The city is working to limit the number of e-scooters and curb where they can be parked. It would be the first time shared rides would be regulated after being allowed to operate with little oversight for over a year.
(TNS) — The city is proposing new rules to limit the number of e-scooters in Virginia Beach, Va., and curb where they can be parked. It would be the first time that the shared rides would be regulated after being allowed to operate with little oversight for over a year.
Brian Solis, assistant to the city manager, will present a proposal to council members on Tuesday that would cap the number of scooters at 1,000. Technology that automatically slows them down in prohibited areas is being considered for new spots, including along Shore Drive.
Other changes would:
Require up to four scooter rental companies to hold a license or permit to operate in the city.
Compel companies to pay a one-time $10,000 fee to operate in the resort area and $5,000 for other parts of the city in addition to paying $100 a year, per scooter. The money will be used to reimburse police and public works for managing scooters on public property. A daily 50-cent fee per scooter will also be charged. That money will be used to improve bike paths and trails.
Request companies to carry insurance.
Limit one rider per scooter.
Other changes to the city code would force scooters to slow down on Atlantic Avenue to 10 mph from 15 mph, and companies would be asked to provide safety plans for their use.
The franchise agreement would prohibit parking in grassy public rights-of-way and the edge of the curb. A proposed rendering of a parking area for e-scooters in the resort area shows a 12-foot-long by 4-foot-wide rectangular box next to Atlantic Avenue.
King’s Grant resident Julie Palamara became concerned when she saw several scooters parked on a storm drain near her King’s Grant home recently.
“Homeowners shouldn’t be feeling responsible that they’re not left in the street,” she said. “We have a lot of walkers around here.”
Solis is recommending that the city issue requests for proposals soon, change the code by the end of the year to further restrict scooter use in the city, and execute franchise agreements by January so that they will take effect by March 1, 2020.
He met with groups representing the resort area, Town Center and Shore Drive, among others, to gather feedback.
More than 5,000 people also participated in an online survey that found:
84% want e-scooters banned on roads with speed limits exceeding 25 mph. (The city code was amended in August to keep scooters off those roads.)
Nearly 70% want to continue the use of geofencing so scooters don’t work in prohibited areas.
About 65% want a hotline and email address for reporting inappropriate riding/parking, and an established local management company to respond at all times. The city will require a management plan in its franchise agreement.
Limiting one rider per scooter was the most desired city regulation.
©2019 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.