Where to Park a Vespa in NYC?


While the city is awash in places to park cars on the street and there is some provision for cyclists to park on sidewalks in some places, deciding where to park a Vespa is a difficult choice. Leave it on the street (like the photo above) where some automobile driver will inevitably hit it while trying to parallel park, or park it on the sidewalk where it might get a ticket since it’s technically illegal (like the one below). And the city is starting to crack down on sidewalk parking.


Note how little space the scooters take up on both the street and the sidewalk. Now, what if there was dedicated parking for scooters and other motorcycles. What would that look like? It might look like this well-organized street in downtown San Francisco:


Photo Credits: DcolLisa Whiteman, myself

  • clearly vesparadoes and cyclists have common cause in convincing teh city to turn one car parking space per block into “bike” parking (both the motorized and non motorized variety)

    much more efficient use of the space, promote more energy and spatially efficient transportation, free up valuable sidewalk space. this woudl also stop the terrible “bike on bike” violence that is plaguing certain nabes in teh city. i mean, pedal bikes are clearly superior, but vespas take up about as much room as a hummer’s rear view mirror. vespies and cyclists unite!

  • Create a parking spot or two for the Segways and, boy, you’ve got an unstoppable coalition. Unfortunately, the bike and ped advocates have this irrational fear of the Segway stealing all of the city’s sidewalk space…

  • I agree… Two wheelers unite!

    Read the platform:

    Sign the Vespatition! 🙂

  • John

    Scooters and motorcycles are anathema to anyone who is concerned about global warming, since scooters and motorcycles are motor vehicles that spew greenhouse gases. Anyone concerned about global warming should ditch his or her scooter and ride a bicycle instead.

  • John

    While biking is the best way to reduce oil consumption and prevent greenhouse gas emissions, it’s not the only way. Every step in the right direction is good.

    Mopeds, scooters or even power assist bicycles can save a tremendous amount of pollution compared to even the most efficient automobiles. They are much easier to power with electricity, which could be produced from renewable sources. In areas with lots of hills, cycling without some type of power assist will frankly never be practical for the average person.

    And in terms of land use, they take up much less space than automobiles.

    Lane’s suggestion of a one spot per block for two wheel vehicles makes a lot of sense, particularly in the Central Business district.


  • Glenn,

    I agree that EV scooters are better for the environment than cars. However, most mopeds and many scooters are powered by 2-stroke engines, which produce a tremendous amount of pollution. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if two-stroke mopeds and scooters produce more air pollution than motor vehicles powered by 4-stroke engines. Anecdotally, it seems to me that most mopeds, scooters and motorcycles produce far more noise pollution than automobiles. Based on the above, an increase in the number of mopeds, scooters and motorcycles is arguably a big step in the wrong direction. Food for thought.


  • P.S. Just as I suspected! A March 2005 study by the Environmental Protection Agency shows most scooters on the road pollute more than SUVs. Check it out:

  • This was a piece more about land use and the spatial difference between cars and two wheelers and how we make no provision for “alternative vehicles” on the streets.

    But I do appreciate the environmental concerns you raise and as you point out, not all mopeds are the same when it comes to air pollution. Vespa maintains that their current scooters beat even hybrids in terms of reduction of greenhouse gases.

    But here’s what could be done to clean up the older models or less environmentally friendly models out there:

    Air Pollution – that can be regulated with simple emissions testing requirements at the yearly inspection. Eventually this would phase out the older more polluting models and encourage more EVs.

    Noise pollution – again, this can be regulated too, and enforcement of “after market” changes to mufflers can be made at yearly inspections.


  • AD

    My friend has gotten many parking tickets for his Vespa-like scooter (It’s a KimCo), when he’s parked between cars. Sometimes the enforcement agent will assign lack-of-meter-payment to the scooter even though a car is in the whole space.

  • yourscootersucks

    “Mopeds, scooters or even power assist bicycles can save a tremendous amount of pollution compared to even the most efficient automobiles. “…

    Are you insane or just stupid ?! Do you have ANY idea of how much paticulte matter pollution 2-strokes (yes even the “new” versions) put out per a mile travled? The differential between a 50cc 2 -stroke scooter and an emmisions controled auto/truck/SUV (even a new diesel bus) is MUCH more than even the the HC or CO2.

  • Amazing how statistics can fool stupid people. And even more amazing how arrogant stupid people can be.

    It’s a lot more complicated than that.

    Get your facts straight before insulting people.


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