Voi electric scooters in Bristol could take over parking lots to avoid blocking sidewalks


Parking spaces could become spaces allocated to Voi electric scooters, after an increase in the number of “badly parked” scooters on sidewalks.

Bristol City Council is considering calls to turn some spaces into designated locations for electric scooters, to prevent them from becoming a potentially dangerous obstacle for pedestrians.

Councilor Paula O’Rourke, head of the Green Group in Bristol, said: ‘As the number of scooters has increased so rapidly, we have seen sidewalks blocked by poorly parked scooters, often forcing pedestrians to enter the road. .

READ MORE: Voi electric scooters replace rides more than car trips

“I understand the scooters are part of a test, which means there isn’t all the infrastructure there and that’s why they’re on the sidewalks. However, we have to use the trial to see how they would work in parking lots, that’s where they need to end up. “

Clifton’s advisor said she photographed 42 scooters parked at a location near the Clifton Suspension Bridge, adding: “We persuaded Voi to shut down this hub until they had the technology to limit parking to just 10 scooters. .

“Sidewalk scooters also create a dangerous obstacle for the visually impaired. If it has an engine, it should be parked on the road.

Bristol’s electric scooter pilot program has been well used since its launch in late 2020, with people able to rent the scooters using an app on their phone.

Private electric scooters are illegal to ride in public, although many people still do.

According to Cllr O’Rourke, around 12 parking spaces could be involved in a pilot project to adapt existing spaces to the parking of electric scooters.

The Bristol Greens leader tweeted on Saturday August 14 that she was out with another Green Councilor in Clifton, Katy Grant, looking for suitable locations in their neighborhood.

She said Bristol Live: “We focused on finding sites to the east of the district [Clifton], because far too many scooters are geared towards tourist areas.

“We believe that we need to provide on-road parking near historic sites as the sidewalks get very crowded.

“Parking in Clifton has always been a problem, and we want to encourage alternative modes of transportation.

“We have several schools, for example, that have staff parking permits and it would be great if some of those parking spaces could be replaced with scooter parking lots.”

The proposal was greeted with largely positive comments on Twitter over the weekend.

One person agreed: “Please find a parking space for the scooters. VOI scooters are road vehicles and should stay on the road. Storing them on the sidewalks sends the wrong message. “

Another added: “Yes please. Remove them from sidewalks and street corners. Not only dangerous but a real horror when they are simply abandoned.”

However, one person commented: “I think there is a lot of space on the roadway which is quite suitable for parking scooters.”

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Voi confirmed that more parking measures will be tested, including additional on-street parking in Bristol.

“Parking racks and bays on the street”

Its Senior Director of Public Policy, Nathan Ashley, added: “We are delighted to introduce more Voi electric scooter parking infrastructure to the region in recent weeks, as part of our continued commitment to promote parking. responsible.

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“The location of parking racks and street windows is carefully selected to avoid congestion and nuisance for other pedestrians.

“Voi continues to work closely with City Council and the West of England Combined Authority to ensure that these and future facilities are placed in the best and safest locations for pedestrians and other road users. road.”

Speaking at a press briefing today (Wednesday 18 August) Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said parking electric scooters can sometimes seem “chaotic” and the parking racks will help when they are not used.

In South Gloucestershire, it is hoped that the parking lots and painted bays in Filton, Patchway, Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford will reduce the problem, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

A Voi docking station has already appeared on a sidewalk in Bradley Stoke.

When asked if Bristol would introduce parking racks as well, Mr Rees said yes, adding: “Then it comes down to us agreeing on those locations.”

“It’s probably taking away a parking space here and there,” he added, noting that every lost parking space would result in lost revenue for the city.

Earlier this year Bristol Live reported a huge group of over 100 electric scooters crowding the sidewalk at Elm Lane near Whiteladies Road.

Voi electric scooters block the sidewalks of Bristol – at Royal York Crescent, Clifton

Speaking about the need for a solution, City Councilor Katy Grant said, “The sidewalk really needs to be a priority for people, including children, strollers and disabled devices.

“Scooters are driven on the road and must be parked on the road.”

“Discussions are continuing”

Bristol City Council, the city’s road authority, said it was working with Voi to resolve the issue.

A spokesperson said: “We are aware that there have been problems caused by a large number of scooters parked on the sidewalks and together we continue to explore a range of different options to help manage this problem. , in particular by using parking spaces rather than sidewalks.

“The Bristol electric scooter test is managed by Voi and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and we continue to work with them to resolve ongoing issues and encourage improved messaging to drivers to park electric scooters. responsible.

“These discussions are continuing with a view to presenting proposals for consideration and approval.”

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