Several community boards in La Jolla have signed a joint resolution asking San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to regulate bikeshare programs that provide users with dockless bikes. These companies such as OFO and LimeBike allow individuals to locate the program’s bikes through an app, rent them for the duration of their journey, and then leave them freestanding once the rider arrives at their destination.
The resolution has thus far been approved by the La Jolla Town Council, La Jolla Parks & Beaches, La Jolla Planning Association, Bird Rock Community Council, and La Jolla Traffic & Transportation in their separate meetings. The La Jolla Shores Association, however, has refused to sign the document and instead sent a letter to Faulconer and City Council member Barbara Bry requesting an outright ban on the programs instead.
According to the La Jolla Light, the resolution to regulate the dockless bikes asks for measures controlling where the bikes may be left, as they can currently be placed almost anywhere once the rider has completed their trip.
The different groups call on San Diego to “implement reasonable and balanced regulatory and infrastructure solutions to address the concerns of public safety and aesthetics generated by these forms of personal transportation, including enforcement processes for the thoughtless abandonment of such vehicles, a more extensive system of recognized bicycle racks, as well as consideration of dedicated placement zones for dockless bicycles and other personal transportation vehicles which technically require no racking to be safely abandoned.”
The LJP&B is also considering establishing bike racks and other structures in the area so these bikes and other modes of transportation, like Bird’s electric scooters, can be kept in central locations as opposed to dispersed randomly, La Jolla Light reports.
LJP&B trustee Stratford Collins noted that other San Diego areas have crafted bike racks unique to their local culture, and her group would like to do the same.
“There is a real mish-mash of styles in La Jolla and we’re thinking about one design that can be used throughout La Jolla that is aesthetically pleasing,” Collins said. “Encinitas has branded bike racks, Little Italy has them, Manhattan Beach has them. The ones we have now are branded City of San Diego, not La Jolla.”
LJSA expressed almost unanimous disagreement with the other boards and their plans at their May 9 meeting where they voted 11–2–1 to not sign the joint resolution requesting regulation and to stand by their stance on banning the bikes instead.
LJSA Chair Janie Emerson noted at the meeting that she advocated prohibition to the heads of the other organizations, but they did not seem to agree with her concerns.
“I tried to impress on them what this what this does to The Shores and what it does for our businesses, because they don’t have the same issues as we do in La Jolla Village,” Emerson stated. “So we are pretty much on our own. The other groups aren’t going to fight it. I was talking against the wall. I was flabbergasted. I don’t see this [resolution] as accomplishing anything, except benefiting tourists. … Their position is the antithesis of ours.”
Other localities such as San Diego proper and Coronado have also sought to ban the dockless bikes, citing concerns about harming local businesses, injuries from collisions with the bikes, and the untidy look of the bikes.
UC San Diego itself began partnering with Spin, a bikeshare program that can be recognized by its bright orange color, in December 2017.
At the launch of Spin, Vice Chancellor for Resource Management and Planning Gary Matthews said “the program is designed to offer the campus community an affordable, environmentally friendly and healthy form of personal mobility.”
However, UCSD previously ordered OFO to remove its bikes from the campus after claiming that the company never received approval from Transportation Services, among other issues.
It does not appear the resolutions to either regulate or ban the dockless bikes by the La Jolla groups will have any effect on the UCSD campus itself.
Photo by Voice of San Diego