Electric scooters are currently illegal in New York City. But with the L train shutdown quickly approaching, Brooklyn officials are pushing to legalize them as a transit alternative to the subway. Council Members Antonio Reynoso and Ydanis Rodriguez announced on Monday plans to introduce legislation that would make e-scooters legal, amNY reported. “The L train shutdown is real. It is going to happen. It is going to be disruptive,” Reynoso said. “When that shuts down, they’re all going to need alternate transportation.”
NYC trans. options have been limited + unreliable for too long. I support the legalization of electric scooters. Thanks to my NYC Council colleagues for championing this initiative; I look forward to the intro of this safe, innovative + environmentally friendly transp option. pic.twitter.com/zdcaDOaXr2
— Antonio Reynoso (@CMReynoso34) September 24, 2018
According to Reynoso, if e-scooters become legal, the city would put out a request for proposal looking for companies to launch a pilot program. Reynoso said Williamsburg, a neighborhood he represents, could serve as the first neighborhood with the scooters.
The company selected would be an e-scooter sharing program, set up similarly to Citi Bike. The scooters would not be able to travel faster than 15 miles per hour and be regulated by the city. Citi Bike plans on bringing 1,000 e-bikes ahead of the L-train shutdown this spring. Until July, pedal-assist bikes had been illegal in the city.
Other cities have rolled out e-scooters, and Bird, an electric scooter rental service, has expressed interest in bringing its program to New York. Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in a statement he’s open to the scooters, but only if safety concerns are addressed.
“I could see scooters being particularly helpful in parts of the city that lack access to mass transit. Plus they look fun!” Johnson said in a statement. “But in order for them to work, public safety must be paramount and we need to avoid the problems other cities are seeing right now with scooters struggling to share space on sidewalks and streets.”
As a more conventional L-train alternative, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on Monday plans to add more scheduled service to the 6 and 7 trains beginning in April.
“It’s extremely important for us to get the subway service alternatives right during the L tunnel reconstruction project because we plan to accommodate up to 80 percent of the diverted L riders on other subway lines, “Andy Byford, president of NYC Transit, said in a press release.
In April, five additional round trips will be added on the 7-line between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. on weekdays and nine additional round trips on the same line between 5:30 p.m. and midnight on weekdays.
For the 6 line, there will be one additional round trip between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.
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