Rehoboth Creates Scooter Parking to Address Safety Concerns
REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - A series of new parking spaces specifically for scooters could address safety concerns raised by businesses in Rehoboth Beach.
The city divided five traditional parking spaces on the street into 29 moped spots, the first of their kind within city limits.
Businesses complained scooters were driving down sidewalks to park near bike racks creating a safety concern for pedestrians.
"We have plenty of old folks, little kids running around not watching. They shouldn't have to watch," said Jeffrey Clayton, who owns a business near a bike rack on Rehoboth Avenue. "They're on the sidewalks and scooters come straight up. Those things are going to hit somebody."
The scooter parking spots are located on Baltimore Avenue, Wilmington Avenue and Christian Street.
Clayton called the new spots a step in the right direction but expressed opposition that scooter drivers using the spaces will not have to pay to park.
Commissioner Pat Coluzzi said the city sacrificed parking revenue from the five spots as a short term fix to improve safety. She noted scooter drivers may have to pay to park next year.
"I think this gives scooters an opportunity to put their scooters in a place that's convenient for them and also make it a lot easier for people who are trying to park their bicycles," Coluzzi said.
The city is experiencing a huge increase in the number of scooters and bikes in town this summer, Coluzzi said. She attributed the increase to a growing number of businesses renting mopeds this year.
The city recently installed two bicycle parking stations at the corner of Baltimore Avenue and 1st Street as part of a grant from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; planters with dividers surround a bike rack on the street. Coluzzi said the project totaled around $9,000.
The pilot program for parking stations is facing criticism. Businesses owners objected to the location near a busy intersection and many scooters and mopeds parked in spaces meant for bikes.
"I feel that maybe mid-block would've been a little bit better," said Will Klemkowski, general manager of Jake's Seafood. "To have it right on the corner I think is adding a little too much volume to this busy corner that's already tremendously overwhelmed."
A greenhouse gas reduction grant helped pay for the structures, creating some debate over whether it was appropriate for scooters to park there. The city has since installed signage informing scooter drivers to park elsewhere.
"We've gotten a lot of positive comments on them," Coluzzi said. "People are very happy to see them."
The city is expected to reevaluate the changes after the season, Coluzzi said.