The Next Fight over Scooters Is Just Beginning

by Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Scootson17th

With the next wave of scooters on the horizon, a new standard for community outreach emerges.

When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency broke the news Aug. 30 about which two scooter companies — out of more than a dozen who’d applied — had earned pilot program permits, the reaction was like a pro-sports draft. Articles popped up on the Examiner, the Chronicle, Wired, and TechCrunch. Reporters interviewed CEOs and dug into the intricacies of both Scoot and Skip. And scooter fans immediately took to Twitter, berating the city for its limited geographical roll-out“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”

“Since no applicant proposed sufficiently detailed or comprehensive community outreach plans, the SFMTA will outline the agency’s expectations for community engagement prior to issuance of the first permit,” it reads. “These expectations will detail potentially appropriate outreach strategies (e.g., use of community meetings, partnerships with local Community-Based Organizations, etc.), based on experience with bikeshare and other shared mobility programs in San Francisco, as well as peer city best practices. Moreover, the SFMTA will require Scoot and Skip to submit revised community-engagement plans reflecting these expectations.”

It’s a vague and wordy statement, but for community groups and nonprofits across the city, it marks a vital shift away from what they see as years of watered-down outreach. With this mention, the SFMTA acknowledged the materialization of a new set of guidelines that may dictate how emerging mobilities roll out…

Carlos Bocanegra, a nonprofit housing and immigration attorney for Mission Neighborhood Centers, says a citywide coalition of community stakeholders launched a few months ago in response to constituents’ concerns over the rise of new transit options and their impact on the city’s streets and sidewalks. Included in the conversation were Senior and Disability Action, South of Market Community Action Network, Dolores Street Community Services, Impact Hub, Excelsior Action Group, MEDA, Mission Housing, and United to Save the Mission…

“There is an implicit understanding that these new corporate, emerging-mobility systems are themselves vehicles for gentrification and displacement and affect all of our diverse communities, unless they are specifically designed from the ground up not to be,” Bocanegra tells SF Weekly. “Community groups from across San Francisco had begun discussing their shared concerns regarding this trend of the corporatization of the public infrastructure and transit systems, and decided to come together for a citywide discussion.”…(more)

 

As Cities Push Back Against E-Scooters, One Company Launches “GovTech Platform”

By Ben Miller : govtech – excerpt

The e-scooter company Bird’s offering is tailored toward some of the exact complaints of cities like San Francisco and San Jose.

First, the companies came in and deployed fleets of electric scooters on the street for anybody to ride with the touch of a button.

Next, the complaints started to bubble to the surface: Riders were being unsafe. They were leaving scooters in the way of pedestrians on the sidewalk. The companies weren’t asking permission from city governments to operate.

Then the cities started pushing back. Some created a new permit for scooters and made the companies promise to follow rules and encourage safe riding. Some enacted temporary bans… (more)

Protesters toss scooters into street to block tech buses in SF

By Sarah Ravani : sfgate – excerpt

Protesters in the Mission District blocked tech buses from leaving San Francisco on Thursday morning, tossing scooters into the street to waylay the commuters.

The activists, blocking buses at the intersection of 24th and Valencia streets, set off smoke bombs and carried signs that read “Techsploitation Is Toxic,” and “Sweep Tech Not Tents,” in reference to the city’s recent efforts to clear homeless encampments(more)

They couldn’t have picked a better foil to protest tech. Those scooter things are like mosquitoes. You just want to swat them away. Too many and too annoying. They should be a minimum radius for wheels allowed on the streets. Have you heard the one about the two scooters on the Bay Bridge?

2 people with motorized scooters on Bay Bridge cause traffic jam.

If you watch the video you can see that the “riders” ran into an obstruction. Of course they have no helmets. Toys do not belong on the roads. They should be off-road vehicles only. If you agree, tell the SFMTA Board and the Board of Supervisors.
(Contacts here)

More Scooter Scoops:

Activists block tech bus commute, say e-scooters treated better than homeless

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Tenants-rights activists blocked at least nine tech buses Thursday morning in San Francisco’s Mission District with a scooter blockade, claiming “shared” scooters are treated better than The City’s homeless.

