To the editor:
I feel very strongly that scooters should be banned from sidewalks in all of Alexandria. If you only ban them from sidewalks in Old Town, then it becomes more of an enforcement issue and adds confusion for riders as to where they’re allowed to ride. As it is under current operating rules, there are plenty of scooter riders on sidewalks in Old Town and I’ve had several close calls.
The issue to me is that allowing faster-than-walking vehicles on sidewalks endangers pedestrians regardless of age or ability to walk. And while we are all about protecting pedestrians with Vision Zero safety initiatives, why add another variable – in addition to unsafe and distracted drivers – that will hurt pedestrians on sidewalks if there is a crash?
Also, the issue with scooters and how they might be more environmentally friendly and reduce car use is lost on me. From a travel demand perspective, scooter riders are probably replacing walkers and bicyclists mainly due to the short nature of scooter trips. I mostly see joy riders, tourists and under age kids using scooters – with a significant number riding on sidewalks and endangering pedestrians.
There was a critical meeting on Wednesday where the Transportation Commission heard city staff present a proposal to allow scooters on sidewalks. (Editor’s note: the meeting was too late for results to be included in this week’s print edition but check alextimes.com for updates.) Take advantage of public input opportunities to share your concerns about pedestrian safety and the danger that scooters on sidewalks present to us.
-Oscar J. Gonzalez, Alexandria