George Mason University has cordoned off a “no scooter zone” in front of its Arlington campus in Virginia Square.
Readers alerted ARLnow to the signs yesterday (Monday), which are located in front of the university’s Founders Hall plaza on Fairfax Drive.
The signs direct dockless electric scooter riders to park the vehicles at a nearby bike rack, rather than abandoning them at random. Ever since Bird became the first company to bring the dockless scooters to Arlington this June, the county’s sidewalks and yards have increasingly been littered with the vehicles.
Buzz McClain, a spokesman for the Schar School of Policy and Government (which is located at Mason’s Arlington campus), told ARLnow that university officials believe the signs are necessary to keep the parked Birds out of harm’s way in the highly trafficked plaza. He noted that signs are simply designed to provide a little clarity about where the vehicles belong, “just as we do with bikes.”
The nine-month pilot also sets some restrictions on the dockless vehicles to give the county more control about where the scooters end up, given growing community consternation about the sudden proliferation of the vehicles.
The new program bans riders from using the scooters on sidewalks and trails, and will also require any company to move an improperly parked vehicle within one hour of receiving a complaint, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
County staff are also considering a similar tactic to Mason’s chosen option, and could soon establish “on-street corrals” at Metro stations for dockless bikes and scooters.
Staff believe such an addition would “encourage orderly parking and on-street riding” and has proven effective in cities across the globe, according to a presentation delivered to the Board.
Photo (1) courtesy Chaz Papa