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Boston Council Passes Scooter Ordinance; Discusses City Noise Levels

The Boston City Council passed an ordinance regarding scooters during a recent city council meeting. The unanimously-passed ordinance sets new rules and regulations to emerging scooter and other micro mobility companies.

“This is really exciting and an incredibly important step,” said Councilor Matt O’Malley.

O’Malley said he supports scooters in Boston because it gets people around while removing cars off the road, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and can generate revenue for the city.

“We are going to do it right. We are going to do it the Boston way,” said O’Malley about the ordinance.

The city can now offer licenses to micro mobility companies hoping to operate in Boston, and they can limit the number of licenses offered. The new ordinance gives the Boston Transportation Department jurisdiction over these companies and can set how many scooters a company can release into the city. Companies have to pay a $500 application fee and an annual fee that has yet to be decided.

An advisory committee will be created around the issues of micro mobility where city officials and residents can regularly discuss issues about the new transportation and handle them as they occur. They also have to submit a quarterly report on findings to the mayor.

“I can’t wait to get to work and see all of us on scooters in the future,” O’Malley added.

In other news, Councilor Althea Garrison requested a hearing over unreasonable excessive noise levels in the city.

Garrison said she has received many complaints over noise at construction zones, parties, approved city events and other areas. She hopes the hearing can help develop ways to combat the issue. Garrison believes noise levels are a quality of life issue and too much noise can lead to sleep disturbance, anxiety and hearing loss.  

“We have an obligation to protect the public health,” she said.

Councilor Lydia Edwards agreed, saying this is a big issue in the North End being so close to TD Garden and popular bars and nightclubs. According to Edwards, the North End experiences two million tourists a year and often has to deal with drunken people coming from bars or the TD Garden late at night.

“Far too many people see us as tourist attraction and not the community we are,” she said.

15 Replies to “Boston Council Passes Scooter Ordinance; Discusses City Noise Levels

    1. Where do you leave that garbage trucks show up @ 3:00 am? I know the city doesn’t start pickup until after 7 am or so – I can hear them from my windows.

      1. When I lived on Salem St. the garbage trucks often picked up at 3:00AM (restaurant dumpsters/bins) and the food grease pumping truck came around as early as 5:00AM….Yes – I could hear them from my windows.

      2. Commercial collections. I believe that they are now supposed to turn off backup alarms during certain hours. If you are hearing the backup alarms at 3:00AM, use the 311 hotline to report it. The City will mostly likely contact the business owner, who in turn will contact the trash collector.

  1. I would like to see large trucks prohibited from exiting the tunnel northbound onto Cross Street. We live on Fulton St and the noise is terrible as their trailers bang very loudly when they hit all the bumps in the road coming out of the tunnel and also on Cross St and continuing down to N. Washington St. They also use their loud jake brakes at times when stopping. Plus it’s just not good for this area of the city where there’s already heavy traffic with many pedestrians and bicyclists on Cross St to have numerous large trucks in the mix. It appears these trucks aren’t really headed anywhere near the North End and are just exiting here and transiting the area on the surface roads. It would be much better if they exited 93N at Sullivan Square and continued from there.

    1. Michael this seems to be like a pretty far fetched request. What did you expect living next to such a main road? We are talking about major roadways here not some side street. We are in the middle of a city not the country. I would suggest going to Bed Bath and Beyond and buying a $20 white noise machine for at night. Works great.

      1. No kidding. Again, more snarky responses. I’m talking about ways to reduce unnecessary noise (which is part of what this article was about) such as the large trucks, especially with empty loads, banging very loudly on the uneven and potholed roads. Simple things like fixing the roads can make a difference. As can actively managing traffic flow. That area of Boston was also recently rated one of the worst areas for traffic. Having the many trucks transiting the area doesn’t help that either.

    2. It’s all relative. It was much worse when the elevated highway was there and all of the traffic that is now under the ground was above the gound. I recall going up Atlantic Ave the first morning that everything move below the surface thinking how peaceful it was. I don’t think you can get much traction trying to stop trucks from using Cross St, but getting the City to repair the road and slow the traffic down, might make things quieter. Also, I had some window treatments installed to reduce sound. You might look into things that you can do to block out sound. Cross St, Commercial to Atlantic Ave are really heavily travelled and have always been noisy.

  2. I think that counsellor O’Malley needs a checkup from the backup. Scooters? Remember the yahoo’s and goobers from Iowa travelling on Segway’s on the sidewalks on Commercial St? Between distracted drivers, cyclists who think their competing in the Tour de France and zombies staring at telephones while crossing streets or walking in the center of a sidewalk enough is enough. As for noise? People you moved into a city neighborhood that has two million tourists annually visiting. What did you expect peace and quiet? Tourism like it or not has been going on for decades and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. It’s all about the Benjamin’s !!!

    1. If I had my choice between the scooters and the Sequeway and Hub Way bike riders, I think I would choose the scooters. It will tske a lot of energy to get them to the speed where they are out of control. It won’t take much of a pothole to send the rider sprawling. Plus these things are much easier than bikes to fling into Boston Harbor. Makes me think their stay in Boston will be short.

  3. Maybe if the city repairs Cross St and N. Washington St, there won’t be so much noise when trucks (especially empty trucks) and other heavy vehicles speed down these streets.

  4. Noah – Of course we expect there to be some noise living in the city and we’re fine with that. I’m referring to the excessive noise and I was responding to this article and Councilor Althea Garrison’s request for a hearing over unreasonable excessive noise levels in the city. Also, why do you and others on here have to be so snarky with your responses??

  5. It is going to be interesting to see how these scooters and the existing cars, pedestrians and bicycles co-exist. Those things are very unstable with such small wheels and short wheelbases, and somewhat tricky to ride for someone not used to them. Just this morning a woman was seriously hurt and hospitalized in Brookline during a program launch celebration in a parking lot!
    Like anything new, I’m sure it will sort itself out over time, but I feel that it’s not going to be as easy as most people think. I hope I’m wrong.

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