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The good: a new breed of electric scooter is easy to obtain, via an app, and can be dropped anywhere. The bad: streets are littered with stray scooters and pedestrians are upset. Jefferson Graham reports from Santa Monica USA TODAY

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A group of Des Moines leaders considering bringing electric scooters to the metro wants to know what residents think of the idea. 

The coalition has launched a public survey, open until Jan. 19. It can be found online at www.dmampo.org/e-scooter-study

The group plans to share results and give a recommendation to the Des Moines City Council in 2020. If there's sufficient support, a pilot program could be launched as early as summer 2020, according to a news release. 

Private e-scooter sharing companies — active in cities and college campuses around the globe — have looked at launching the service in Des Moines

The scooters, powered by small electric motors, can be rented using a smartphone app. They are part of a growing "micro-mobility" industry, and like their bike-share counterpart, the scooters tend to be popular among downtown riders. 

Officials in the Des Moines metro need to craft rules for the devices before they hit the streets in central Iowa. 

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"The study group recognizes the potential benefits of e-scooters, including additional mobility options for residents and visitors, as well as to make the city more competitive in workforce attraction and economic development," a news release from the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization says. "At the same time, the study group recognizes the potential issues, notably the safety of people walking, biking, driving, or otherwise utilizing the public right of way."

The study group consists of community organizations, including the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Operation Downtown and the Street Collective of Greater Des Moines. 

Kim Norvell covers growth and development for the Register. Reach her at knorvell@dmreg.com or 515-284-8259.

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