AUSTIN (KXAN) — Electric scooters should be allowed on some parkland trails in the Austin area, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department has said.
Following a pilot program that ran between January and September 2019, the department has recommended to the city that scooter use should be permitted on certain trails.
A memo addressed to Mayor Adler and the city council from Kimberly McNeeley, director of Austin Parks and Recreation, describes the results of the pilot and offers recommendations going forward.
Despite recommending scooter use on some trails, the Ann and Roy Butler Trail, which runs alongside Lady Bird Lake, should continue to be used as a hike and bike trail where scooters are not permitted, McNeeley wrote.
During the pilot study, electric scooters and bikes were allowed on some trails in Austin, including the Shoal Creek Trail south of 15th Street and the Johnson Creek Trail.
Educational pop-ups were introduced on the Ann and Roy Butler Trail, and trail etiquette signage was installed to communicate safe guidelines, according to the memo.
Analysis of 3-1-1 reports during that time showed scooter speed to be the most reported behavior that concerned trailer users.
As a result, geofencing was implemented in the final month of the pilot, limiting the vehicles’ speed to 8 mph.
In its recommendations, the Parks and Recreation Department said electric scooters should be allowed on identified paved parkland trails that were part of the pilot.
This would create a “culture of shared trails,” the memo said.
However, it was also recommended that the hike and bike trail should continue to operate without the use of electric scooters.
“With this additional use there will be a continued need to manage, evaluate and adjust to ensure that all trail users have a safe and enjoyable experience,” McNeeley wrote.