI has some basis in reality, but explaining something as complex as TIFs is not going to fit on a single sheet of paper.

Nobody ever came forward to claim responsibility for papering the city. Unless you count the time the Mayor was asked who he thought printed and distributed the sheet, he replied “I think my wife might have done it” 🙂 Ray was elected to the office of Mayor for the third time in 2011 with no mention of this pamphlet.

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Mayor to hold town meeting Thursday, May 17, 7 PM

Published May 14, 2012 by justicewg

The bad news on the city’s economic future has been simmering for a while.  Come and listen to Mayor Ray DeGraw give the full story this Thursday in the Grandview Center, 1515 Goodale Blvd. State budget reductions have been kicking us in the posterior for a while, and new cuts are on the way.

As with all service organizations, payrolls for employees are the majority of the cost of running a city. Cuts can be made, at the cost of decreased service. Would Grandview residents be happy with calling the cops with a non-emergency matter and be told “we will get back to you when we find time?”

Would Grandview be better to dissolve the fire and police departments, and contract with U.A. to provide those services? This is seriously under consideration by one council member (for the fire department, but the police could be cut also).

And of course paying for trash pickup (a fee for each can) is done by other cities, but has been rejected by Grandview residents in the past. Is it time to pay for the trash?