When controversy happens… when tempers flare… we read the comments, so you don’t have to.
Perhaps you have heard about the scooters? They are everywhere! Which means free marketing for scooter companies in the form of articles in all media!
We decided to read the comments on multiple articles and rate each article’s comments section on a scale of 1-5 stars, where 1 means “reading these made us feel dumber,” and 5 means “we have hope for our civilization and perhaps people will stop turning every comments section into a referendum on what suburbanites think of either downtown.”
Star Tribune: Rental scooters roll into the Twin Cities, and regulators try to keep up
o boy. 146 comments. People have opinions on the internet!
- glork98 is a fan, obviously: “I trust the junk men will recycle them. They’re just trash scattered on our sidewalks.”
- wedgegirl speaks for my heart when she (assumed) says “There’s been pretty extensive coverage on Bird and other scooter companies in the national press – NYT etc. Yet another bro tech company like Uber that asks for forgiveness not permission.” (Tech companies and the IOT are things I can rant about all day.)
- JanLizLar: “More nuisance for downtown residents and workers. Bad enough to navigate through pedestrians and bikers who pay no attention and now you want to throw scooters in the mix. PLEASE IS THIS REALLY NECESSARY!”
- A treasure: “I’m much less concerned about people riding scooters around as I am people riding bikes on sidewalks. I walked out of the Lumber Exchange Building after work tonight and was within inches of getting nailed by an MPD officer riding a bike on the sidewalk Apparently he’s not aware that riding bikes on sidewalks is a ticketable offense in downtown Minneapolis.” Except that bike patrol is allowed pretty much anywhere. Ever seen a demonstration of police bikes on stairs, shooting? It is actually quite impressive even if you really don’t want cops shooting at the slightest provocation! (I did my LCI seminar with a police mountain bike shooting trainer. She was bad-ass.)
- o great it has descended into how cyclists ignore the rules of the road.
- please save me.
- como55 saves me: “I came to the comments just to read the ones mostly from people who will only travel by car, preferably one or two people only per car and preferably smoke filled, and who get agitated when other people don’t want to travel in the same fashion. They can tolerate walking, but only to get from the car to the final destination, and preferably down the center of the sidewalk. All other forms of transportation are useless and should be banned, and they call anyone who wants to travel via another method a “special class” as if anything else is some sort of disability by which they can judge others. The Get Off My Lawn crowd never disappoints.”
The comments prove my theory that any Star Tribune article that involves non-car transport will descend into statements about naughty bikers within 30 comments.
SCORE: 🛴1⭐, because some of the comments made me laugh and my soul has not yet been utterly crushed reading comments. We’ll see how this turns out, though.
Star Tribune: St. Paul tries to give scooters the boot
80 comments. The Star Tribune is really not working at cute headlines here. Kinda surprising.
- johnjsmith takes us straight into the abyss within the first five comments I read: “How about we go back to the way things should be?? Cars, trucks, buses are for city streets. I get the feel that some day cars will not have any lanes. Bikers who don’t follow the traffic laws,pedestrians who never bother to look up from their devices while crossing busy streets and feel very righteous about doing this. Now scooters – let me guess we will see an uptick in accidents the same as bicycle and pedestrians dying!! Why?? Because they don’t belong on the roads. It’s common sense!!”
- gandalf48 ties it straight to the fireworks in St. Paul, of course. “Look at that evil scooter in the picture, lurking and loitering around every corner in St. Paul…at least they took a stand against the evil of scooters. All other problems in St. Paul have been solved if you have time and energy to waste on scooter law; but don’t worry there was no money for 4th of July fireworks to celebrate America…the money was instead used to discuss and attempt to ban scooters.” I think he needs a t-shirt with Pig’s Eye with a Raccoon on His Head to wear for all occasions!
- mamma asks “Still puzzling over how these companies (scooters and bikes) get to include PUBLIC SIDEWALKS in their business plans?” Well, can we talk about on-street parking next?
SCORE: 0⭐, because the abyss is dark and deep and scary and we jumped right in and there might be sharks in it.
PiPress: Electric scooters you can use via app have arrived — and St. Paul isn’t pleased
123 comments. Is it too early to drink?
