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RE: [BostonScoots] Meeting at City Hall to Discuss Scooter Parking

From: Mary L.
Sent on: Thursday, September 24, 2009 9:00 AM

Mindy,

 

Just too clarify and not add to any rumors,  there is a distinction between the new law related to 50cc and under scooters, vs the City enforcement of parking regulations

 

The new regulations requiring limited use plates applies to scooters that can go at least 30 mph (not 35) but no more than 40mph. This is a statewide regulations

 

Parking regulations are established by each municipality and city. This parking issue is related and essentially caused by the licensing requirements. There definitely is a preference and seemingly intent by the City of Boston to move all motorized vehicles off of the sidewalks, not just the plated ones. The parking regulations currently support that, but the City has not been enforcing them.

 

I do think that there is some genuine sincerity on the part of the City to provide parking options of all two wheeled vehicles. I just don’t think that up until now the people making the decisions had any understanding of the issue. But this hearing and the efforts that the BDT has been making to solicit inputs signals that they are looking to be educated.  I think there are also some folks in city government and administration that potentially see this as a revenue generator. That’s why it is important that we get a good turnout to make sure the city not only understands the issue, but also implements solutions that support and don’t discourage alternative greener means of transportation.

 

Sorry you can’t come, but you should reach out to your councilperson and try to encourage others to attend

 

MaryLee

 

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Mindy
Sent: Thursday, September 24,[masked]:44 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [BostonScoots] Meeting at City Hall to Discuss Scooter Parking

 

This is great information. And honestly, there are so many rumors out there.  It was my understanding that this law only affected mopeds that can go faster than 35 miles per hour which would not include mine however this law looks more and more like a way to raise funds than any safety concerns or complaint from the handicapped community who also has to deal with messenger bicyclists who also use the ramps and sidewalks.  I will unfortunately will be at work during that time (which is why they schedule these hearings at these times).  Are you aware of what representatives will be attending this hearing perhaps we can flood our local reps with calls and mail?

Thank you,
Mindy

On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 7:14 AM, Mary Lee <[address removed]> wrote:

 

There will be a public hearing on Thursday October 1st at 2pm at City Hall to solicit public input on the parking impacts of a regulations that require limited use plates on many 49/50cc scooters. It is my impression that the focus is not on a repeal of the law (which would be a statewide decision) but rather on how to address challenges the parking implications of this law pose. I know that it is challenging for many to attend a meeting midday during the week, but would encourage everyone who cares about this issue to try to attend and provide input. The city is actively putting a  plan together to address the parking issue for implementation in Spring of 2010 so now is the time to engage.

 

Background

As most of you know, the RMV implemented a new regulation on July 31st requiring license plates with a ? Limited Use? designation on any scooter capable of going at least 30 mph but not able to exceed 40 mph.

Most of the popular 49/50cc scooters meet this criteria, so this new law creates big impacts on where to park a scooter in the future. While it has always been illegal to park a motorized vehicle on the sidewalk in Boston, the BDT has not enforced this for vehicles without plates due to the administrative challenges of writing and collecting when there is no plate on which associate the ticket. The BDT is on the record that they feel parking motorized vehicles on pedestrian sidewalks creates a public safety hazard and it is their desire to move these vehicles off of the sidewalk.

 

On a positive note, they do seem to recognize the benefits of encouraging two wheeled commuters and committed to providing designated parking for all two wheeled motorized vehicles in designated locations. They have a goal of implementing a plan by spring 2010. In the meanwhile, they are leaving the status quo in place meaning that vehicles with moped stickers or limited use plates will not be ticketed until they have implemented designated parking for motorcycles, scooters and mopeds. But as it stands now, their plan is to begin the enforcement of no sidewalk parking for motorized vehicles, including mopeds, once the designated parking is established.

 

They are still working out the details of where that will be (street/off-street) and if and what they will charge for this parking. So now is the time to be heard. From the communications that I have had with the leadership at the BDT, I believe that they are honestly trying to come up with a solution that encourages and doesn?t just tolerate mopeds, scooters and motorcycles as excellent alternative, greener means of transportation. But they need the input from us to make sure they understand the issues and provide workable solutions. For example, if they plan to provide on street parking at motorcycles meters, such as San Francisco does, the meters can?t have 2 hour limits or they will be useless to commuters. They have acknowledged the safety concern associate with vehicle theft and are exploring ideas such as providing grounded hooks to which a vehicle could be attached.

 

I can share that there are two issues that seem to being carrying heavy wait with the BDT that we need to acknowledge and navigate. These are just my impressions so take the as such.

 

1)       The handicapped community objects to motorized vehicles using the ramps at the ends of pedestrian sidewalks to access the sidewalk, even when the vehicles are walked on. This is an influential group and I believe is in part why the BDT has been on record as saying that motorized vehicles don?t belong on sidewalks. Frankly, I think this is an uphill battle as we do not have the same organization or influence. And it seems that most domestic cities take the same position, although some, like Columbus Ohio, have provided designated corral-type parking on sidewalks so that they can control where it is and isn?t okay to park. There are creative alternatives that could be implemented such as identifying un-used space on islands or very wide sidewalks and installing an access ramp mid-block and directly off the street, to avoid the handicap ramps. That is just one idea, but I am sure that collectively we can come up with others that could work while being acceptable to those concerned about pedestrian safety.

 

2)       ?No Free Lunch? The BDT seems pretty unsympathetic to the complaint that mopeds and some scooters can park for free on any sidewalk as long as it isn?t blocking pedestrian access or creating a safety hazard. My sense is that they feel that represents an unwarranted sense of entitlement and they don?t really care if that is why an individual scooterist bought a scooter. I believe a more winning argument for provide free or minimally price parking is that the city should be encouraging and enabling commuters of greener vehicles to get more cars off the streets. A two hour parking meter makes sense for cars because the want to discourage their use by commuters and encourage frequent turnover to support retailers and businesses. But if they created exclusive, designated on-street space of two wheeled vehicles, they need to ensure that they can support a commuter who needs to park all day. Otherwise they will just go unused. The government routinely offers financial incentives to drive desired behaviors. Examples include tax rebates to first time home buyers, cash for clunkers, HOV lanes to encourage car-pooling. So free or minimal cost parking for two wheel vehicles seems appropriate. Pointing to Columbus OH again, they provided parking free during their pilot last year and the implemented an annual parking sticker for $50 this year.

 

Suggestion

I wanted to share this background, so that we can make this public hearing as productive as possible. If there are elements of the direction that the BDT that you strongly disagree with, now is the time to speak. But it is also important to understand where they are coming from and what other interest groups they also need to accommodate. It may make sense to have a MeetUp in advance of the October 1st meeting to brainstorm and make an attempt for if not a unified and least a comprehensive voice.

 

 

MaryLee Belleville

 

 

 

 





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