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City council to review e-scooter contract for mid-April launch


Reno City Council members on Wednesday are scheduled to vote on approving the contract to launch e-scooter service in the city. Officials from the Bird e-scooter company have been working out the details of a contract with community members, business leaders and city staff since January. 

Council members in December gave initial approval for Bird to work out a contract with the city after lengthy discussion rehashing the disaster the city encountered with Lime bikes and scooters. 

Bird met with the city’s Access Advisory Committee, chamber of commerce, local business leaders and associations, and property management companies to gather feedback on program launch, scooter parking and fleet offerings. 

Should the contract be approved, Bird plans to deploy the scooters in phases, starting with 40% of its fleet and 20 parking locations in late April. By mid-June the full fleet – about 1,000 scooters – and 100 parking spots would be available throughout the community including neighborhoods near the university and in downtown, Midtown and south Reno. 

Company officials said their operational plan is intended to be a working document that can be updated as needed to address concerns from the community. 

The city would receive an estimated $80,000 each year in annual franchise fees through the Bird agreement. 

Other agenda items

City staff is recommending to council members the approval of a $1.2 million settlement to the surviving four children of Charlene McMaster, a 63-year-old woman who was hit and killed by a Reno Fire Department ladder truck in October 2019. 

McMaster is believed to have been homeless and was thought to have been crossing the street in front of the downtown Reno fire station at East Fourth Street and Valley Road. Her family filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the city. 

The settlement would be paid out of the city’s Risk Management Fund and from the city’s liability insurer. 

Council members will also hear an appeal of the master site plan review for a planned Reno Iron Works manufacturing building approved by the planning commission in March. 

Jill Dobbs, executive director of the SPCA of Northern Nevada, filed an appeal March 14 alleging that proper notice of the planning commission meeting wasn’t provided to the SPCA. 

She also says the plan for the site will result in a 50-62-foot-tall wall between the Reno Iron Works property and the SPCA’s and the operation of the business at the site will be disruptive and traumatic for the animals at the shelter.

Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth
Kristen Hackbarth is a freelance editor and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience working in marketing, public relations and communications in northern Nevada. Kristen graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in photography and minor in journalism and has a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. She also serves as director of communications for Nevada Cancer Coalition, a statewide nonprofit. Though she now lives in Atlanta, she is a Nevadan for life and uses her three-hour time advantage to get a jump on the morning’s news.