Scooters could come to Howard County

A Lime electric scooter is seen in this WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

Shared electric scooters continue to spread out into Washington’s suburbs, with Howard County, Maryland, the latest to say it’s considering them.

The Howard County Office of Transportation is developing a permit process that would allow e-scooter sharing companies to operate in public areas, including streets, sidewalks and bike lanes.

It says it is drafting its pilot based on experiences with shared scooters in other jurisdictions where they are currently allowed, including Baltimore, Montgomery County and D.C.

Howard County says several scooter companies have expressed interest in operating in Howard County, specifically in the areas of downtown Columbia and Gateway Business Park. It did not say which scooter companies have approached the county.

If Howard County moves forward with scooter permitting, it may begin in May of 2020.

“E-scooters can provide an additional transportation option and extend the reach of our transit system, but they do need to be managed and operated in a responsible way to keep our streets, sidewalks and pathways safe,” said Office of Transportation administrator Bruce Garner.

“This permit process will help accentuate the positives and minimize any negatives of shared electric scooters in Howard County.”

Howard County will need County Council Approval to update current county code that would allow for shared scooter operation in the county. Its update is currently under consideration by the County Council.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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