Nearly 60 protesters piled a dozen of the controversial e-scooters in front of a Google bus at Valencia and 24th streets, placed an orange smoke grenade atop the pile and lit it. Plumes of orange clouds puffed above the protesters, who were wearing hazmat suits, as they cried out “One, we are the people! Two, a little bit louder! Three, we want Google off our streets.”…

It’s absurd scooters have more rights than the homeless do,” said Chirag Bhakta, 30, a San Francisco native from the Tenderloin who participated in the protest. He said while the scooter companies were treated politely in city hearings that were expedited by officials respectful of monied interests, homeless denizens were simply wiped away.

The homeless, he said, “deserve the same consideration in City Hall.”…

Protesters decried “techsploitation” of San Franciscans, and held aloft signs that said “your disruption is our displacement” as they blocked traffic…(more)

Equal time and respect for humans. If corporations can get a pilot program approved by the SFMTA, citizens should receive the same option to design a pilot program to test our theories on the street. Where is the data behind the scooter pilot project that proves it does anything other than provide entertainment for some people while annoying others?. Does entertainment belong on our streets or in the parks and off-street playgrounds? We know there is a problem with loud annoying noises. How about annoying toys?

Legislation reduces risk of e-scooters

By Christopher B. Dolan : sfexaminer – excerpt

Long story short, if you see a scooter blocking the sidewalk or you are injured by a scooter, moving or parked, you have rights. You should report any injury to the SFMTA and obtain the advice and counsel of a good trial lawyer to help you hold the drive and company responsible… (more)

S.F. Will Be Scooter-Free While City Chooses Permit Holders

By Ida Mojadad : sfweekly – excerpt

Sidewalks will be largely free of scooters in June, while SFMTA demands tech companies abide with a new permit program.

Starting June 4, San Francisco will go nearly a month without seeing scooters on its sidewalks, city officials announced Thursday.

Any shared electric scooters found on the sidewalks after June 4 will be confiscated and used as evidence, City Attorney Dennis Herrera says Thursday. In turn, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is accepting permit applications for a 12-month pilot program and hope to issue the permits by the end of June… (more)

 

Scooters, e-Bikes and jet packs: Mobility tech’s big moment.

by Elizabeth C. Creely : nextdoor – excerpt

Scooters, e-Bikes and jet packs: Mobility tech’s big moment. Can a man who helped create gridlock and traffic congestion in the Bay Area really solve our traffic woes?…

Fair is foul and foul is fair, say the witches in Macbeth, warning that what seems to be appealing will seem less so as the plot grinds to an end. This is how I feel about the scooter situation and the onset of for-profit mobility companies who are perpetual launch mode in this city, arriving daily with mobility vehicles tucked under their arms. “The next idea that comes along, I’m not even going to try to speculate what it is,” said Jeff Hobson, deputy director of planning at the SFCTA who spoke of “dockless jet packs” as a real possibility. The hyper activity of the mobility industry is no joke. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I saw someone land in the middle of Mission street with a jet pack strapped on their back…

It’s so much easier to disrupt if the public doesn’t know you’re up to.

DDND: Disruption depends on non-disclosure…

Do what thou wilt is the whole of their law. Travis understood how to position the scooters as a cavalry that’s arriving—just in time!—to decongest this city, because Travis oversaw the catastrophic growth of Uber, which was so rapid as to resemble dumping, as the Vice President of Global Driver Growth at Uber from 2014 to 2016. Before that, he was the COO of Lyft… (more)

Scoot cements permanent spot on SF streets

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay -excerpt

We weren’t aware that any paint or cement would be used to put this program into effect.

Electric shared moped company Scoot will now become a permanent fixture in San Francisco’s ever-evolving world of shared ride services.

Under a permanent permit program approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors at its Tuesday meeting, Scoot’s 19,000 members will be able to park in residential parking permitted areas, parking in motorcycle stalls for free, and in between metered parallel parking spaces.

