To the editor:
There is not a mode of transportation I don’t love. I own a car, often commute on a bicycle and have Metro cards stashed in all of my purses. I only wear shoes that are still comfortable after walking a few miles and have a phone filled with transportation apps, ranging from Metro maps to multi-modal aggregators to bike shares to car shares. Recently, I became the proud owner of six e-scooter apps. There is so much this area has to offer and I want to be able to get to it all in the most economical, convenient and environmentally-friendly way.
When e-scooters began appearing in Alexandria, I rejoiced. Sure, the first time I rode an e-scooter I thought, “This is the way I die.” However, I had those same thoughts the first time I drove a car, crossed a street in New York City and still every time I ride my bike down Mt. Vernon Avenue. Just like driving, walking and riding a bike, I eventually gained confidence, learned the rules of the road and now embrace e-scooters.
Old Town Alexandria is beautiful and historic. Del Ray reminds us of a bygone era where main street was the center of life. These are the reasons we love Alexandria. These are the reasons we embrace the people who come to experience our wonderful city. These are the reasons our city makes it easy to move around. The King Street Trolley provides easy access to the heart of Alexandria. The DASH bus helps us get to the grocery store and work. The Capital Bike Share ensures we can enjoy the Mount Vernon Trail on a nice day.
None of these modes of transportation are perfect, which is why we need a variety of options. Not to mention that Alexandria is best enjoyed on foot, and e-scooters expand our radius of where we can go without succumbing to the confines of a bus, car or metro. How many people think the 1.2 mile walk from the King Street Metro Station to the Torpedo Factory is simply too far? Or that places like the Lyceum Alexandria History Museum, the Alexandria Black History Museum or the Belle Haven Park are too far off the beaten path? E-scooters provide one more option to enjoy every corner of Alexandria.
I have heard demands to stop the e-scooter pilot early. Some of the reasons cited are valid – e-scooter riders are learning how to be responsible riders, and haphazardly discarded e-scooters are a safety concern and ruin the aesthetic of Old Town and Del Ray. I agree that e-scooter riders who are riding unsafely and on crowded sidewalks are a detriment to society. However, I also think the same about motorists who park in bike lanes, cyclists who don’t stop at stop signs and pedestrians who walk three-abreast.
The answer to the perceived e-scooter program is to continue the pilot, work through the enforcement kinks, educate riders on proper e-scooter etiquette and learn to accept that e-scooters improve everyone’s ability to navigate our great city. Now excuse me, I must run to catch the bus.
-Jennifer K. Hay, Alexandria