Mayor Walsh has filed a proposed ordinance that would let scooter companies begin lining city sidewalks with their for-hire two wheelers - as long as register with the city and promise to get their users not to block sidewalk ramps, crosswalks, fire hydrants and building entrances.
Rental scooters briefly made an appearance in Cambridge and Somerville last July, when one aggressive purveyor decided to emulate Uber and just start dumping the things all over the place without first getting permission. The cities then impounded many of the scooters.
Walsh's proposal, which must be approved by the City Council, would let the Boston transportation commissioner set maximum numbers for scooters allowed in Boston, both in general and per company - although the city would start with pilot programs before opening the throttle on scooters everywhere. The commissioner could also set requirements for distribution - for example, to ensure residents in farther flung neighborhoods get a chance to use the things.
The commissioner would be advised by a new Small Vehicle Sharing Business Advisory Committee composed of somebody from the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, the city Disabilities Commission and the city Environment Department.
The City Council could discuss the proposal at its regular meeting on Wednesday, although it will likely then assign the measure to a committee for study and for at least one public hearing before voting on it. The meeting begins at noon in the council's fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.