In return, Scoot will pay a permit fee of $325 a year for each moped. The company will also have to provide data to the SFMTA in order for the transit agency to address any issues that might arise, said Andy Thornley, a senior analyst with the SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division:.. (more)

We are requesting a Continuance on the hearing on Thursday the Planning Commission on July 6th, 2017. A sample letter is here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/scoot-program/

Major confusion persists among various members of the public over what the “proposed” program to allow Scoot only shared vehicles to park for free. Where and when and for how long and how this will effect the public is not understood by many members of the public yet. Those of us who were at the meeting left confused over what had happened.

It appears that the proposal over where the privileged parking would be as presented by staff, was reversed in an amendment at the MTA Board meeting, and that this amendment ran counter to staff recommendations; the Amendment was not unanimously supported by the Board; Ed Reiskin and two other Board members cautioned against the Amendment; and at least one member of the public was denied entry to speak during public comment.

If a private vehicle is “pinned in” by a Scoot and can’t move in time to avoid a ticket, will the owner be ticketed anyway? Or should they they just push the Scoot over to get out?

 

Two-Wheelers on the Rails

Bicyclists are not the only ones who have problems with rails. All two-wheelers need to be careful around them. We just passed by a motorcyle on the ground with two people wearing helmets standing by it on Third Street. They were straddling two south facing lanes. We were driving north. They were near a well-lit intersection so we assume they were safe.

This is a reminder to everyone on two wheels to avoid driving on the rails. Just avoid them if you can, and if you must drive across them, try to do so at or near a 90 degree angle to avoid a spill. This is especially important in the rain.

E-bikes: Love them or hate ‘em, our readers have some strong opinions

Special to National Post : news.nationalpost.com – excerpt

We asked for your e-bike stories and you responded. Here are just a few:
I live downtown and have ridden an e-bike for over five years. I also am a cyclist with a traditional bike, a motorist, a rollerblader and a pedestrian, so I have seen the increase in adoption of e-bikes from many angles. One goal for e-bikes was to get people out of their cars. I think it has done that. Most of the objections to e-bikes seem to come from my fellow cyclists. There are a whole myriad of objections – e-bikes don’t follow the rules, they’re too fast, they’re too quiet, etc. To touch on just these three: Laws Some e-bikers don’t follow the laws; Many more cyclists disobey the laws. Speed E-bikes are restricted to 32 km/h; Many cyclists go a lot faster than that. Noise What is quieter than a regular bicycle? … (more)

I can’t believe this is really an issue, though I predicted it would be. Where do you draw the line and why bother to, between a bicycle, e-bike, motor scooter, motor cycle, and and all the other single person slower vehicles people can dream up to get around on?

SF Critical Mass event expected to be large

By Carolyn Tyler: KTVU – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — On Friday, Sept. 28, the Critical Mass bike ride will fill San Francisco streets and possibly create a big mess of the Friday evening commute. The bicyclists will gather at Justin Herman Plaza along the Embarcadero and they’ll ride from there. However, this time it is not the typical ride — it is the 20th anniversary of the event.
San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said he was told to expect 10,000 cyclists or maybe even more. Those that take part in Critical Mass say they are fighting a car-centered society — one calls it a culture war…
And San Francisco has added miles of new bike lanes, but Rob Anderson is trying to stop any more from coming in. He’s taking the city’s bike plan to court.
“One of the problems with the bike plan is that it takes away traffic lanes and street parking on busy city streets. That creates a problem, that’s an environmental impact,” said Anderson…
“We will, we’ll have extra people with them. We’ll use our motorcycles, both dirt bikes and big bikes and actually officers on bicycles themselves,” said Suhr… (more)

Motorcycles riding with Bikes?

Scoot Bringing Zipcar-like Electric Scooters to San Francisco

By , Autopia: Road to the Future: for Wired.com

Snagging a cab in San Francisco is hard enough and renting a car for a quick blast across town seems like overkill — not to mention finding parking when you arrive. Scoot Networks wants to provide an alternative in the form of pay-as-you-go scooters. And even better, their fleet of two-wheelers are all electric.

Funded by sustainable start-up incubator Greenstart and originally shown at the San Francisco Launch conference, Scoot Networks is the brainchild of founder and CEO Michael Keating, who’s put the program into alpha testing last month with a small fleet of 10 electric scooters.

(more)

SF’s New Scooter Sharing Service Might Run Into Wall At DMV

(more at sfappeal)