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Knoxville community discusses turning parking spaces into scooter parking, requiring permit fees

Knoxville leaders gathered to discuss how to improve the city's e-scooter program before it ends on Dec. 31.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville leaders gathered Tuesday evening to discuss ways they could improve the city's e-scooter program. The current pilot program is set to end on Dec. 31 this year.

They said the scooters are mostly used in the downtown and Fort Sanders areas, with many people taking them to areas around Cumberland Avenue. They completed a community survey about e-scooters in February and found some common criticisms of the shared scooter system.

Most people complained about people riding them on sidewalks and said they were concerned they could lead to users and pedestrians getting hurt. Responders to the survey also said the scooters tended to be parked incorrectly.

Leaders proposed creating parking spaces for scooters and implementing a permit system to cover the fees. The City of Knoxville would initially pay for the parking spaces, but then recoup those payments with permit fees.

They planned for 15 scooter spaces to be created in the downtown and Fort Sanders areas. They would be able to store 10 devices at a time and said they should decrease clutter around Knoxville and help prevent people from riding on sidewalks.

"It’s a lot faster to ride over to Sevier Ave and get a beer on a nice day than it is to walk, but at the same time, not everyone is doing that with the scooters," said Chris Williams, who was at the meeting. "Some people are just driving up and down one-way streets and acting like they're the kings of the road."

Leaders also said they would be more responsive and consistent in fining riders who break the rules.

They also said they would propose adding 50 scooters, seated scooters and e-bikes to Knoxville's streets.

Before any changes can be made, the Knoxville City Council would need to approve them. City leaders are still collecting feedback on the e-scooter policies and anyone who wants to comment can email scooters@knoxvilletn.gov.