Letter to the Editor: Where is Lady Bird Johnson When We Need Her?

By Hal Hardaway

Some samples of littering since May 20:

Note the 83 year old lady in the blue top having to lean over a scooter to put in the access code for the building she lives in.  She’s on a cane.

The city has been dismissive of ADA (American for Disabilities Act) violations by scooters, like blocking the ramps at intersections that transition from street to sidewalk level for wheelchairs and those physically challenged, and scooters preventing handicapped people from egressing vehicles because the door cannot be opened.

Always thought “walk” was part and parcel of the word “sidewalk”.

Not in Alexandria.

What is particularly noteworthy is the doublespeak we’ve heard about walking, walkability and all that. “Walkability” was and is justification for doing away with curbside vehicular parking, granting unjustified waivers for development to increase density, health benefits, ad nauseum.

So why are all the youngsters, many under age, well under age, cavorting on these scooters and not walking?  Responsible, mature people understand the benefits of walking. Scooters are the antithesis of the walkability city hall has promoted, when convenient. Moreover, run the health benefit numbers on scootering vs. bicycling.

Perhaps you’ve seen the memorandum to extend the scooter pilot program past September. One of the metrics is the number of trips on scooters, which of course increased as spring and summer came on. Will be interesting to see if and how those numbers are spun to justify continuation of the scooter pilot program.

That those numbers show scooters are a success could not be further from the truth.   It’s quite obvious 90+% of the scootering in Old  Town is joy rides.  Our streets and sidewalks have become a carnival ride, at the expense of the general public.  I hear it’s a problem inDel Ray. Will take a look  tomorrow.

Often have heard scooter proponents say “It’s fun”; I don’t dispute that.  But remember lots of things are fun, but they’re also illegal in public, especially when they’re a safety hazard.

It’s interesting how, despite all the problems with the scooters, the city is pumping up efforts to make them a “success”.   One would think residents, small businesses and neighborhoods would be afforded more regard and respect.

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Since you don’t dispute that riding a scooter is fun, then isn’t it a no brainier that 90+ percent of the rides will be joyful? Why can’t transportation be fun? Sitting in car traffic is miserable. I’m a 36 year old male, far from a “youngster” and I walk, run, bike, scoot and even drive my way through Alexandria. I’ll save you a trip to Del Ray…people are out n about, taking all forms of transportation. The other day I saw a reenactor heading to work on a scooter (I can only assume he doesn’t normally wear colonial garb), and I thought, wow this city sure has changed over the last 300 years. And, change is good. From a colonial town, to an active port city, to a sleepy DC neighborhood, and to its current state as a vibrant diverse society that strives to create a better community. While there is definitely room for scooter improvement, this highly opinionated letter is filled with negativity and offers zero solutions, suggestions or compromises. I expect more regard and respect for public discourse.

  2. I love the scooters. So many naysayers in Alexandria. I’m sure Lady Bird Johnson would love all of the horrible traffic in Old town.

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