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Tag: micro-mobility

Comments on proposed MassDCR amendments 302 CMR 11 + 12

Comments on proposed MassDCR amendments 302 CMR 11 + 12

July 24, 2019

Laura Dietz
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114

Dear Ms. Dietz,

WalkBoston has reviewed the amendments to “302 CMR 11.00: Parkways, Traffic, and Pedestrian Rules” and “302 CMR 12.00: Parks and Recreation Rules,” and attended the public hearing on July 2, 2019 in Brighton.

This process should be put on hold until laws on micro-mobility and e-bikes are established by the legislature so there is cohesion between the law and regulations.

We also have some questions and comments based on our review:

  • What data are these proposed changes based on?
  • Are there any successes or failures in other states that MA is trying to emulate or avoid?
  • We have concerns about setting a limit of 20mph for shared use pathways. How was that speed limit established, and what is it based on? We need context sensitive speed limits, not one limit for all places. A 20mph limit is a speed limit that is recommended on residential streets, which include sidewalks for separation.
  • There are long section of definitions including BOULEVARD, PARKWAY, ROADWAY, STREET, but there is no definition of the different types of trails. Some of the suggested regulations describe ‘improved or natural surface trail’ vs. other types of trails; with no easy definition, this could lead to confusion.
  • Section 12.12(4) states they are ‘not permitted on improved trails less than 8 feet,’ would this mean certain sections of contiguous trails would allow/prohibit use?
    • Additionally, while we recognize the intent to create safe areas where there could be conflict, we fear that setting a regulation by width could have unintended consequences for future trail development.
  • The section on Violations/Fines/Penalties only includes info about parking.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.

Brendan Kearney
Communications Director

Boston Globe: I took Brookline’s e-scooters for a road test. Here’s what happened

Boston Globe: I took Brookline’s e-scooters for a road test. Here’s what happened

Boston Globe: “I took Brookline’s e-scooters for a road test. Here’s what happened

Is it legal to ride these e-scooters on the sidewalk? Also a bit hazy, according to Brendan Kearney of the pedestrian advocacy group WalkBoston.

Posted April 12, 2019

Extra reading:

There are currently 8 bills before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation that deal with scooters & micro-mobility devices. We testified before the committee on March 28th: “At the most fundamental level, we believe that in areas of the Commonwealth where there is more than occasional sidewalk use by pedestrians, motorized scooters should be accommodated on-street or in separated bike/scooter lanes where they will not conflict with people who are walking on the sidewalk.” Read our full testimony.

Re: Comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters

Re: Comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters

March 28, 2019

Joint Committee on Transportation
Joseph A. Boncore, Senate Chair
State House, Room 112
Boston, MA 02133

Joint Committee on Transportation
William Straus, House Chair
State House, Room 134
Boston, MA 02133

Re: Comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters

Dear Chairman Boncore and Chairman Straus,

WalkBoston is Massachusetts’ main pedestrian advocacy organization, working to make walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities. We write to provide the Committee with our comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters.

We understand the need for state legislation to guide the roll out of scooters in Massachusetts and support the efforts of MassDOT, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), and a number of the state’s municipalities to provide a statewide framework for these new mobility devices. We also believe that scooters may positively add to mobility options for Massachusetts’ residents.

  • At the most fundamental level, we believe that in areas of the Commonwealth where there is more than occasional sidewalk use by pedestrians, motorized scooters should be accommodated on-street or in separated bike/scooter lanes where they will not conflict with people who are walking on the sidewalk.
  • As reporting is beginning to emerge from cities where scooters have been operating the number of pedestrian injuries attributed to scooters on sidewalks is significant, with 8% of “scooter” injuries in Los Angeles being pedestrians who were hit by scooters or tripped over scooters on sidewalks.
  • After many years of work to meet the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) we are only beginning to approach an accessible sidewalk system. WalkBoston is very concerned that allowing the use of scooters on sidewalks will result in scooters blocking sidewalks and curb ramps. We recommend that municipal regulations require scooters to be locked to appropriate bike racks or corrals, as other communities around the country have started to consider.

Our comments are focused on H3073/S2049 because this is a comprehensive bill that has been drawn up with the active participation of the agencies noted above.

  1. We are pleased that the bill limits scooters to a speed of 15 miles per hour, although this will be very fast if it is happening on a sidewalk where pedestrians are walking at 2-3 miles per hour.
  2. We are pleased that the bill requires scooters to have front and rear lights and turn signals.
  3. As currently drafted the act would allow motorized scooters on all shared use paths operated by MassDOT or the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) including such places as the Southwest Corridor, the Esplanade, the Mass Ave and Longfellow Bridge sidewalks, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail. We do not believe that these heavily used paths that double as linear parks with significant numbers of young children, people with disabilities and seniors should be used by motorized scooters unless they are operated at a significantly lower speed (5 mph).

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important piece of transportation safety legislation.

Best regards,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Carol Steinberg
WalkBoston Board Member
Wheelchair user and 9-year member of the MA Architectural Access Board

Jamaica Plain Gazette – “City Council holds hearing regarding dockless mobility, electric scooters”

Jamaica Plain Gazette – “City Council holds hearing regarding dockless mobility, electric scooters”

Jamaica Plain Gazette: “City Council Holds Hearing Regarding Dockless Mobility, Electric Scooters

Kristen McCosh from the Mayor’s Office of Persons With Disabilities said that part of her role is to make sure the path of travel on the sidewalks remain unobstructed.

“Sidewalks are the most common mode of travel for people with disabilities,” McCosh said. She said she was concerned about accessibility of the scooters themselves as well as their speed, and where they might be left in the way of someone who is blind or low vision.

“People with disabilities are not in a position to move them or even go around them,” she said.

In the third panel, Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Organization, and Brendan Kearney from WalkBoston, made suggestions about the implementation of the new scooters. Thompson told the City Council that she hopes they will meet their excitement about the prospect with “increased funding for the infrastructure that will be required to support this.” She also said that regulating the speed of the scooters is just a small portion of the conversation that needs to be had about regulating the speed of all vehicles. Redesigning streets and curbside management were things that Kearney said needed to be thought about.

Posted November 9, 2018

East Boston Times-Free Press – “City Council Holds Hearing Regarding Dockless Mobility and Electric Scooters”

East Boston Times-Free Press – “City Council Holds Hearing Regarding Dockless Mobility and Electric Scooters”

East Boston Times-Free Press: “City Council Holds Hearing Regarding Dockless Mobility and Electric Scooters

In the third panel, Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Organization, and Brendan Kearney from WalkBoston, made suggestions about the implementation of the new scooters.

Thompson told the City Council that she hopes they will meet their excitement about the prospect with “increased funding for the infrastructure that will be required to support this.”

She also said that regulating the speed of the scooters is just a small portion of the conversation that needs to be had about regulating the speed of all vehicles. Redesigning streets and curbside management were things that Kearney said needed to be thought about.

O’Malley said this was one of the most substantive hearings they have had about this topic, and added that “as a City, we need to do a tremendously better effort going forward as it relates to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.”

He called this a “complex issue,” but one that needs to be discussed.

He said he feels strongly about implementing a pilot program in the spring of next year.

Posted October 26, 2018