LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Anyone hoping to beat the traffic in and out of Dodger Stadium this season by riding an electric scooter may have to come up with a new plan, if Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo succeeds in getting the devices banned in his district during an upcoming one-year pilot program.
Although the makers of the devices say they help to ease traffic, reduce air pollution and offer first- and last-mile transportation solutions, they are also connected to a number of health and safety concerns, including an increased number of people being injured, and being haphazardly parked along sidewalks and parkways, according to Cedillo.
He introduced a motion Friday asking the council to exempt the entire First Council District, which includes Chinatown, Highland Park, Westlake and Elysian Park where the stadium is located, from the pilot program.
The City Council last September gave the green light to limited growth of dockless electric scooters in the city through a 120-day conditional use permit, followed by the one-year pilot. According to a report from the Department of Transportation, the city issued conditional permits to eight companies, which were each limited to 3,000 devices. Six of the eight companies deployed scooters, while one deployed 2,000 scooters and 1,000 dockless bikes, and one deployed 3,000 bikes.
The department closed the application window for the one-year pilot on February, and the earliest LADOT will issue permits is Monday, according to the report. As part of the one-year permit, operators will be allowed to deploy up to 3,000 vehicles citywide, an additional 2,500 vehicles in disadvantaged communities, and an additional 5,000 vehicles in disadvantages communities within the San Fernando Valley for a total possible fleet size of up to 10,500 vehicles per operator.
Three different City Council districts had a full or partial ban on the devices during the conditional permit period. Both Council District 12 in the northwest San Fernando Valley and Council District 13, which includes Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park, had a full ban, while the downtown portion of Council District 14 also had a ban.
Fredy Ceja, a spokesman for Cedillo, said no other City Council member as of yet has requested a ban during the upcoming pilot.
Councilman Paul Koretz, who has raised concerns about the safety of the devices, was the lone dissenter when the council approved the program in September, but his Westside district was not included on the banned areas during the conditional permit period.
"Making it legal doesn't make it safe. I still doubt whether these can operate appropriately," Koretz said before the September vote.
The dockless Lime and Bird scooters have proliferated in Westside communities over the last year, leaving local governments scrambling with how to regulate them. The scooters work through a phone app that allows people to find and unlock the devices and drop them off anywhere they are allowed, with no docking station or kiosk required.
The new L.A. regulations require companies to equip the scooters with a minimum 48-point font warning against riding on sidewalks. Companies also must maintain a 24-hour hotline and respond to improperly parked or inoperable devices within two hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
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