Ocean Beach Planning Board to Review City’s Proposals for Scooter Regulations – Wed., March 6

by on March 6, 2019 · 6 comments

in Ocean Beach

A rainbow of colored scooters, next to the OB Lifeguard parking lot, 3/1/19. Photo by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Planning Board takes on dockless scooters at their Wednesday, March 6 public meeting.

Or rather they are set to review the proposed regulations for scooters recommended by a City Council committee, before those recommendations go before the full Council. And the recommendations are really Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposals, with some amendments. The OB Board meets at 6pm sharp at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue

The only other major item on the Board’s agenda is a discussion and recommendations of budget funding requests for local projects for the upcoming fiscal year. There is also the annual election going on that Wednesday with polls open from 4pm to 7pm – also at the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

It is time for the OB planners to take on the scooter issue. This community – and others – have been inundated with the various brands of scooters clogging our public right of way, sidewalks, crosswalks, any open spaces – and it is time to rein in these motorized vehicles, as local injuries mount literally on a daily basis.

On February 20, the Council’s Active Transportation & Infrastructure Committee met and voted unanimously to forward Faulconer’s recommendations — with amendments — to the full City Council. A date for that hearing has not been determined.

Faulconer’s proposals don’t go far enough, in our opinion; they don’t set limits on the numbers the different companies can dump onto San Diego’s streets and sidewalks. Proponents say the city will charge a license fee for each vehicle and that will limit the numbers.

Here’s a report from the La Jolla Light about the fee – limit issue:

Fees: Companies would be required to obtain operating permits every six months in January and June, which declare and fix the size of each vehicle fleet. Companies would have to pay associated fees to be established by the City Council. The mayor has proposed $253 a permit and up to $150 per device annually.

[Mayoral representative Greg]Block said these fees would act as a “de-facto cap” on the number of scooters and has been calculated based on amounts other cities are imposing. Those scooters illegally parked and reported could be impounded, and the Mayor’s regulations suggest a $65 retrieval fee, and $1 per day fee for storage of impounded devices

Also from the Light on the issue of speed:

Speed: Companies would be required to restrict vehicle speeds using geo-fencing technology in designated zones to 8 miles an hour in the following areas: the boardwalks in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla, as well as Spanish Landing and Petco, Balboa, Mission Bay and NTC parks. In the North Embarcadero and Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade, dockless bikes and scooters would be slowed to 3 miles an hour, with riders receiving alerts that those areas are “no-ride zones.”

Important for beach people, the issue of parking:

Parking: Riders will also be prevented from ending rides in certain high-traffic areas, including on the boardwalks, around Petco Park and the Embarcadero in downtown. Those working for dockless bike and scooter companies will also be restricted in where they can set up the vehicles. The devices must be staged in groups of no more than four and at least 40 feet apart.

The devices cannot be parked within 500 feet of K-12 public schools or hospitals, or within six feet of bus and trolley stops. Residents would be encouraged to report improperly parked or abandoned vehicles using the city’s “Get It Done” app. Dockless scooter and bike companies will be notified as a result and given three hours to move a device or face impound and other fees.

(For the other elements of Faulconer’s plan at the Light.) Here’s another source that sums up Faulconer’s proposals.

Here’s the OBPB official agenda for March 6:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ March 5, 2019 at 3:01 pm

“it is time to rein in these motorized vehicles, as local injuries mount literally on a daily basis.”

Exactly, we really should ban cars from Newport and Bacon streets, and reclaim at least half of the beach parking lots for park space, human space, mass transit stops, and other car-alternatives. The experiment where that happened for one day was great. And people love the Newport farmers market and street fairs. Compare car-free Wednesday afternoons with car-dominated other weekdays. People just strongly prefer not having cars on Newport.

European countries are leading the way

But Santa Monica’s success with first narrowing the car area, then getting rid of them completely on the Third Street Promenade is a great local success.

Here’s one in Boston:


Here’s one in a town outside Madrid that is scaled similar to OB:



Vern March 6, 2019 at 6:00 am

Some reject the premise that electric scooters are environmentally friendly.
People aren’t using the scooters to replace cars; they are using them to replace walking.


Tyler March 6, 2019 at 11:42 am

Did you poll a large sample size to get to that conclusion? I’ve rarely used them, but multiple times it was instead of a vehicle.


ZZ March 6, 2019 at 11:37 am

Some people reject the premise the solar panels are environmentally friendly. People aren’t using solar power to replace coal, they are using them to power dishwashers and laundry machines instead of washing by hand. Cause I said so. And so do some people.


Vern March 7, 2019 at 8:37 am

Respectfully, when’s the last time someone’s had to pick up up solar panels strewn all over sidewalks?


Eric March 7, 2019 at 7:41 am

Interesting zz but here you go again deflecting from the subject this time without truth. All these scooters and bikes are a hazard and a nuisance without reasonable rules and laws. How can I say that? I’m disabled and they are a damned hazard to my well being. To address your misconceptions and misdirections about dishwashers this is from a CNET article and there are many more of these studies to to be found.

“This may appear impossible since it seems like dishwashers are constantly spraying water, but a newer one does use less water than hand washing. Getting them clean in the sink can use up to 27 gallons of water per load. An Energy Star certified dishwasher can use as little as 3 gallons per load (around 11 litres), according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In fact, an Energy Star certified dishwasher can save almost 5,000 gallons of water per year.”

So zz when you do power those dishwashers with solar panels you are saving much more energy and water. You’re also saving natural gas because you aren’t having to heat 27 gallons of water which is 67% of a full water heater. So, please stick to the discussion without using Kelly Anne Conway types of deflecting misinformation. Mike drop, plunk.


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