Resolution pertaining to E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices
Petitioner: Paul Warren, TMM1 and Heather Hamilton, Select Board Member
Special Town Meeting, November 2019
The Select Board launched an E-Scooter pilot program to identify and evaluate potential demand, community issues, benefits and costs of a permanent E-Scooter Share Program in Brookline.
The pilot program, based on usage data and user survey results supplied by the vendors, indicates that in Brookline there appears to be significant demand for shared E-Scooter services. The level of reported demand and replaced automobile trips appears to be consistent with what has been reported by other communities that have deployed shared E-Scooter services.
The pilot program has also highlighted that the operation and parking of motorized scooters on sidewalks has raised concerns with respect to pedestrians, and in particular, the elderly, disabled and the very young. These concerns include the risk of injury from collisions as well as tripping and fall hazards from improperly parked E-Scooters.
The pilot program also highlighted gaps in State and local regulations governing E-Scooters. Brookline has been working in a leadership role to address these gaps by participating in the planning and development of a regional, regulatory and operating framework with other local municipalities including Boston, Cambridge, Watertown and Somerville.
Contemporaneously, several bills have been introduced in the legislature to address E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices regarding the operation of such devices on public sidewalks. Thus far, the filed legislation permits the operation of these devices on sidewalks other than in business districts. It does, however, preserve local control of sidewalks by allowing municipalities to pass local ordinances and regulations limiting any operation on sidewalks whether in or outside of business districts. But, of course, there is no assurance that the final legislation will preserve the local option.
This first resolution seeks to postpone additional piloting or the permanent deployment of E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices in Brookline until the State legislature updates and clarifies its existing laws and until the Brookline Transportation Board holds public hearings and develops rules and regulations to govern the use of such devices in Brookline.
The second resolution urges our State legislative delegation to work with the State Legislature to ensure that, in any legislation involving E-Scooters and other micro-mobility devices, Brookline retains local control to regulate its sidewalks with respect to the use and operation of such devices.