Traffic board fails to move forward on scooter recommendation

Board members at the June 19 Traffic & Transportation Board meeting split their vote, defeating a motion to make scooter-corral recommendations to the La Jolla Community Planning Association.

At the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (T&T) Board’s June 19 meeting, no recommendation on scooter corrals was offered, despite a looming deadline to get one to the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) in time for its July 18 meeting. The corrals — a solution to wantonly discarded scooters on sidewalks being pushed by the City of San Diego — will stage scooters and other dockless vehicles in currently red-curbed areas along La Jolla’s streets.

T&T Chair Dave Abrams tried hard to rally his board, stressing that the City just wants T&T’s help to get the scooters off the sidewalk.

“Everybody complained for months about it being the Wild West with no regulations,” he said. “Now, they’ve got an ordinance that goes into effect July 1, and (the City) is asking for our input instead just dictating to us, and I think we’re bound to give it to them.”

Following the same presentation District 1 Council member Barbara Bry’s rep, Mauricio Medina, made at La Jolla Town Council’s (LJTC) June 13 meeting, a motion to recommend an edited list of 81 La Jolla corrals — whittled down with community input from the City’s initial list of 158 — failed by splitting the board 4-4.

“My disappointment is in Mauricio telling us that we can park scooters on the sidewalks,” explained trustee Tom Brady on why he didn’t raise his hand. (The ordinance allows some sidewalk parking according to a “4-by-40” rule. “Four devices separated by 40 feet,” Medina explained. “How that’s going to be enforced remains to be seen.”)

Brady continued: “For the last three weeks, it’s been ‘You can’t ride them or stage them on the sidewalks,’ — until 22 minutes ago, which is really disappointing.”

Arguments against scooter corrals, and the scooters themselves, were made by La Jolla residents Craig Thompson, Catherine Douglass and Sally Miller, all of whom also spoke out at the LJTC meeting.

A second motion — to authorize a T&T subcommittee to come up with a smaller list to be added to later, once it can be determined how many scooters will occupy the streets following the imposition of a licensing fee of $150 per machine — also failed 4-4.

“Well, we can just leave it up to CPA, I guess,” Abrams said, throwing up his hands. “They have the list, too.”

The second motion’s failure was not bad news to Medina, who commented: “I’m reluctant to send the City a list that only contains 20 corrals. There’s got to be a right balance.”

A last-minute third motion, to continue the matter to T&T’s July 17 meeting, was unanimously passed. However, that’s only one day before the LJCPA meeting and, as Mauricio pointed out: “CPA needs noticing and requires a two-thirds vote to put something on its agenda.”

“It’s going to CPA one way or another,” Abrams replied.

Also at T&T

Scouting for a signal: Daphne Adum, Scarlett Slagter and Ines Machaz — ninth-grade Girl Scouts with Troop 3859 — addressed the board during public-comment, requesting that an accessible pedestrian signal (an audible device that helps visually impaired people know when it’s safe to cross streets) be installed at the intersection of Girard Avenue and Torrey Pines Road. Abrams told the Scouts he would talk to the City, and if things don’t work out, put it on the agenda for a future meeting.

Candidates nominated: Abrams, Brian Earley and Donna Aprea were nominated to continue holding their respective board positions of chair, vice chair and secretary. The election will take place at T&T’s July 17 meeting.

Street closures approved: T&T passed temporary street closures and no parking on portions of Prospect Street and La Jolla Boulevard for the 20th annual End of Summer Fire Run, Sunday, Aug. 2. Temporary street closures and no parking was also passed on Coast Boulevard, between Prospect Street and Girard Avenue — along with a lane closure on Torrey Pines Road between Prospect and La Jolla Shores Drive — for the 26th annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge, Sunday, Oct. 20.

— The Traffic & Transportation Board next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 17 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.