Speed Bumps

Staff at multiple Monterey Peninsula cities are looking at regulating parking electric scooters on public sidewalks.

About two weeks after San Francisco-based Lime launched its electric scooter sharing program in partnership with CSU Monterey Bay on campus, 150-200 scooters materialized overnight in nearby Central Marina without a word to anyone. For the past month, next to nearly every bus stop up and down Reservation Road and Del Monte Boulevard, several scooters stand at attention.

“Ask forgiveness instead of permission” is Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado’s theory of why the company deployed the scooters without approaching city officials first. By contrast, Lime and CSUMB were in talks for more than a year. “They’re not going about it the right way,” Delgado says.

The mayor says “wrinkles” will have to be worked out, including where scooters can park. Currently they are left on city sidewalks and the city may require companies to create separate parking areas, off to the side of bus stops. Delgado also intimates the city may consider partnering with a different company. Several are vying for competition with both scooters and bikes, including Bird, Jump, Mobike and Ofo.

Overall, Delgado sees the concept as potentially beneficial and is willing to work with companies. Seaside has also signaled interest, and Monterey is considering possible regulations. Pacific Grove City Manager Ben Harvey says he intends to bring the issue up with the City Council in January after the newly elected councilmembers are seated in December.

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Carmel did not wait for its new council. On Election Day, Nov. 6, they voted 5-0 to ban all sharing devices, citing narrow sidewalks.

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