Electric scooters’ tempestuous relationship with Alexandria sidewalks has just come to an end.
At the City Council’s public hearing on Saturday, Dec. 14, the council voted to approve a second phase of the pilot program with a few notable changes from the current program.
The biggest change is the removal of scooters from sidewalks. Under the current system, scooters were only prohibited from two sidewalks near the waterfront, where bicycles are also banned from sidewalks. The original plan for the second phase of the pilot program was to have scooters banned from Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray and a large portion of Old Town, but concerns were raised by some on the City Council about enforcement and education of the public on where exactly scooters could or could not be ridden.
Instead, at the Saturday meeting, the City Council amended the language to ban electronic scooters from sidewalks across the city. The new ordinance reads: “Riding a micro-mobility device on all sidewalks within the city shall be prohibited.”
Other changes included requiring the scooter companies to distribute scooters more equitably across the city, one of the goals pushed for by several members of the City Council. Of scooters in the city, 15 percent will be required to be located west of Quaker Lane and east of I-395, while 10 percent will be required west of I-395. An additional five percent will be required to be placed in Arlandria. Currently, most are scattered around Old Town.
Council members Amy Jackson and John Chapman also pushed for the language to be refined to ensure that the Ad Hoc Scooter Task Force include representatives of the West End, rather than being monopolized by Old Town residents.
City Council members noted that scooter corrals recently added to Old Town — intended to reduce instances of scooters being scattered across sidewalks — could also be coming to Del Ray, Carlyle and Potomac.
The new regulation also specifically banned more than one person from riding a scooter, though Mayor Justin Wilson joked that after passing the regulation the companies would come back with tandem scooters.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott