By this time next month, Atlanta streets could be dotted with temporary barriers and lane striping that cordon off space for bicycles, e-scooters, and other alternate forms of micro transportation.
So says Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in an opinion column penned for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in response to the “explosion of scooters, e-Bikes, and other mobility devices” in the city.
“In the next 30 days, we plan to implement changes to our streets to better protect everyone,” Bottoms wrote in the August 16 column titled, “Facilitating scooter growth while managing safety.”
“We will use temporary barriers, painted demarcations, and any tool we can find,” she continued, “to complement our growing network of 118 miles of dedicated space for bikes and scooters.”
Four e-scooter riders have died in traffic collisions since the spring in metro Atlanta, and city officials have been scrambling to figure out how to regulate the dockless devices and curb injuries and fatalities.
In January, the Atlanta City Council implemented the first dockless vehicle regulations, which, among other rules, barred users from riding on sidewalks.
A few months after it seemed the new laws weren’t enough of a deterrent, police officials warned that people could be heavily fined for riding on walkways and parking in public rights of way.
Following the e-scooter-related fatalities, Bottoms issued a nighttime ban on e-scooters and bikes and stripped the city planning department of its authority to permit new dockless devices. (There are still some 12,000 rentable vehicles permitted.)
Local mobility advocates have stressed for years that streets are safer for everyone when designers shift from a car-centric focus and cater to alternative modes of transportation, too.
Bottoms said the City of Atlanta “has no plans to ban scooters entirely ... But we do need to pause and determine how to regulate this new industry in a thoughtful and broader way.”
Let’s pretend city officials are listening: Where do you hope to see temporary safety lanes implemented in coming weeks?