Managing a Scooter Parking Program
by Michelle Wahl, CAPP
As a parking administrator, you must embrace other modes of transportation to support your organizations or, in this case, the City of Bloomington’s sustainability initiatives. The City of Bloomington has contracted several scooter vendors that serve our community members and students around Bloomington downtown. These contracts are managed by the Office of Economic and Sustainable Development.
Unfortunately, the scooter rider’s habitual bad parking habits weighed on the community. As you can imagine, the scooters did not enhance the aesthetics of the downtown, and oftentimes, these scooters were left in the middle of sidewalks, landscapes, and street parking spaces. The community spoke out loudly about some type of enforcement and monitoring or even financial penalties needed to be discussed and this was supported by the city council. The mayor’s office decided to start the initiative and asked the Parking Services Division to hire two part-time scooter parking officers to gather data on the types of violations and locations. This newly created program was birthed as the Scooter Pilot Parking Program. Parking had to seek an outside employment agency to get the program immediately off the ground.
The data gathering was done Monday through Saturday daily for approximately 50 hours a week. Unfortunately, we had a large hurdle of getting part-time staff to stay longer than a week at a time. Foot patrol in our downtown was their assignment. They were asked to locate an illegally parked scooter, take a picture with a handheld device (enforcement), then locate the ID tag on a scooter and take a picture of it, and then lastly, take a third picture of the scooter now parked legally.
The Mayor’s office asked the Public Works Administration to initiate geo-fencing by creating defined scooter corrals for all downtown areas where scooters were supposed to be dropped off without the rider not being fined by the scooter vendor. The Parking Service Division was doing data collection and sending weekly reports to the Scooter Pilot Parking Program committee for review.
Geo-fencing with dedicated scooter corrals curbed habitual bad parking habits. Also, with the new scooter company contracts, they are now responsible for paying monthly invoices for those patrons that do not follow the new geo-fencing requirements and continue to park scooters illegally.