CA Welcomes E-Scooters to Columbia
Columbia Association (CA) is proud to support an e-scooter pilot program to our community.
The system is operated by Spin through a permit provided by Howard County Office of Transportation and partnership with Downtown Columbia Partnership, Brookfield Properties (owner of The Mall in Columbia), CA and The Howard Hughes Corporation.
“Accessibility and connectivity matter. Columbia Association looks forward to working with our partners to build on our multimodal transportation options, ones that serve a growing number and greater diversity of people across the Columbia area,” CA President/CEO Lakey Boyd said. “We are pleased to see our pathways being utilized in this new, exciting way, and we look forward to seeing how the pilot program is received by the community.”
What are e-scooters?
E-scooters are an environmentally-friendly option designed to reduce road congestion. Like bicycles, they are driven on roads and trails and generally follow the same safety rules. Shared scooters have already proven to be an affordable and valuable first and last mile mode of transportation, providing connectivity to transit, business, employment and recreation.
Where are the e-scooters?
The pilot program includes up to 200 shared scooters and parking corrals, where scooters can be picked up and dropped off, on property of The Howard Hughes Corporation in Downtown Columbia, CA property in the Village of Wilde Lake and county right-of-way in the Oakland Mills Village Center, as well as other major destinations throughout the community.
The pilot program will test whether shared e-scooters provide efficient and inexpensive transportation for lower income individuals who do not own automobiles and for those in high density areas where a live-work-play lifestyle is being cultivated.
Am I allowed to ride e-scooters on CA pathways?
As a matter of fact, CA has allowed electric scooters to operate in CA open space for the past several years. The Board of DIrectors voted in September 2020 to update CA’s policies to allow certain motorized conveyances (e-scooters, electric bicycles, or a personal mobility device) to operate on CA’s pathways. Click here to access the Board agenda packet where you can read the policy change in its entirety (page 26).
The decision to revise the policy was in direct response to a new state law which became effective January 2020, which updated the state code to categorize electronic low-speed scooters as bicycles for the purposes of the Maryland Vehicle Law. Effectively, the same rules and regulations that govern bicycle users in the public rights-of-way now also pertain to e-scooters. CA policies already allowed certain classifications of electric bicycles. Therefore, the policies were updated to reflect this statewide change.
In that same meeting, the Board also voted to allow commercial e-scooter sharing services to operate on CA pathways subject to a license agreement between the parties.