The Scooters Are Coming! Boston City Council to Pilot New Transportation Option

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Scooters have been popping up everywhere in Boston and city officials have decided to start a pilot program that could launch next spring embracing this new mode of transportation.

The Boston City Council held a hearing Monday morning about the number of apps that have been growing in the city that offer scooter rentals. City Councilor Matt O’Malley called for the hearing, saying since the city’s traffic is so horrendous, Boston should be opened to the idea of scooters as a way for residents to get around quicker and easier.

“It will remove the congestion from our streets,” O’Malley said. “We should embrace this.”

However, not everyone had a positive outlook on the new mode of transportation.

Olivia Richard, a disability rights activist, said she didn’t want the scooters in her neighborhood. “It’s another piece of technology we are getting left behind on,” she said.

Richard says scooters are abandoned on sidewalks haphazardly, creating obstructions for people who are disabled. “No one is a fan of this,” she said. Richard also worries about the safety of riders, saying she often sees them riding without helmets.

Helmets are not the only safety concern the city has to worry about. Another big hurdle for Boston officials is a state law that put scooters under a type of transportation that requires turn signals and brake lights. Companies like Lyft and Bird testified that many scooters lack these safety features.

Boston Chief of Streets, Chris Osgood, said he hopes to work with communities like Cambridge and Somerville to make a joint program.

In a North End / Waterfront poll earlier this summer, the neighborhood was split on whether electric scooters should be allowed in Boston. Just under half of people who voted said definitely not, but at least a quarter said they’d be open to the idea with the proper rules and regulations.

The Council said they would look into creating a pilot program.


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18 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, if you only read this site you would think that the North End was a suburban driver’s paradise. Our streets are narrow and we can’t make any more room for gas guzzling, pollution spewing cars unless we demolish the very buildings that make the North End unique.

    I agree with Olivia that many of our sidewalks are too narrow. The solution: repurpose some of the vast acreage we give to cars to build wider sidewalks. I’ll gladly sacrifice some street parking or travel lanes to achieve ADA-compliance.

    Unless and until we de-prioritize car infrastructure, we will fail to make any meaningful progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Electric scooters seem like one (of many) ways to decrease vehicle miles traveled, so anyone who professes to be pro-science and pro-Paris Climate Agreement (see: Marty “car guy” Walsh) should welcome this pilot.

    • So do you think that people in the north end who own cars will get rid of them and replace them with a scooter. I think the point of the discussion is being missed. it’s not about residents using these things. it’s about outside people coming into boston using them for transportation. also, what do handicap placards have to do with this discussion. legit or not. you want handicapped people to ride around on these things. whether people think so or not, cars and trucks are a necessity for most people. not every works close to the north end. the north end is a pass through for traffic, it always was and always will be. if you make the infrastructure smaller it will get worse. why not just eliminate car lanes on the new Charlestown bridge. you got to get over it. cars are here to stay. even if every vehicle was electric, they need the infrastructure.

      • 10,000 people live in the north end, and thankfully, especially for the car owners, most of those 10,000 people don’t have cars. unless the city aggressively pursues alternative forms of transportation, including scooters, bicycles, etc., as well as the required infrastructure for them, then the qualify of life in the city is going to decline over time.

        • I agree with Gary F. residents can walk to back bay or take the T. also they can use the bikes that are already available to them. why do we need another alternate form of transportation? They can also Uber to the back bay.

  2. Truth, you have brought up this claim of fraudulent handicap placards many times. It’s time to put up or shut up. If you know of a resident abusing or violating the Handicap placard law do something about it or stop whining. Please!

  3. Bad Idea in my opinion. what would a resident use the scooter for? food shopping, going to work outside the city. some of us work outside of rt 128. people that work local either walk or take the T. they will be left all over the place.

    • My idea would be to have BPD patrolmen and the parking enforcement people use scooters. If that happens I will support the idea 100 percent.

    • gee, maybe a resident would use a scooter to get to um, back bay? good grief. would you prefer that he or she owns a car so they could drive to back bay, and then suck up parking space when they return to the north end. alternative forms of transportation goes way beyond walking or taking the T.

      • I would take the T to the Back Bay…or walk on a nice day. Taking a scooter is more dangerous than driving…and no, I don’t have NTSD stats to back that up…just my eyes and some common sense…you get one accident on a scooter.

      • maybe residents can ride rickshaws around town. maybe bring back horse and buggies too. say and do whatever, cars are here to stay so get used to it. why don’t the people who want the scooters give up their addresses so people can leave them in front of their house instead of leaving them all over the place. funny how people bad mouth original North Enders, but they still choose to live here.

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