Midway Planners Give Thumbs-Down on Scooter Moratorium

by on October 22, 2019 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The highlight of the regular monthly meeting of the  Midway Pacific Community Planning Group meeting, Wednesday, October 16 was a proposed six month moratorium on the electric scooters that have inundated our communities.  This was a citizen lead proposal offered by a fellow named Bill Zent.

The proposal that Zent is looking to gain support for would require cessation of the scooter business for six months that would include removing the scooters from the streets and storing them while the companies and the city work out agreements and rules are set.

Zent’s handout stated that this was to support Council member Barbara Bry’s call for a moratorium, which Bry did call for this summer. The handout stated:

“This moratorium will allow the city to implement  fiscally responsible program along with the necessary management process I.E. office of mobility, City mobility management team.”

There is a petition on this website .

As to why, Zent provided some issues for consideration:

  • Too many scooters
  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) problems
  • Safety hazards
  • Clutter
  • Taxpayer expenditures with no remuneration
  • Impact on property values for homes by scooter “corrals”
  • Lack of licensing
  • Ecologically wasteful.

These are not new complaints.  Neither was Zent’s complaint about a lack of law enforcement of the scooter regulations passed by the San Diego City Council last July.  But, considering the number of scooters on the streets, law enforcement has to be a challenge.

The ecological issue is worth considering.  The scooters are promoted as being eco-friendly but, when examined objectively, as was done in a Louisville, Kentucky study, that doesn’t seem to hold up.  The main problem is the short life span of the scooters; the Louisville study said they averaged 28.8 days.  The eco-value increases the longer the scooter is in use.

Zent provided contact information on his hand out. bill@billzent.com and 619-987-2064. Zent described himself as “Retired from financial services 40 years. Former bank CEO and nationally known consultant.”

But, when it came to a vote of support from the Midway group, Zent came up short.  The board seemed to believe that a moratorium was too harsh.  The Midway chair, Cathy Kenton, said a six month time frame wasn’t enough time, expressing the opinion that this city could never get anything done in such a short period of time.

In the end, the group voted on a watered down motion supporting pursuit of better business deals and pushing the city to create and enforce scooter regulations.  However, without the stimulus a moratorium would provide, that is a negative stimulus on the scooter companies income, there is little incentive to do much at all.

Airport Development Plan

The other item of interest to the group was a presentation of the Airport Development Plan.  The same presentation was provided at the Peninsula Community Planning  Board meeting in September.  For an account of what the airport had to say, go here.

What was odd about this presentation was that it came to Midway so long after the PCPB presentation.  With EIR public comment closing November 4, the Midway group was left very little time to review and provide comments.

Of particular interest to the Midway group were the plans to create a major transit center, nicknamed “Grand Central Station,” at the former SPAWAR complex on Pacific Highway, recently renamed NAVFAC. The group only learned about this possible development within their boundaries when it came out in the news this year. The mayor and the head of SANDAG made a joint press announcement without bothering to inform the Midway group.

Considering that the city and the Midway group just finished working together for years rewriting the Midway community plan, ignoring the group was perceived as a slap in the face. The main concern, expressed by Kenton, is that any future planning needs to include citizen and planning group participation, or “a seat at the table,” as Kenton put it.

Lastly, there was a brief tribute to Jarvis Ross, a long time community activist and a regular attendee of the Midway meetings , who passed away recently.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Debbie October 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Zent should run for mayor…sounds like he got common sense!

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Avatar Geoff Page October 22, 2019 at 1:56 pm

A clarification. The reason the subject of the Grand Central Station came up was because the Airport Development Plan shows a “Transit Ready area” that is planned to connect to one of two possibilities. One possibility is the SANDA- proposed Intermodal Transportation Center between Kettner and Pacific Highway. The other was the old SPAWARs site that would connect either by a tunnel under the runway and MCRD or by surface roads.

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