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Dockless scooter parking corrals installed downtown, hundreds more to follow throughout San Diego

Questions of cost, parking, and safety arise about dockless scooter parking corrals being installed in Hillcrest.
Photo credit:
Office of the Mayor - Facebook.

The San Diego Mayor's Office released news today on their Facebook page announcing that the first of hundreds of dockless scooter and bike spaces are being installed throughout the city. 

"The City has begun installing 330 on-street parking corrals for dockless devices throughout downtown," they write. "We will be exploring other parts of the city where these will be beneficial as well."

There is no shortage of dockless transportation companies in San Diego. Some of those services include brand names such as Limebike, Razor, Bird, Wheels, and others.

But as this service is being touted as "dockless" many take that to mean leaving them anywhere they want and that can lead to neighborhood clutter and safety concerns.  

With such a surge in the market many have criticized how much harm these modes can do, not only to the riders but also to other pedestrians. 

Renters are sometimes callous to safety and leave the scooters and bikes strewn in the middle of sidewalks and driveways. Anyone on foot, with a disability or using a wheelchair has to go around the obstacles. 

These new in-street corrals hope to curb obstructions and increase safety by giving customers a place to park them once their ride is over. 

But there is another factor that some have pointed out: With parking spaces already limited, these new outcrops may be taking up valuable vehicular real estate. However, the spots will only be installed in existing red zones. 

"I'm sorry but those can be parked on the sidewalk," said Mary Schriver on the Mayor's Facebook page. "Parking is a nightmare enough without valuable space being set aside for dockless devices."

Shelly Silva Cramer was less worried about parking and more concerned with logistics: "You’re putting in parking for dockless devices but you are planning a huge housing complex in the Sports Arena area without parking for residents," she wrote. "Yeah, that makes perfect sense! SHAKING MY HEAD! How about concentrating on getting the homeless out of downtown and the Midway district so it doesn’t continue to be skid row!!! They’re called Priorities Mr. Mayor!"

One area that has been inundated with the e-scooters is Hillcrest. The historic community has shown great progress in becoming more pedestrian friendly, but the scooter boom may be encroaching on pedestrian right-of-ways.

Several photos taken by residents and business owners exist on social media showing the scooters lying in the middle of the sidewalks of Hillcrest. 

But, late last year Hillcrest announced it will begin work on the Normal Street Promenade, a project that will cater to pedestrians and alternative transportation, perhaps making it the friendliest urban destination in San Diego where cars are not a priority. 

"The city will close the west side traffic lanes to accommodate the new bike lanes as well as create a public promenade and pedestrian thoroughfare for the community — becoming the first transit-oriented pedestrian promenade in San Diego," Councilmember Ward said at the time. 

Still, some San Diegans question why the City is paying for the corrals in the first place. 

"The majority of dockless devices, throughout the city are generated because of private companies I don’t see why you should use taxpayer money to benefit them," said Arturo Gongora.

People do seem to agree on one thing and that's the organization of the fleets and consistent consequences for those who disobey the law. 

"How about regulating them for safety?" asks David Emory Webb-Rex. "They’re rickety, poorly made, and they’re legality and widespread availability presents a false sense of safety. People are heading to the emergency room literally every single day with dockless device injuries."