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Store shared scooters and bikes in parking spaces, not on our precious sidewalks

Store shared scooters and bikes in parking spaces, not on our precious sidewalks
Scooter riders roll past the Santa Monica Pier. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Yes, more people using bicycles and scooters would be a boon for our car-clogged, smog-saddled city. But why are we so quick to offer up precious sidewalk space to store private companies’ dockless bikes and scooters?

For decades Los Angeles has handed over more and more of its public realm to the automobile, relegating pedestrians to slivers of sidewalk often already cluttered with utilities, ad panels, newspaper boxes and trash bins. And now bicycles and scooters will snatch up more of that space.

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If dockless bikes and motorized scooters are intended to replace car trips, then let’s play out that scenario a step further. Instead of requiring users to park bikes and scooters on the sidewalk, let’s dedicate one or two curbside car parking spots per block to bicycle and scooter parking only.

Let’s reclaim our public realm from the almighty automobile and retain our sacred sidewalk space for people.

Emilia Crotty, Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of Los Angeles Walks.

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To the editor: The historic focus of transit policy is wealth transfer. Providing a connected, subsidized transportation service ensures everyone with at least a minimum level of mobility and ability to work.

Transit agencies’ obligation to serve is typically coupled with an exclusive right to serve, but there is no need to use public resources to deliver services that the market is ready to provide cheaply. There is no reason to shield Metro bike services from competition, because there is no reason for Metro to be in the bicycle business at all.

Metro and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation should set rules to help ventures like Bird, Spin and Limebike solve transit’s last-mile problem, and reserve public transit resources for where they are needed.

James E. Moore II, Los Angeles

The writer, a USC professor, is director of the university’s transportation engineering program.

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To the editor: As a 40-year resident of Santa Monica, I have been nearly struck by speedy electric scooters coming up behind me. The riders often come within inches of me.

Not only are these people invading my personal space as I walk, but feeling the wind of a speedy electric scooter that has come so close to me is very unsettling. Am I the only person who is experiencing this?

Santa Monica is an innovative city. With the growing throngs of visitors coming here via Metro, Uber, Lyft or their private vehicles, electric scooters will definitely address some big environmental issues. But this should not be done at the risk of pedestrians’ safety.

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Georgette Rieck, Santa Monica

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