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Sunday, October 1, 2023

We should embrace electric scooters, bicycles in downtown Ocala

To the Editor:

I am writing to advocate for the introduction and promotion of electric scooters and e-bikes in downtown Ocala and its surrounding areas. As our community progresses, it’s crucial that our transportation choices evolve in tandem, emphasizing efficiency, sustainability, and accessibility.

Electric scooters and e-bikes represent the next wave in micro-transportation. Here’s why they make sense for Ocala:

  • Environmental benefits: With zero emissions, these electrically propelled vehicles are eco-friendly, helping reduce our carbon footprint and making our town a greener, cleaner place to live.
  • Alleviating traffic and parking woes: E-scooters and e-bikes have a smaller footprint than traditional vehicles. They can help de-congest our roads and lessen the strain on parking spaces. Imagine a downtown Ocala with more open spaces and less parking-related stress.
  • Promoting accessibility: Micro-transportation vehicles are typically more affordable than cars and even public transport over time. By incorporating them, we provide an affordable commuting option for residents, potentially widening the range of employment and social opportunities.
  • Safety and integration with existing infrastructure: If users adhere to bicycle laws – which they should – there’s no reason e-scooters and e-bikes shouldn’t be allowed wherever bicycles can ride. Moreover, with the introduction of more dedicated bike lanes in Marion County, it would further ensure the safety of all road users and seamlessly integrate these new transportation means.
  • Economic boost: Many cities globally have seen local businesses flourish with the introduction of micro-transportation. Residents and tourists alike can easily hop on an e-scooter/bike and navigate to a local cafe, boutique, or art gallery, promoting local trade and commerce.

Ocala has always been a forward-thinking community, eager to adopt strategies that enhance the quality of life for its residents. By welcoming electric scooters and e-bikes, we take a step towards a sustainable, accessible, and vibrant future. Many cities who implement these forms of micro-transportation see improved commute times, more economic activities in their cities, more efficient food delivery, more opportunities for tourism, and even opportunities for local residents to rediscover the beautiful parks, trails, and sights in their area.

I urge our local decision-makers to seriously consider this proposal and to recognize the many benefits these new transport options can bring to our beloved community.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I hope to see transportation options enhanced for all Ocala residents in the near future.

Scott D’Ambra
Ocala resident