La Jolla Planners echo request for scooter moratorium


After voting to OK a shortlist of dockless- scooter corral locations earlier this summer, the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) is taking a step back, announcing its support for a full-stop moratorium on dockless scooters and accompanying corrals.

During the Sept. 5 meeting at the Rec Center, LJCPA trustees announced a letter had been written and would be sent to the City. It reads in part: “We are dismayed with the City’s slow and ineffective response to this public safety crisis. We believe a ‘time-out’ would provide a much needed re-set to the current chaos in our public realm. Should San Diego eventually proceed with a dockless scooter program, we expect our public officials to negotiate tough parameters for their use with reputable providers and to have a viable and responsive enforcement mechanism to ensure public safety and quality of life in America’s Finest City.”

The decision comes after the group voted to approve 40 locations for scooter corrals — painted squares on the street where electric scooters and bikes may be parked — with heavy conditions for the City to meet before the corrals are installed.

The suggestions were: 1) ensure that any corral locations selected be in conformance with the regulatory ordinance, including keeping them a certain distance from schools and out of residential areas; 2) require that locations be geo-fenced so riders will continue to be charged unless they park in a corral; 3) require that the City’s Get It Done app be updated to provide a dedicated option for reporting improperly left scooters; 4) ensure red curb locations be vetted by engineers so they are safe for scooter corrals; and 5) ensure the City Council agrees to revisit the scooter ordinance within one year of its adoption to amend it for effectiveness.

The City agreed to start with 40 corrals, but did not complete the other conditions.

As such, the board voted to draft the letter supporting an ongoing request for a moratorium on dockless scooters, which was initially made by District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry.

Via a memo from her office issued July 26, Bry called for the moratorium “until we demonstrate that we can develop a fiscally responsible, well-thought out plan that ensures public and environmental safety.”

Bry told the Light she asked San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to terminate the existing agreement between the City and the scooter companies, so the City could draft a Request for Proposal (RFP) and select a few companies and limit the number that would operate in the City.

Within the letter, LJCPA asks “that the Mayor and City Council immediately suspend/rescind the Scooter Ordinance (that regulates dockless scooters). We further support the issuance of an RFP to determine best practices for scooter integration into our City’s transportation system.”

A motion to send the letter to Mayor Faulconer passed 14-1-1.

In other LJCPA news

Children’s Pool gates opening approved: A second letter (written by resident Melinda Merryweather and revised by LJCPA trustees Diane Kane and Matt Mangano asking for a plan of action to have the City open the sluiceways at Children’s Pool as a way to clean the water and sand) was also approved to be sent to the City.

The letter was introduced last month, and asked that the City open the sluiceways (aka sluicegates) in the seawall to flood the beach with seawater as a way to remove harbor seal waste and clean the beach.

However, there was some heavy debate on how feasible this is, and trustees opted to revise the letter before sending it.

LJCPA trustee Kane, with help from fellow trustee Mangano, recently completed an extensive report on the Children’s Pool, which opened in 1931, to nominate the landmark for designation on the National Register of Historic Places.

Of her position on sending the letter, Kane explained: “Matt and I reviewed the letter and inserted language notifying the City that the historic designation application is in process and anything that gets done has to go through the San Diego Historical Resources Board. … I don’t see it is as an impediment to have this effort (opening the sluicegates) take place in parallel to the designation because both are going to take a while and doing them sequentially is just going to add to the time.”

A motion to send the letter passed, 14-1-1.

Airport expansion update: In a presentation making the rounds to community planning groups city-wide, San Diego International Airport director of planning and environmental affairs Brendan Reed spoke about upcoming renovation plans for the airport.

“In the last five years, we’ve had a pretty amazing increase in passenger demand for aviation growth,” he said. “But one of our claims to fame is that we have one runway, and that is not going to change. There are only so many takeoffs and landings on one way. The capacity for one runway is about 290,000 operations (takeoff and landing) and we are at 225,000 last year.”

Terminal 1 was built in 1967 and he said “a lot has changed,” prompting a design revision. “There are a lot of constraints: there are three security checkpoints, so if you go into the wrong one, you actually have to go back out and through another one; there are few concessions, and no place to sit; and the bathrooms have a very long wait. So the focus point of the development plan is to replace Terminal 1 with a more modern facility, to replicate Terminal 2.”

A draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) went out last year and airport developers have spent the last year reviewing comments and modifying the plans accordingly. For example, there will be an increased focus in connecting the airport to public transit; changes to security so passengers will only need to enter one security gate, and can then flow between terminals; and more.

A recirculated draft EIR would be made available in the coming weeks and be open for public comment for 45 days.

— La Jolla Community Planning Association next meets 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.