Ohio News Briefs

Columbus bans scooters from sidewalks in emergency order

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s capital city has issued an emergency order banning electric scooters from sidewalks.

Columbus Department of Public Service Director Jennifer Gallagher issued the order Tuesday as city administrators wait for the City Council to return from summer recess and consider permanent code changes.

The Columbus Dispatch reports electric scooters in Columbus have ignited an intense debate within City Hall, where officials have mulled a response to the sudden appearance of ride-share scooters operated by tech vendors Bird and Lime.

Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is a minor misdemeanor in Columbus. If the council approves proposed legislative changes, riding an electric scooter on a sidewalk also would be a misdemeanor.

Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday to discuss proposed laws governing scooters.

City council postpones decision on homeless camp in Ohio

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A city council in Ohio has postponed a vote about whether residents of a tent city on private property can continue living there.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports Akron City Council members said Monday they wanted time to review a 1,000-page document prepared by legal advocates for 44 homeless people living in the northeast Ohio encampment.

The encampment sits on property owned by local businessman Sage Lewis, who founded the nonprofit Homeless Charity after Akron officials relocated a homeless camp last January. It has a 20-person waitlist.

A judge in southwest Ohio banned homeless camps from all of Hamilton County last month. The order ended a monthlong tug-of-war between local officials and homeless advocates in Cincinnati.

The Akron City Council plans to continue discussing the issue next Monday.

Cincinnati approves bus-only traffic lane pilot program

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati will test a bus-only traffic lane in its downtown area.

WCPO-TV reports the City Council’s Education, Innovation and Growth Committee voted unanimously to approve the trial Tuesday. Under the plan, only bus traffic will be permitted to use the right parking lane on Main Street between Government Square and Central Parkway during rush hour.

The trial will determine both the effect on traffic and bus arrival times. Parking is already restricted in the lane between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. so it won’t be altered.

Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld says the bus-only lanes are an integral part of growing cities. Sittenfeld believes the lanes make cities attractive to people.

Officials say the city needs to remove a curb “bump-out” along the route before the trial starts.