Downtown Scooter Parking

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Comments of Ellen Jones, Director of Infrastructure & Sustainability
Downtown Business Improvement District
Before the DC Council Committee on Environment, Transportation and Public Works Regarding Motor Scooters
October 22, 2012

Thank you, Chairperson Cheh and members of the Committee, for this opportunity to discuss the issue of motor scooters with you today. I am Ellen Jones, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability for the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). The Downtown BID, a private non-profit organization, provides capital improvements, services, resources and research to help diversify the economy and enhance the Downtown experience for all. The BID area encompasses 138 blocks from Union Station to the White House and from Massachusetts Avenue to the National Mall.

In the Downtown BID area the issue of motor scooter parking is intertwined with motorcycle and bicycle parking. We are actively engaged in the management of all types of parking in downtown through our collaboration with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and building owners and managers in our area. In the course of many hours of field observations over several years it has become apparent that there is inadequate motorcycle, motor scooter and bicycle parking in downtown. We have also observed increasing numbers of them chained to trees, street furniture and bicycle parking racks.

The city needs to take a quantum leap in the amount of parking that is provided for motorcycles, motor scooters and bicycles in downtown. Here’s how that could happen:

  • Existing motorcycle parking areas should be expanded wherever it is feasible.
  • New locations for motorcycle parking need to be identified, metered and signed. We can help do that in our area.
  • Motorcycle and motor scooter parking areas should be mapped and incorporated into DDOT’s goDCgo travel information website.
  • In-street bicycle parking corrals should be installed in areas of high demand. Strategically placed bicycle parking on sidewalks should be installed where the width and pedestrian volumes permit.

The Downtown BID is preparing a 3-year bicycle parking plan for our area in cooperation with DDOT staff that will be a blueprint for implementing these actions.  If the city makes parking for bicycles, motorcycles and motor scooters a priority with sufficient staff and funding the time-frame for implementation could possibly be shortened.

The good news about our growing downtown economy is that a lot of people want to be here. We’ve got to do a better job of responding to the increased demand for transportation downtown with high capacity transportation modes such as bicycling, pedestrians and transit.

The Downtown BID requests that the Committee encourage and support DDOT’s efforts to meet the parking challenge that increasing numbers of motorcycles, motor scooters, and bicyclists pose for downtown public spaces. Failure to do so will create more and more obstacle courses on our downtown sidewalks for pedestrians. We think that is a lose-lose proposition.

Thank you for this opportunity to share these comments with you.  I look forward to trying to answer any questions you may have about them.