January 24, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Scooters Under Scrutiny

L.A. City imposes moratorium, Santa Monica rejects scooter cap. 

By Sam Catanzaro

On Tuesday night, June 12, in front of a packed council chamber, Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved a 16-month pilot program that will allow dockless, shared mobility rental companies like Bird and Lime to continue operating in Santa Monica.

“There’s no denying the popularity and ease of shared mobility devices,” said Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer. “This pilot approach will allow us to understand usage and operations in order to create a long-term program that establishes a safe, equitable and sustainable mobility option.”

The pilot program, which will begin September 17, establishes a dynamic cap on the number of devices a company can have within Santa Monica. Operators can exceed the cap if they can show that each device is being used at least three times a day. It still unclear how many devices operators will be allowed to deploy once the program begins. Electric scooter and bike rental companies celebrated the decision, as the council members rejected a proposal by Santa Monica city staffers that had called for an initial cap of 1,500 total scooters for the entire city.

A protestor and their sign in front of Santa Monica City Hall on June 12, at a rally organized by Bird. Photo: Sam Catanzaro

While Santa Monica lawmakers were in the spotlight in their effort to regulate these devices, Los Angeles lawmakers quietly passed legislation that appears to ban all forms of dockless transit rentals. On March 21, Los Angeles City Council tacked on an amending motion – to another piece of legislation to regulate dockless bike share – that imposes,” a moratorium, with the exception of existing pilot projects initiated either through Council motion or with the Councilmember of the district’s support, on dockless transportation programs until a regulatory system that protects Los Angeles communities can be established.”

Despite the adoption of this amendment, the number of shared mobility rental devices has increased in the time since its passage and the City has not been actively enforcing it. Furthermore, on June 7, Lime announced the launch of their new line of scooters to go along their bikes with the backing of Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino.

“This past weekend, I partnered with Lime on a Lime-S Scooter pop up event in my district. The reactions we received were overwhelmingly positive,” Buscaino said in a statement released by Lime. “I applaud Lime’s efforts to partner with government and community leaders to address our region’s unique urban mobility needs.”

At odds with this message, however, is a cease and desist letter the City of Los Angeles General Manager Seleta J. Reynolds sent Bird’s Cheif Legal Council David Estrada on June 8.

“Since Bird has no existing pilot in the City of Los Angeles you are in violation of the citywide moratorium. Please remove any and all vehicles that you have in the City of Los Angeles immediately,” Reynolds wrote. “Should the LADOT, Street Services, or any City Agency that oversees and manages the streets or sidewalks, view your scooters on the sidewalk, whether or not they are attended, the Scooters will be confiscated and impounded, with all costs, fees and potential reimbursement to be payable by Bird.”

The letter gave Bird until the close of business on June 15 to provide written confirmation that steps have been taken to abate the situation. Birds still remain in the City, however, and Yo! Venice reached out to Bird asking if they are complying with this letter and to the City asking if they are going to start impounding devices since the June 15 deadline has passed.

Abraham White, a spokesperson for Bird responded saying the company can not comment on this matter. L.A. City did not respond.

Despite a moratorium on dockless transit devices, Bird scooters remain as popular as ever in Venice. Photo: Morgan Genser.

“We applaud the City of Santa Monica for formally embracing innovative transportation, and look forward to collaborating with them as they work to further establish regulations around an environmentally-clean, shared mobility program for scooters,” wrote Lime Spokesperson Mary Caroline Pruitt in a statement, referring to Santa Monica’s program.

Santa Monica’s program will permit up to four rental companies – two electric scooter services and two electric bike services – to operate within Santa Monica. Operators will be chosen through an open application process that begins in July. In addition to creating a dynamic cap, the program levies fees on vendors and requires them to increase the safety of devices by educating riders, share real-time utilization data with the City, ensure fair and equal distribution of devices while instructing operators to develop a system that will remedy improper parking.

Santa Monica city staffers had initially recommended capping the number of devices in the city to 500 per operator and 1,500 total but after pushback from members of the public and councilmembers, this hard cap was rejected. Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tem Gleam Davis and Councilmember Terry O’Day voiced concern that the cap may lead to an unequal distribution of scooters, as providers would be encouraged to put devices only in high-density areas.

Davis also expressed concern that a hard cap would be a potentially fruitless effort in Santa Monica.

“What happens when people ride into Santa Monica from Venice or West Los Angeles or Pacific Palisades? I’ve seen scooters in all three places. Do we put up a wall and say ‘I’m sorry that’s scooter number 250, you can’t come in’? I don’t understand how we enforce a cap on a mobility item,” Davis said.

Supporters of electric scooters showed up at rally organized by Bird at Santa Monica City Hall prior the City Council meeting. Photo: Sam Catanzaro.
Related Posts

Venice Student Receives Education Award from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Seven area students were presented Education Awards by The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition at the first-ever...

Venice-Area DUI Checkpoint This Weekend

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

DUI and license checkpoint Friday night at Venice-area intersection By Chad Winthrop A Los Angeles Police Department DUI checkpoint is...

Edify TV: Westside Hot Chocolate Standouts

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

With both rain and National Hot Chocolate Day on the horizon, get cozy with these standout hot chocolates on the...

Missing Women Kolby Story’s Family and Friends Seek Answers: YO! Venice Show – January, 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Missing Women Kolby Story’s Family and Friends Seek Answers * Los...

Popular San Francisco Sandwich Shop Opening in Westside

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 21, 2021 By Kerry Slater Santa Monica Pastry Shop Closes  A beloved Santa Monica pastry shop...

Food Review: A Darn Good but Pricey Burger

January 21, 2021

January 21, 2021

Smash burgers done right at Tripp Burgers By Kerry Slater Surrounded by a collection of strip malls, a Westside pop-up...

FDA-Authorized Coronavirus Testing at Santa Monica’s Shore Hotel

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Drive-thru and walk-up testing seven-days a week   The award-winning Shore Hotel, located steps away from the world-famous Santa Monica Pier,...

‘Doctor’s Office on Wheels’ Homeless and Those at Risk of Losing Homes

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Venice Family Clinic launches mobile clinic van aimed at preventing homelessness By Chad Winthrop A Venice non-profit has launched a...

Edify TV: Ticketing Maskless Angelenos?

January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021

Los Angeles lawmakers want to fine people for not wearing masks. Learn more in this video made possible by School...

Missing Man Last Seen in Palms Area

January 18, 2021

January 18, 2021

Chance Olsewski last seen in on the Westside on Friday A missing 20-year-old man was last seen in the Palms...

Video: 25K New Housing Units in LA?

January 17, 2021

January 17, 2021

With a massive spike in homelessness forecasted, LA lawmakers want to build 25,000 new housing units. Learn more in this...

Illegal Marina del Rey Boat Charters

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

The issue of illegal charters brought up at recent County meeting By Toi Creel Officials recently discussed the issue of...

Edify TV: The Westside’s Best Pies

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Here are some of the best pies on the Westside ahead of National Pie Day on January 23. Learn more...

LAPD Arrests Shoreline Crips Gang Member on Suspicion of Murder In Oakwood Park: YO! Venice Show – January, 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * LAPD Arrests Shoreline Crips Gang Member on Suspicion of Murder In...

Popular Coffee Shop Adding New Westside Storefront

January 14, 2021

January 14, 2021

Westside Food Scene January 14, 2021 By Kerry Slater 65-Year-Old Santa Monica Bakery on Verge of Shutting Down  A beloved...