HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Electric scooters have taken over cities all over the country lately, and Huntsville might be the next to see them.
E-Scooters will allow citizens to ride around the city in a new way, but the city plans on managing the new trend in a different way. Long-Range Planner Dennis Madsen said Huntsville will have to regulate the scooters more closely than other cities have done in the past.
“They didn’t know the etiquette, and didn’t have the infrastructure to support scooters because they should operate just like bicycles,” he said. “They shouldn’t use narrow sidewalks, they require multi-use paths or on bike facilities on the street.”
City Council is now considering an ordinance that will enable a company to be a provider. If and when the ordinance is passed, Madsen said you won’t see scooters the next day, instead they will issue a request for a proposal.
“We think of it the same way we treat bike share, or even cabs. They would have to be licensed, would have to meet certain restrictions and would make sure they can’t operate without any oversight,” Madsen added.
Madsen said the City has deliberately drawn the concept in a small area. The area drawn up includes central downtown and reaches westward towards Stovehouse and Campus No. 805. The small area will be a test site for the scooters and should bring insight to city officials on whether or not e-scooters would work in Huntsville.
The city would plan to limit the number of scooters available to the public to avoid overcrowding. If the testing goes well, the city plans on matching the number of scooters to the demand. Madsen said the next focus would be controlling where the scooters end up.
“Through GIS you can do what’s called Geofencing; where a scooter user cannot actually end their ride unless the scooter is parked in a proper area and in many cases, parked upright instead of just laying across the sidewalk. If you parked it illegally, well you’re going to end up paying for that ride on and on and you’re going to notice it in your wallet,” he said.
The City is expected to vote on the ordinance at the next city council meeting on Thursday, September 12th.
To see the plans, click here: Huntsvilleal.gov.