Boot scoot: Carelessly parked e-scooters hurting Ottawa business
Curbside pick-up conundrum caused by scooters blocking designated area
An Ottawa grocery store manager is frustrated by users of e-scooters who left them parked in her store's curbside pick-up area, creating headaches for customers.
Marilyn Dib, operations manager of Cedars & Co. Food Market on Bank Street in Old Ottawa South, says she noticed four orange e-scooters blocking the store's curbside pick-up area on Wednesday morning.
She immediately contacted the city and the scooter company, Neuron, for their removal.
"Customers were actually coming in to complain that these scooters had fallen on the road or when somebody tried to open their car door, it created a domino effect," Dib said.
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Dib says customers were unable to park in the designated grocery pick-up spot, or open their car doors safely without knocking the scooters over. She says she had to cancel the service for the day while waiting for the scooters to be picked up.
The e-scooters were removed one day later and the storefront has since been designated a "no park zone" by Neuron's operations team. Dib says she's still worried there isn't much stopping users from leaving them out front of her store again.
"We were not given any type of information to say that they wouldn't return. I am concerned because it was an obstruction for our business," Dib said.
E-scooters in their 2nd year in Ottawa
Ottawa city council enacted the Electric Kick Scooter Bylaw in June 2020 that made it legal to operate e-scooters in the city. The city's pilot project is in its second season, and has doubled the number of e-scooters this summer from 600 to 1,200.
Neuron is the newest company to be added to the roads this year, along with Bird Canada and Lime.
A spokesperson for Neuron says the company has received few parking and sidewalk riding complaints since their launch in June.
"We are continually adjusting our geofenced zones to better integrate in the community. We continue to work with the City and wider community to enhance safety for both our riders and also pedestrians," its statement said.
All e-scooters in the city include customer service contact information, "no riding on sidewalks" stickers, and "hang tags" that provide additional guidance on proper riding and parking procedures. The rules are difficult to enforce, though.
From the launch of the e-scooter program on May 28 to July 18, there have been 81 e-scooter inquiries, according to the City of Ottawa.
The program email, email@example.com, has received 102 inquiries — mostly about improperly parked e-scooters and sidewalk riding.
Coun. Shawn Menard, who represents Capital ward where Cedars and Co. is located, said his office has been made aware of the situation. City staff are working with other e-scooter providers to implement the same no-parking zone outside of the store, he said.