City Council passes dockless scooter rules
San Diego City Council approved on April 23 long-awaited rules for governing the dockless bike and scooter companies that over the last year have flooded City streets and boardwalks with the motorized vehicles. After several hours of heated testimony from community members, the Council unanimously approved an ordinance that establishes a permitting process for operators, limits speeds in designated areas and requires all devices to scan a valid driver's license before they can be used.
The new rules would go into effect in June, after a final Council vote.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer , whose office drafted the rules, has embraced the technology as a way to implement the City's Climate Action Plan, which calls for thousands of people to abandon their car commutes in favor of cleaner alternatives.
Scores of residents showed up to the meeting to voice concerns about the growing number of people who have been injured while riding the dockless scooters, especially downtown and along the beach boardwalks.
Representatives from the dockless scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, also attended the meeting, bringing with them dozens of their employees and freelance workers.
At the same time, disabled residents, including many in wheelchairs, voiced frustration about navigating sidewalks strewn with the dockless devices. Disability Rights California filed a lawsuit in January against the City, Bird, Lime and Razor for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The national nonprofit has claimed the City has failed to keep the public right-of-way safe for disabled residents.
To address these concerns, the City has started painting parking corrals (6-by-10-foot rectangles) in the street next to curbs downtown. Parking dockless vehicles on sidewalks along blocks with corrals is prohibited under the rules. The City plans to install more than 300 of them downtown and then expand to beach communities.
Reps from the scooter companies said they supported the new rules but repeatedly asked the City to lower permitting fees and reconsider restrictions on parking.
Residents will be able to report violations using the City's "Get It Done" app at sandiego.gov Companies will have three hours to retrieve the vehicles or risk having them impounded. The Police Department said it's applying for grants to fund overtime for officers to enforce the rules. —Joshua Emerson Smith, San Diego Union Tribune
New public art projects head to Liberty Station
The NTC Foundation, which oversees the development and operation of 26 buildings at ARTS DISTRICT Liberty Station, has selected three new temporary art projects as part of a rotating public art program titled "Installations at the Station."
Featured San Diego artists will be Miki Iwasaki, Jason Xavier Lane and Michelle Montjoy. Iwasaki's piece "Facetime" (in Sybil Stockdale Rose Garden outside Dick Laub NTC Command Center) will contain three sculptures representing the universal need for shelter and spaces for face-to-face conversation, and will be unveiled Aug. 10.
Lane's "Tessellation #1" (also in Sybil Stockdale Rose Garden) will reflect Liberty Station's original 1920s post-and-beam roof construction and the legacy of naval shipbuilding. The piece will be unveiled Sept. 6.
Montjoy's "A Dime to Call Home" (in the archways along the North Promenade) represents the transformations new recruits experience upon entering the military and their contrast to home life. Montjoy's installation will include a public engagement element and be unveiled Oct. 4. Visit bit.ly/2IY9lGS for more details.
Stadium lot to host parking for those living in vehicles
As San Diego considers a new law prohibiting people from living in their vehicles on City streets, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and District 7 City Council member Scott Sherman announced April 16 that a seldom-used parking lot (corner of Friars Road and Mission Village Drive near the entrance to SDCCU Stadium) will become a legal place to park overnight within the next 45 days.
While the new lot will provide social services for homeless people looking for help, Faulconer said, the new law will prohibit people looking to take advantage of the City from living in other people's neighborhoods.
The program will be funded for one year with $300,000 in state Homeless Emergency Aid Program funds (San Diego received $14.1 million in HEAP funding).
It will be the third City-run safe parking lot for homeless people and the first to allow recreational vehicles. Up to 80 RVs or 200 standard vehicles can fit on the site, and Jewish Family Service has been contracted to provide portable showers, restrooms and staff members to help connect people with services that could lead to permanent housing.
In March, District 2 Council member Jennifer Campbell proposed using South Shores Parking Lot near SeaWorld as a safe parking lot, but that proposal is off the table because it is in designated park land.
Jewish Family Service also operates a 60-space City-funded lot in Kearny Mesa and a 60-space safe parking lot on City property off Aero Drive near Interstate 15. The nonprofit Dreams for Change operates a 30-space safe-parking lot at a church on 28th Street and a 50-spot lot at 5605 Imperial Ave., where some RVs are allowed to park 24 hours. —Gary Warth, San Diego Union Tribune
Donations needed for Veteran's Fishing Day
Last year, Point Loma Rotary Club hosted the first annual Veteran's Fishing Day, when some 40 veterans from the Veterans Village of San Diego spent a day fishing aboard the Daily Double sportfishing charter boat. The second annual Veteran's Fishing Day is slated for Sunday, Sept. 8 and the Rotary is accepting donations to sponsor the event.
The yet-to-be-determined boat would leave port at 9 a.m. and return about 5 p.m. The trip includes all fishing permits, bait, tackle, food and soft beverages. Those who wish to support the event, should contact Carter Shuffler at (619) 884-9275 or Alan Brown at (208) 755-3710.
Cheese Expo debuts at Liberty Station, May 19
The inaugural Liquid City Cheese Expo is set for 1:30-6 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at Brick at Liberty Station, 2863 Historic Decatur Road. It will bring together breweries, coffee roasters, distillers and cider makers featuring one-off collaborations, educational presentations, demonstrations and explorations with cheesemakers from across the country.
As the Head Cheese Monger at Venissimo, Rob Graff knows his way around cheese. "We see our Cheese Expo as a way to showcase some of the most respected cheese available in San Diego," he said. "Pairing cheese with some of the best liquids the City has to offer and collaborating with liquid companies like Pure Project's Raspberry Oak Ale age washed with a cheese from Jasper Hill Farm, will make this event an unforgettable experience."
The Cheese Expo benefits Kitchens for Good, a non-profit breaking the cycles of food waste, hunger, and poverty through innovative solutions in workforce training, healthy food productions and social enterprise. Tickets from $25 at venissimo.com
Foundation partners with Humane Society
Kathy's Legacy Foundation announced a partnership with San Diego Humane Society to help people and their pets in domestic violence situations. In April, Kathy's Legacy provided a $20,000 grant to SDHS in support of its new domestic violence program. "Sadly, domestic violence victims feel forced to stay in abusive homes because they don't want to subject their animals to continued abuse, if left behind," said Dr. Gary Weitzman, CEO of San Diego Humane Society. "For that reason, it is crucial they have a safe place to turn with their pets." —sdhumane.org
Tickets are on sale for Viva Seniors Gala
Meals on Wheels will host its annual Viva Seniors Gala, 5:30-11 p.m. Saturday, June 8 in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Drive.
The evening will feature renowned local chefs competing for the "Chefy" Award in the 10th annual Chef Appetizer Competition. Guests will have a chance to taste all appetizers and vote for their favorite chef, while also enjoying live and silent auctions, entertainment and a full seated dinner. Tickets are $250 at meals-on-wheels.org
—Compiled by Savanah Duffy from local reports