The sight of e-scooters strewn across the streets of Helsinki may become a thing of the past, as city officials are preparing to introduce designated parking spaces for the devices.
"The policy for e-scooters would be similar to that for city bikes, which always have to be returned to a rack, except there will be no racks for e-scooters, just a specific place where they must be parked," Reetta Putkonen, head of transport planning for the City of Helsinki, explained.
This means that problematic practices, such as parking in the middle of a footpath or against the walls of buildings, would no longer be permitted. The City also plans to place traffic signs around the downtown area, indicating where e-scooters can and cannot be parked.
"E-scooters have caused a lot of problems in the city centre because there are so many of them," Putkonen added.
According to a City estimate, there were around 15,000 rentable e-scooters on the streets of Helsinki as of last autumn. The devices are rented out by five firms: Bird, Bolt, Lime, Ryde, Tier and Voi.
In order to create space for designated e-scooter parking spots, the City has proposed devoting a certain number of spaces currently used to park cars.
As the distances travelled by-scooters tend to be quite short, operators have requested that the parking spaces be in close proximity to each other — for example every 50 metres.
"It is likely that there will be one parking space on each side of each block, which can accommodate a dozen scooters," Putkonen said.
With this change, she said the city is aiming to ensure accessible and safe mobility for all residents and tourists as reckless parking of e-scooters has caused problems for pedestrians, cyclists and road traffic.
The new parking guidelines would only be rolled out in the city centre area, and would not extend to the city's outskirts.
The City's proposal will be presented to the public for comment and feedback, with an impact assessment also in the works.
Putkonen said that the proposal will be brought to the Urban Environment Committee in March, so that the new policy can be put into force when the e-scooter season starts again at the beginning of April.
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