Electric-powered scooters have arrived in Brooklyn Park and may soon spread to other north metro cities.

Bird on Thursday deployed about 50 of its two-wheelers after the Brooklyn Park City Council voted on June 28 to allow the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company to operate in the city. In May, Brooklyn Park adopted an ordinance allowing for micromobility transportation companies to operate, opening the door for Bird.

"We are excited that the Bird scooter program will create additional opportunities for mobility, connecting people to education, jobs, shopping and recreation," said City Manager Jay Stroebel.

Bird, which operates in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Golden Valley and St. Louis Park, is also hoping to gain approval in Coon Rapids and Fridley, where city leaders are discussing amending ordinances to allow scooters.

The only company scooter to apply for a license in Brooklyn Park, Bird is looking to grow its footprint by expanding into midsize cities and suburbs, and the city of 80,000 residents seemed to be a good fit, said Kate Shoemaker, one of Bird's territory managers.

"We are seeing strong appreciation for communities to have alternative, flexible [transportation] options," she told the City Council. As for Brooklyn Park, "we do have a number of users who have accounts that live there. We think there will be demand."

In Fridley, the City Council introduced an ordinance last week paving the way to bring scooters to the Anoka County suburb, where 30% of residents don't own a car, said Mayor Scott Lund. The council is scheduled to take up the proposal again on July 12.

"We want to make sure we get it right," Lund said.

City Council members in Coon Rapids discussed crafting an ordinance to allow bike- and scooter-sharing programs during a work session June 29. Existing city ordinances do not directly address micromobility operations in the public right of way.

Electric buses sidelined

Riders of Metro Transit's C-Line may have noticed the agency's fleet of electric buses has been sidelined and diesel-powered vehicles have been filling in.

The problem is that chargers powering the 60-foot articulated buses made by New Flyer are not working. Metro Transit is looking to replace them, both at the depot and along the route from downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Center, said General Manager Wes Kooistra at last week's Metropolitan Council Transportation Committee meeting.

Kooistra said he hopes the depot chargers will be replaced by August so some C Line electric buses can operate again.

The chargers, manufactured by Siemens, are covered by warranty, so there's no cost to the council, Kooistra said.

Meanwhile, Metro Transit received a $4.2 million Federal Transit Administration grant to buy eight 40-foot electric-powered buses from Proterra. The buses have a larger battery capacity than the New Flyer models. They can be charged at the garage and won't need additional charging while in service.

Riders can expect to see the Proterra ZX5 Max buses on core urban routes as Metro Transit looks to gain more experience operating electric buses, said spokeswoman Laura Baenen.

Metro Transit anticipates the new buses will be delivered and charging infrastructure installed in the new Minneapolis bus garage when it opens in 2023.

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