La Jolla Shores board hears police take on dockless bikes: ‘It’s another work pill for us, another thing we have to deal with’

To provide police perspective on the dockless bikes/electric scooter situation that has made its way to La Jolla Shores — to the great chagrin of La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) members, San Diego Police Department community relations officer Larry Hesselgesser attended its June 13 meeting on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus.

He was preaching to the choir, however, as the board said it shares police frustrations with the proliferation of dockless vehicles.

Concerns raised by board members in recent months include: bikes being parked on sidewalks, in hedges and in front of other tax- and rent-paying businesses; riders violating the laws by not wearing helmets and riding on sidewalks; and bikes left on Walter Munk Way, the boardwalk that divides the beach from Kellogg Park.

Last month, LJSA sent a letter to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council members asking for a ban of the bikes in The Shores. The board also supported a recent City Council attempt to ban electric scooters on La Jolla Shores boardwalk, which ultimately failed.

“We were at that meeting trying to get them banned on the boardwalks — at least for the summer,” Hesselgesser told the board. “Obviously, we will try again next summer to get that ban put in place.

“As of now, we try to cite riders as much as we can … for various things like not wearing a helmet, riding on the sidewalk, riding double, and since you need to have a license to ride, we’ve cited people that don’t. We see them on the boardwalk. They can go up to 15 miles per hour and the speed limit is 8 miles per hour, but it’s very hard for us to write a citation for speeding, so we usually stop them if we can and educate them.”

Leading up to Memorial Day weekend, Hesselgesser said police issued more than 200 related citations; and another 200 over the holiday weekend.

But, in a chronically understaffed police department, Hesselgesser said: “It’s another work pill for us, another thing we have to deal with. Our beach team knows all about it, but there are a lot of other things keeping them busy. You may see these scooters go by (an officer), but he or she will be on their way to something else. Everything is prioritized, and we know all the other little things we try and cite and give attention to, so it comes down to priority for us.”

Of additional particular concern to Shores business owners and residents is when these vehicles are placed in front of shops and in the public right-of-way.

“You can absolutely move them,” Hesselgesser explained. “I know some have alarms … but even if they go off, it’s no big deal. Some say ‘We are calling the police’ and I had to laugh at that one. If you need to move them, absolutely move them! You are not going to get in trouble for moving them.”

In other LJSA news:

Parks Master Plan: Dan Daneri, San Diego District Manager for Shoreline Parks, talked to the board about the City’s Parks Master Plan, a three-year effort underway to create an overarching plan to guide the City in its future park plans.

“The Parks Master Plan will be the City’s roadmap for creating a world-class parks and recreation system that will be relevant to changing needs, accessible to all community members and celebrate the unique quality of San Diego,” Daneri said. “It will provide the City with a policy document that will guide future acquisition, design and construction of recreation facilities, address park deficits to create equity in all communities, identify new definitions for what a park is, promote connectivity to park and rec facilities, identified implementation strategies and funding options.”

He added that funding has been set aside for the creation of the physical plan, not the implementation.

The City is hosting community workshops throughout the month to gather plan input, and the closest one to La Jolla is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 21 at the Standley Recreation Center gym, 3585 Governor Drive in University City. A list of scheduled workshops, more information and a place for feedback can be found at cityofsandiegoparksplan.com

Those who wish to be involved can visit the website and click on the “Get Connected” tab to join the Parks Master Plan mailing list to be notified of upcoming engagement activities and milestones.

LJSA chair Janie Emerson said a sub-committee formed to determine the park needs of The Shores and submit them to the City.

Summer soirees: The board launched its pre-meeting reception series with attendees gathering at 6 p.m. for hors d’oeurves and wine, hosted by Shores’ businesses. The receptions will continue before each second Wednesday meeting through October, with special guests scheduled.

During the inaugural reception, Coopers Café hosted the bites and wine, and owner Lisa Kennedy was on hand. City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry will be the next guest, 6 p.m. July 11.

Triathlon Challenge: Speaking for the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Triathlon Challenge, Oct. 19-21, Julia Duggan noted the activities that will impact The Shores. The majority of the pre-triathlon events, and the Challenge itself, are staged at La Jolla Cove.

“This is our 25th anniversary,” Duggan said. “The event and the organization were both born in La Jolla and it has been our home for fundraising ever since. The Foundation supports people with physical challenges by providing access to sports and an active lifestyle with adaptive equipment. We believe success in sports leads to success in all aspects of life. Last year, we distributed 2,400 grants to people of all ages and abilities.”

La Jolla Shores Association next meets 6:30 p.m. (reception at 6 p.m.) Wednesday, July 11 at Martin Johnson House, Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus, 8840 Biological Grade. lajollashoresassociation.org

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