- We start with gripes about St. Paul having a Chief Resilience Officer but no fireworks. I’ll skip the details for you, because I care about you.
- That Guy: “I’m sure their winter rentals will be through the roof!”
- stormyweather1: “Let’s all take a moment to note the irony of so-called conservatives, who constantly bemoan excessive regulation and complain about all the amenities government provides, now complaining that government doesn’t regulate enough and will you please get these off these government-funded sidewalks?”
- Don Johnson notes “Looking at the map of where these currently are, the Summit Ave home owners may not be happy with these when left on their lawns.” Truth.
- We spy with our little eye several streets.mn writers commenting, raging against the comment machine. We applaud your efforts.
SCORE: 🛴1⭐, mostly because we saw streets.mn writers, but maybe also because I sent one of my kids upstairs to find me alcohol to numb the pain of going straight after the CRO in St. Paul, and the fireworks. I didn’t see mention of city-wide trash hauling, though, so that was a surprise.
PiPress: Despite being told to leave, electric scooter company Bird sails back into St. Paul for a second day
While I’d like to saaaail into some yacht rock here, we’re talking scooter share I guess. With another 51 comments.
- The comments descend into “illegal immigration!” quickly. Not even kidding. I wish I were.
- We got your war on cars: “Anyone wanna bet how long it takes before one of these rolling hazards and it’s rider gets schmucked by a vehicle when they’re out obstructing traffic on a City street.” Scooters are traffic too!
- Someone suggests killing cyclists, pedestrians and scooters: “Pedestrians and cyclist obstruct traffic just as frequently. No dire consequences in the twin cities for running over and/or killing someone walking/biking and now scooting. May as well, let cars thin the herd.”
SCORE: I thought we’d jumped into the abyss before, but it turns out the abyss is deeper, darker and filled with more sharks than I thought. I’m scared.
There’s been good discussion on the streets.mn Facebook around Bill Lindeke’s scooter hot take. Maybe go read those?
Or go ride a scooter. They look fun.
Newspaper commenters calling for homicide of cyclists and other people that might impede an automobile no matter how lawfully are the great grandfather of all the casually tolerated threats of violence on the internet, and nevertheless here in 2018 Twitter does a better job of managing such content.
That comments section was as toxic as they come, between rants about “illegal immigrants” and calls for homicide of cyclists and pedestrians. It was impressive how quickly it descended to the abyss, and how deep the abyss was.
Serious question though….what is the point of a CRO for St. Paul? I mean, Miami is going to be underwater, and San Diego won’t have any water; they need a CRO. But, even with completely out of control 6 C temperature increases (which is three times the Paris Agreement limit!), St. Pauls’ weather will basically be Kansas City.
Do you need a city-wide task force to prepare you to live in Kansas City?
This is how you tell a political stunt apart from a useful program.
Seems like as good a way to organize your staff as any other…
Maybe it’s really the Chief Resettlement Officer. Displaced Miami-ans, San Diegans, and Kansas Citians who all arrive looking for homes, bikes, and scooters.
Social inequality and chronic poverty are additional issues typically a part of a CRO position; it’s not just climate. And when you look at St. Paul – policing, housing, public schools – social inequality is a large issue.
Mayor Carter also created a Chief Equity Officer at the same time he created the Chief Resilience officer, so its not social inequality and chronic poverty.
The headline announcement (https://www.stpaul.gov/news/mayor-carter-announces-three-new-chief-officer-positions) says climate change. The other functions include green buildings and transit advocacy, but there is already a Safety, Planning and Development, and Public Works department.
Yeah, I think it’s an interesting way to set up a staffing hierarchy. What else would you suggest for such a situation?
If you can’t immediately correlate someone’s job title with what they actually do for the city (“CRO” vs “dogcatcher”) you start to question what, if any, value they add to the city.
And follow on with calling for vehicular homicide. So I’m not really giving that lot of commenters a lot of credit for intelligent thought or empathy.
I like the change. It offers a broader mandate than “environmental policy director” or similar. More flexibility in gov’t is good.
“Do you need a city-wide task force to prepare you to live in Kansas City?”
No, but you might need one when coastal cities and water insecure areas start hemorrhaging population to places that feel like Kansas City.
My concern: scooters are vehicles, so they should stay off sidewalks.