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A Bad New Argument Against Scooters: Historic Inappropriateness

The argument over whether electric scooters belong in Old Town Alexandria reflects an age-old rationalization against change.
An electric scooter co-existing with pre-electric scooter urban fabric.
An electric scooter co-existing with pre-electric scooter urban fabric.Jeff Chiu/AP

Neighborhood change can be a frightening thing for longtime residents. A proposed mid-rise threatens to blot out someone’s cherished view. A new bus stop might bring fears of future parking troubles. And a scattering of dockless scooters may herald the rise of a new generation with different priorities—one that’s happy to sacrifice some sidewalk space to get around without a car.  

For example, see a recent tussle over dockless electric scooters in Old Town Alexandria, a district of the Northern Virginia city that has been designated as historic since 1946. There, a local vigilante has been slapping “Save Historic Alexandria” stickers on Lime, Bird, Jump, Bolt, Skip, Spin, and Lyft two-wheelers that are apparently violating the area’s colonial-era aura.