City council adopted new transportation rules at their July 28 meeting that cover upcoming bike and car sharing systems.
Francie Stefan, manager of Strategic & Transportation Planning for the City of Santa Monica said the three proposed changes were needed to support ongoing methods of transportation and expand transportation choice within the city. At the meeting, she said the proposals would aid parking in the city and aid in reducing green house gas emissions.
Council officially adopted an entirely new section of city code that defines the bike share system, regulates use and allows for penalties if necessary.
The City has already authorized a bike share program that is set to begin Santa Monica service in November. However, before a system can begin, staff said municipal code would need to be updated to regulate the system.
Contained within the new code is a system for preventing privately owned bikes from clogging the bike share racks. Signs will accompany the racks, detailing the prohibition on private use and staff said first time violators would likely receive some kind of warning.
“There’ll be friendly notices saying what could happen if they do it again,” said Liz Bar-el, senior planner in the Strategic & Transportation Planning division. “And we’re hoping that will flush through and we won’t have that happening, but if it does, the police will impound it and take it to the property room.”
Offenders will have to pay a fine to recover their impounded bike and staff said those fines will cover the cost of the program.
Several councilmembers baulked at the idea of impounding bikes.
“If we want to be a bike-friendly city, towing people’s bikes away and charging them $50 to get them back is not the friendliest thing we can do,” Councilwoman Gleam Davis said.
Staff said the likelihood of mass, or even frequent, impounding was low but reiterated the need to have enforcement codified in case of problems.
Council adopted the staff recommendation by a vote of 6-0 with Councilman Terry O’Day absent.
The motion also allowed for staff to proceed with a long gestating car share program.
The city previously authorized the implementation of a car share program to allow residents use of shared vehicles. The program stalled in 2014 when the proposed vendor, Hertz, ceased participation. The original program allowed for on street parking to be dedicated to the car share program and the new rules allow for the use of public off-street parking as well.
The council reiterated their desire to have a car share program in Santa Monica, and staff said they have already reissued a request for proposals from interested vendors with an expectation that proposals for the new service are due on Aug. 3. Stefan said the delay in reauthorizing the program was due to an exploration of point to point vs. round trip systems that took longer than expected.
A third update clarified rules related to parking in front of a driveway. Commercial property owners are allowed to obtain permits to park in front of their private driveways and can now park at an angle when appropriate. A previous revision had unintentionally banned angled parking.