- The City of Denver will soon paint dockless vehicle parking zones at bus and transit stops that are experiencing "heavy parking activity," according to Heather Burke, a Denver Public Works (DPW) spokesperson. DPW is currently evaluating where the zones are needed, and plans to install them in the coming weeks.
- DPW developed the idea through the Dockless Mobility Pilot Permit Program, a subset of the Transit Amenities Program, which aims to improve the city's streetscape. "The introduction of painted parking areas is also a trend we’re seeing nationally, to help create better organization in the public right of way and predictability for users," Burke said in an emailed statement to Smart Cities Dive.
- Riders will be able to leave any scooters or dockless bikes in the parking zones, regardless of operators. "It’s in the operators best interest to educate riders how and where to properly park scooters and dockless bikes, as their permits are revocable," Burke said. "Our team continues to monitor behavior and are in close communication with operators about any compliance issues."
Burke noted that through this effort, the city is advancing its Mobility Action Plan, which aims to reduce emissions 80% by 2050; reach 30% of commuters biking, walking or taking transit by 2030; and reach zero traffic deaths by 2030. And while painting parking zones won't be the direct key to reaching these goals, it is a step forward in ensuring that dockless scooter-share and bike-share remain viable transportation options.
As the dockless trend has exploded in the last year, "littering" has remained the top concern of the cities that have welcomed — or have involuntarily become home to — the vehicles. Riders often leave bikes or scooters splayed across sidewalks, abandoned in the center of alleyways or even in bizarre locations like trees or waterways, which creates an environment of clutter and chaos.
In a city such as Denver, which issued dockless permits only a month ago, taking quick action to avoid this clutter is a smart move — especially as the city anticipates an influx of vehicles to rapidly come online over the next few weeks.
Aside from clutter, dockless vehicles can create significant obstacles for folks who are in wheelchairs or need extra space to maneuver sidewalks. Even properly parked scooters can become an issue if left on a narrow walkway, as evidenced by Emily Shryock, a resident of Austin, TX.
By painting the designated parking zones near transit stops, Denver is following the footsteps of cities including Seattle and Singapore in encouraging more responsible behaviors of the riders. Cities like Austin can also take note of this solution to encourage proper parking in favorable locations to both riders and the general public.
Correction: A previous version of this story inaccurately stated when the parking spots would be painted.