Mason to introduce electric scooters as the newest form of transportation
BY MADISON SCHOFIELD, STAFF WRITER
Electric scooters have exploded in popularity in recent years. They’ve been popping up in cities all across America and soon they’ll be arriving at Mason.
Along with the City of Fairfax, Mason has been working with scooter companies Bird, Lime and Spin, which the city used for their scooter pilot program starting in July. Mason is currently in the process of finalizing details with the vendors and the City of Fairfax, and is hoping to launch the program in early October.
This announcement comes after years of working with the City of Fairfax and Fairfax County on a bike share feasibility study, and searching for alternative transportation for students and staff outside of cars and the CUE bus system.
Josh Cantor, director of parking and transportation at Mason, said that “trying to make the sidewalks as safe as possible … especially with construction going on in many areas” has been a priority throughout the entire process.
To emphasize the importance of sidewalk safety, Cantor said the Parking and Transportation Office has been working with legal and risk management teams to get a policy approved which will restrict scooters, bikes and golf carts from sidewalks. Scooters will be welcome in bike lanes and limited roadways, leaving the sidewalks open to pedestrians.
Along with sidewalk safety, finding a location to house the scooters is also a factor the office is considering.
“When you’re riding a scooter, don’t just leave it in the sidewalk where it can be a trip hazard or can be in the way of someone who has a mobility issue,” said Janet Walker, the transportation programs manager.
To help combat this, “scooter corrals” will be established in various locations across campus for students to park the scooters once they have reached their destination. Walker also added that scooters that are left in the middle of the sidewalk can be reported in the scooter app and impounded.
The scooters will be showcased on Sept. 27, during which students will be able to ride the scooters from Peterson Hall into Fairfax to enjoy the Rock The Block event hosted by the city on the fourth Friday of every month.