With summer on way, Rehoboth debates scooter parkingPermits, parking locations yet to be decided
Rehoboth Beach — Rehoboth Beach officials say they want to get scooters off the sidewalks and away from the bike racks, but they still haven't decided where scooters should be parked.
If this summer is anything like the last one, a deluge of scooters will flood city streets as summer approaches, and they will need a place to park.
“We’re now at the beginning of February," Mayor Sam Cooper warned.
Besides deciding where scooters should be parked, officials must also decide how much scooter parking will cost.
Commissioner Pat Coluzzi, chairwoman of the streets and transportation committee, has proposed establishing scooter parking at the Boardwalk end of almost every east-west street.
Coluzzi said one parking space on each street would be converted, each space making room for several scooters. The exceptions would be at Queen Street and Maryland and Olive avenues. She proposed signs to show where scooter parking is available.
Coluzzi said scooter parking would also not be needed near Funland, because people on scooters are not likely to be heading there.
That plan would allow the city to expand its capacity from 27 spaces to as many as 180, Coluzzi said. The city would lose 16 parking spaces and as a result could lose some parking revenue, she said.
Commissioner Bill Sargent said converting a few spaces for scooters will have little to no impact on city parking revenues. He said the parking may shift slightly further from the beach, but the demand for parking is not likely to change.
Sargent said while city officials have not set the price for scooter-parking permits, the committee has discussed a fee of $40 or $50.
When the streets and transportation committee gave its report to the commissioners Feb. 4, those plans were immediately greeted with skepticism.
Commissioner Stan Mills called Coluzzi’s plan ambitious and lobbied for using an area behind the fire hall, where the building and licensing trailer used to be, converting it to free scooter parking. Mills said this area could provide 60 spaces for scooters. Part of his proposal was opening up a pathway from behind the fire hall to provide access to Baltimore, Lake and Rehoboth avenues.
Commissioner Patrick Gossett said he would like to see the city collect more data so the commissioners would know how many scooter spaces are needed.
Cooper said while he appreciates the need to find a place for scooters to park, he has reservations about creating bike and scooter parking spaces in residential areas.
“To me, you’re not going to be able to provide a scooter parking space everywhere they want to park their scooter,” he said.
Cooper said scooters are inappropriate on the sidewalks and in the bike racks and the city does need to deal with that. Mills said he was hoping the city would soon draft an ordinance prohibiting scooters from parking on the sidewalk.
Sargent said the committee would continue its discussion of scooter parking at its Friday, March 1 meeting.
Gossett said, “The clock is ticking before Memorial Day is here. We can’t go in halfway done with this. To do it right the first time is imperative.”