WEST HOLLYWOOD—The West Hollywood City Council will decide whether a re-ban will be issued on the use of dockless electric scooters and e-bikes in West Hollywood at a regular meeting on Monday, June 26. City Council will consider three alternatives that respond to safety concerns and community complaints, primarily about scooters.
The Dockless Micro-mobility Pilot Program was launched on July 1, 2021, allowing e-scooters and e-bikes as transportation options for the West Hollywood community. The main goals of the pilot program were to expand West Hollywood’s transportation network, while supporting environmental sustainability.
Alternative one would end the Pilot Program and return a prohibition of scooters and e-bikes to West Hollywood.
Despite efforts made by the West Hollywood City Council to address the public’s concerns about scooters littering sidewalks and blocking walkways, the problem of improper parking persists.
The Pilot Program received 1,452 complaints over the past two years, from July 2021 through May 2023, with approximately 60 percent reported by three individuals. Sixty-six percent of complaints are regarding a device blocking the sidewalk.
On March 6, city council requested for staff to return with research on the implementation of speed-throttling sidewalk detection technology citywide. The proposed use of this technology was an effort to discourage sidewalk riding. Scooter companies, Lime and Bird, did not adopt speed throttling “at the scale desired by the City Council,” according to the City’s staff report.
Lime implemented a 12 mph speed cap in West Hollywood as of May 2023, but the staff report states that “Lime is no longer pursuing speed throttling for any devices in any of their markets.” Bird applied speed throttling only in specific areas of the city.
If alternative one is selected, the city council would terminate the scooter pilot program by July 31. A ban on “rental mobility devices,” which includes both scooters and e-bikes, would be reinstated by August 1.
West Hollywood would cancel existing permits with scooter and e-bike companies as well as terminate supporting contracts with service providers like ABM, Populus, and Toole Design.
The impacts of terminating the use of scooters and e-bikes were acknowledged in the staff report.
Should the West Hollywood City Council terminate the Pilot Program, setbacks for West Hollywood’s emission reduction goals are expected. Since the Pilot Program began in July 2021, 449,730 total trips, or 628,543 miles, have been traveled with dockless micro-mobility devices. The amount of miles traveled by a vehicle would emit 253 metric tons (253,000 kg) of CO2 emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Unbudgeted costs for the termination process would include $175,000 to contract for the removal of devices from the public right-of-way, $125,000 for disposal of devices not retrieved after being impounded, and $75,000 for the storage of devices removed from the public right-of-way.
Alternative Two entails continuing the pilot program through October 31, 2023. Staff will manage the program with any modifications desired by the city council and initiate a randomized phone survey, which is set to cost $40K, according to the staff report. In October 2023, city council will reconvene on the issue to decide whether or not a permanent program is possible based on the survey results and updates from staff.
Alternative Three proposes that staff continue the Pilot Program while transitioning into a permanent program. Staff would begin working with Toole Design on the program requirements, proceed with a community survey as was originally scoped (not engage in a randomized phone survey), and accommodate any modifications desired by the West Hollywood City Council. An update including a timeline for the permanent program would be presented to the city council in October 2023.
By Paige Strickland