In an ordinance passed unanimously last night, the Hoboken City Council has moved to amend the rules for e-scooters to add an operational ban in City parks—including the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. The vote came after a long period of public comment, highlighted by a passionate appeal from a mother who was struck by a scooter last week, knocking her and her infant to the ground.
The addendum to the ordinance states that, “No person shall ride on the portion of the Waterfront Walkway that begins at the North End of Sinatra Park running south to the municipal border including but not limited to the promenade area adjacent to Blue Eyes Café nor the portion of the Waterfront Walkway that begins at the south end of the Skateboard Park and runs north to the Municipal Border.”
However, “This prohibition shall not include bike lanes or roadways along the Waterfront Walkway,” which means scooters may still ride in designated areas on the Waterfront.
This move to clampdown on reckless e-scooter activity in Hoboken is the latest in what has been a fundamentally reactive approach to safety, following the e-scooter program’s rollout in May 2019. Within 24 hours of the launch, the City had received thousands of complaints.
“I would like to thank my colleagues for joining me in moving to restrict eScooters from our city parks and Waterfront Walkways, building on the continued efforts this City Council and the administration have undertaken to protect pedestrians, especially children and families walking in our public spaces,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. “While there are clearly mobility benefits offered by the eScooter program, the simple fact is that until residents feel safe walking in our city we must continue working to make the program safer. I will continue working with my colleagues to institute stricter safety requirements wherever needed, while also working to identify ways to enhance enforcement and relieve the burden on Hoboken’s police and continuing to build out supportive infrastructure like bike lanes and road improvements.”
The program’s popularity in Hoboken is significant, with Lime most recently reporting 390,000+ trips by over 60,000+ unique riders since May. The company has unveiled a newer version of its scooter, which Lime claims was built for safety and comfort with upgraded 10” wheels to improve stability, a mountain bike-inspired front suspension system, multimodal braking, and longer battery life.
“We’re thrilled to roll out these new scooters in Hoboken because the Lime 3.0 scooter is built with riders in mind. The scooter’s more durable frame, upgraded wheels, and multimodal braking is meant to make riders feel more comfortable and safer. The Lime scooter program has been immensely popular in Hoboken and with the 3.0’s longer-lasting battery, our scooters can keep up with demand,” said Phil Jones, Senior Director of East Coast Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships at Lime. “Hoboken took the lead in supporting micromobility in the Tri-State area, and aims to improve its transportation network so that residents have reliable and convenient options around the Mile Square City.”
Lime is Hoboken’s sole remaining e-scooter service provider, following the City’s termination of OjO’s contract last week. Hoboken’s e-scooter rideshare pilot program is set for review in November, at which point the City will decide whether to maintain the agreements or terminate the program.