Cities tell scooter riders to ‘park it’
Cities across the country are encouraging residents to ride scooters as a way to reduce emissions, traffic congestion and gas consumption. But, if people are riding scooters, they have to have places to park them. So, cities are getting creative in addressing parking issues, especially in urban areas where spaces are sometimes limited.
Cincinnati and Decatur, Ga., have dedicated parking spots for scooters in high-density areas or around colleges and universities. Decatur, for instance, created free parking spots for scooters in three different areas of the city by dividing existing car spaces. Last fall, Cincinnati launched a pilot program in its downtown area for two-wheeled vehicle parking. The city designated five parking locations that could each fit two to four vehicles. Residents can download a map of the locations on the city's website and also can make suggestions on places they would like to see dedicated parking outside out of the downtown area.
When scooter riders have to pay for parking, a number of issues can arise. Seattle had to clarify that if multiple scooters are parked in one spot regulated by a "pay-and-display" parking station, every rider has to obtain their own ticket, which must be left in view on the vehicle. But, if more than one scooter is parked in a traditional metered spot, only one rider has to pay, even if the riders are not together. They don't have to be together.
Cities that have "pay-and-display" systems might have problems with tickets being stolen off scooters. That concern led Austin to allow scooter riders to park for free, but riders still must abide by time limits when applicable. "We analyzed providing special permits for scooters, but decided it's easier to let them park for free," says Robert Spillar, Austin transportation director.
Portland, Ore.'s pay-and-display tickets include stubs that scooter riders can keep as proof if the tickets on their scooters are stolen.
Jennifer Grzeskowiak is a Laguna Beach, Calif.-based freelance writer.