Self-service electric scooters, which disappeared from the streets of Montreal after a single season in 2019, will be back next summer in the alleys of Parc Jean-Drapeau, where we are trying to reduce car traffic.
The executive committee of the City of Montreal adopted last Wednesday, behind closed doors, a by-law to allow the establishment of this service on the islands of Notre-Dame and Sainte-Hélène, with a fleet of 100 to 200 scooters, from June 24 as of November 15, 2023.
Among the six major priorities for action defined by the Société du parc Jean-Drapeau (SPJD) in its 2020-2030 Master Plan, adopted in 2021, is that of “eliminating car traffic in the Park and offering an option to sustainable mobility”, recall the documents presented to the executive committee.
Among the requirements imposed on the future operator of the service, we find the obligation to implement a GPS system to locate each scooter in real time, prevent its locking elsewhere than in the planned areas, limit its speed and prevent access to certain areas.
He must also provide a protective helmet for each user.
The scooters must not obstruct traffic, in particular pedestrians and people with reduced mobility, it is also specified.
These electric vehicles were offered for self-service on the streets of Montreal during the summer of 2019, but the experiment ended in failure: barely 20% of the scooters were parked in the reserved areas. They ended up in places where they interfered with traffic, which prompted the municipal administration to ban them after a few months.
In addition to the problematic parking, their cohabitation with pedestrians and cyclists has been difficult.
A spokeswoman for Parc Jean-Drapeau, Jessica Gaulin, said Friday that geolocation technology will allow the operator to operate a virtual guarding system to control, in real time, each scooter according to its geographical position and send instant messages to its user, which should avoid the pitfalls encountered in the streets of Montreal.
The helmet will also be compulsory for users of scooters on the islands, but Ms Gaulin did not specify what hygiene measures will be put in place for these shared helmets.
Currently, automobile traffic lanes and parking lots occupy 10% of the surface area of Parc Jean-Drapeau. When unveiling its new master plan two years ago, the City announced that it wanted to reduce parking spaces by 80%, and only allow buses, maintenance vehicles and delivery trucks to circulate on the islands.
Many parking lots need to be replaced with green spaces and river canals. We planned to concentrate the parking supply near the Casino de Montréal, La Ronde and in a new multi-purpose building to be built near the Jacques-Cartier bridge.
In particular, parking spaces must disappear in favor of a 15-kilometre promenade along the banks.