New scooter parking rules, possible new approaches to enforcement

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Scooter riders in Nashville face new scooter parking rules, as Metro Council works on possible new approaches to enforcement.

Scooters blocking right of ways continues to be a problem in Nashville.

It’s the focus of a recent ordinance that passed Metro Council.

The new legislation updates the original scooter ordinance that passed last August.

It’s in the process of implementation and penalizes riders who don’t follow the rules.

Per Metro scooter rules, riders can’t park scooter in right of ways.

As McKenzie Watkins and Ally Clark enjoyed a scooter ride downtown, they ran into a scooter sitting right in the middle of a sidewalk.

“Yeah that’s a little obnoxious,” said Watkins. “To be honest, I have no idea why somebody would park like that.”

Scooter rider Thea Tobias said she’s not surprised.

“A lot of people just go for it and leave them anywhere,” said Tobias.

Evidence of this can be seen across Nashville and is the reason behind a recently implemented ordinance.

Metro Council Member for District 26 Jeremy Elrod sponsored the legislation.

“My goal is to try to keep the sidewalks clear – get folks off the sidewalks,” said Elrod. “So we’ve got some things – we’re going to have no parking areas, preferred parking areas, perhaps some fines for easier ways to collect fines for bad parking.”

The fines are $25 for blocking a right-of-way and $10 for parking in a ‘no parking’ zone.

Elrod said scooter companies will have to pay the fines to Metro, and companies can then recover costs from users.

“Today, they could be cited for improperly riding on the sidewalk, improperly parking on the sidewalk, and eventually we’ll have some ‘no parking’ areas in key areas like the Vanderbilt Hospital, the arena, Titan Stadium,” said Elrod.

The Metro Planning Department said the goal is to design 15-20 parking corrals in the next few months in busy areas like downtown.

“It’s an on-going education process because these are so new, but because they’re so popular and becoming a good option – I think we need to work them out and see if we can work them into Nashville if we can,” said Elrod.

It’s a learning process some riders said may just have to come the hard way.

“Yeah if I had to pay $25-dollars because I parked a scooter in properly, I would not park it improperly again,” said Watkins.

The timeline of the designated ‘no parking’ zones and corrals should be finalized in the coming months.

Elrod said enforcement is an issue Metro Council continues to work on.

“Something we’re going to be looking at is how to enforce scooter regulations,” he said. “Is Metro Police an avenue, does Metro Police need to hire a specific enforcement, do we partner with things like the Downtown Partnership, do we have to increase the fees of these companies that they have to pay Metro to help pay for the enforcement question? So those are a lot of the things we’re looking at right now.”

Elrod said scooter companies are conducting a study on ridership in Nashville and Council expects to see the results in July.

The scooters are part of a scooter pilot program.

Metro Council has until April 1st of 2020 to decide if it wants to end or keep the program.

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