Neighbor Valerie wants to know how and why a scooter-sharing company decided to occupy two motorcycle parking spaces on Coleridge:
I wanted to alert you to the next (potential) wave in the Great Parking Wars of Bernal Heights.
This morning, we woke up to discover that Scoot — the new startup that rents scooters by the hour— has taken up two designated motorcycle spots on Coleridge Street. Let it be known that I am not against these type of transportation sharing companies — I think ZipCar is awesome — but I do have an issue with a company taking up public parking spots to make a profit.
My wife owns a motorcycle, as do many people in our neighborhood, so a company taking these public spots for their own business endeavors makes an already tight parking situation even worse. As she noted, the result of this will be that local two-wheeled owners will now have to occupy full car parking spaces (which they are legally entitled to do) and reduce the availability of parking in the neighborhood.
What perplexes us is how a commercial endeavor can claim the use of public spaces without the need for placards, notifications, or neighborhood surveys? It was the neighborhood that petitioned for these designated motorcycle spaces in the first place, and we personally know most of the bike owners that park there. By using public parking spots for their own profit, this effectively reduces our designated two-wheeled parking by 30%.
I called 311 to see if perhaps they could shed some light on this, and they have referred my inquiry to SFMTA. The operator did note that the City currently rents out parking spaces to companies like ZipCar, but this often occurs in locations like City-owned parking garages (where anyone would have to pay to park). These spots are also very clearly marked with ZipCar signs. I’ve also noticed ZipCar locations throughout the neighborhood but they are all located on private property, where I’m sure they are also paying rent for those spaces.
My guess is that the City does not know that Scoot is using public spaces to market their service (given the strong stance they took on the startups that were trying to save and sell public parking spots for a profit, I’d be shocked that they’re okay with this).
On Scoot’s webpage, it appears that they have a mix of parking located in private parking garages and the expansion to the public streets is relatively new.
I’ve attached a screenshot of Scoot’s instructions when parking in our neighborhood. Basically park anywhere between Virginia and the designated motorcycle parking at 82 Coleridge (oh and try not to take up a spot that a car could fit in):
I can envision the passive aggressive parking notes now. While they advise their members to be mindful of the next street cleaning date, I’m wondering how they plan to address that. Is someone from the company going to come out and actually make sure the scooters are moved during street cleaning days? What about those scooters that are parked in the same spot for over 72 hours? Will they ensure that doesn’t happen?
My wife is a conscientious motorcycle rider and does not want to take additional parking from the neighbors we’ve grown to love, but she can’t risk the damage of her bike getting knocked over, vandalism, or parking tickets because a scooter company is squatting in public parking. Unfortunately this will often mean that she ends up taking a larger spot than she needs in an attempt to avoid having her bike hit as cars park/pull out of the spots around it.
I’ve put a call into the City, she’s emailed the scooter company, and I plan to contact David Campos’ office on Monday. We would just like clarification on how this works — can a private company use public parking to make a profit? The way the entire thing has gone down just seems shady to me.
PHOTO: The disputed motorcycle parking spaces on Coleridge, by Neighbor Valerie