Good news, Fairfax County. You now have one more option for getting from point A to point B, and it doesn’t involve paying more tolls or sitting in traffic on Chainbridge Road. Lime, the company behind the electric scooters that have popped up across the country, will begin stationing their scooters in Fairfax County on March 22. Lime plans to roll out its scooters in areas including Fairfax City, Vienna, Merrifield, and Falls Church.
This comes after the Virginia General Assembly recently approved a law giving localities more power to regulate scooter businesses. (Unfortunately, they have not given local governments the same power on other important things..like gun laws. But more on that below.)
Fairfax County is not the first locality in the state to sign-off on Lime; Richmond’s City Council voted 6-3 in favor of regulating scooters and creating a permit program for them. Mayor Levar Stoney pushed for the scooters, arguing they lead to “in reduced car usage, increased rates of transit use, lower parking demand, increase sales for local small business, and improved public health, among other positive outcomes.”
Lime also operates in Arlington and Charlottesville and the company also won approval in Alexandria for its fleet of electric scooters and bikes as part of a pilot program.
While Fairfax County local officials might celebrate this small step in favor of local control, they are still struggling to get the power to pass gun safety laws without the General Assembly’s approval. Depending on how the elections go in November, legislators in 2020 could empower local governments to pass their own laws on everything from gun safety to protections for LGBTQ residents to housing & education initiatives.
Until Democrats take control of the General Assembly, its likely localities will be hamstrung by the state government on these important issues. But at least we have scooters.