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Falls Church City Council Driving Forward Scooter Pilot Program

The City of Falls Church is looking to implement a pilot program for scooters as a deadline nears for scooter regulation.

Legislation passed during the General Assembly session in January allows localities to regulate scooters and motorized skateboards, however, the localities have until Jan. 1, 2020 to take action to implement any regulations. After that date, the scooter companies can zoom around as they see fit.

Scooters, an increasingly popular alternative transportation option, are already around the area.

The City Council is set to discuss the proposed pilot program, which would allow the city to regulate bicycles and motorized skateboards, scooters and bicycles for hire, at a work session tonight (Tuesday).

The proposed program would allow the motorized vehicles and bicycles for hire to ride on the sidewalks and streets and would limit speeds to 20 miles per hour for bicycles and motorized bicycles and to 10 miles per hour for scooters and skateboards.

Additionally, the city would cap the maximum number of devices to 25 per company, allowing the company to increase the number with extra permit fees. Each company would have to pay a permit fee of $100 per device.

The proposed pilot program is set to go before the City Council for a review on Sept. 23 ahead of a planned adoption in October or November.

The City Council is also scheduled to discuss spot pedestrian improvements tonight.

“The ultimate goal is to provide an adequate and safe walkway system and for the city to ultimately achieve ‘Walk Friendly Community’ designation,” City Manager Wyatt Shields wrote in a memo to the mayor.

City staff chose several projects recommended by the Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation totaling $100,000 — the amount set aside in the FY 2020 city budget for short-term spot improvements for pedestrian safety.

One project costing $45,000 would install a new sidewalk at S. Oak Street near Seaton Lane to close an 80-foot “missing link” along the busy corridor near TJ Elementary School.

The staff also recommended a $40,000 improvement that would install a new sidewalk at 304 S. Maple Avenue, closing a 60-foot gap in the sidewalk.

Finally, the staff plan to use $15,000 to install handicap-accessible ramps at locations that need them.

Some of the projects identified by the Citizens Advisory Committee on Transportation didn’t fit the city’s budget, like removing utility pole obstacles.

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