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Could electric scooter sharing be coming to Howard County?

Posted at 2:41 PM, Jan 16, 2020

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — Electric scooter sharing companies could soon be coming to Howard County.

County officials are working to develop a permit process to allow electric scooter sharing in public areas, pathways, streets, sidewalks, and bike lanes.

Other jurisdictions such as Baltimore City, Montgomery County, and Washington D.C. have already allowed companies to operate.

Howard County is pursuing legislation to update the County Code which is currently under consideration by the County Council, as Council Bill 3-2020.

The update will also add the definition of electric low speed scooters, bringing the County Code into agreement with the State Code.

“Over the past year, we have worked towards a more multi-modal community by funding $2.2 million for bicycle infrastructure projects, passing complete streets legislation, expanding RTA bus hours and routes, and now developing a permitting process for electric scooters,” said Howard County Executive Ball. “We’re planning ahead to ensure that when scooters do arrive, they are safe, accessible, and work within our current infrastructure.”

The electric scooter sharing system permit process will be managed by the Howard County Office of Transportation and is expected to begin in May of 2020. Permits will dictate the parameters that the scooter sharing companies must operate under, including the speed of the scooters, where they can be parked, minimum and maximum quantities, operator response time, data sharing, insurance requirements and permit fees.

Companies have recently expressed interest in operating in the areas of Downtown Columbia and Gateway Business Park.

The County has reached out to major landowners and destinations in those areas to address their concerns.