bike/scooter share enforcement

From the City of Sacramento City Express blog: https://sacramentocityexpress.com/2019/11/18/traffic-and-parking-enforcement-begins-for-shared-e-scooters-e-bikes-on-nov-19/.

The city will be enforcing both parking and traffic for the electric assist bike share JUMP, and the JUMP and Lime electric scooters. Many people are still riding the scooters on sidewalks, so I would expect citations for that. Under state law, not Sacramento law, scooters must be ridden on the street. The amount of parking that endangers or impedes walkers has fallen off over time, so there should be much less of that, but it will be interesting to see how exactly that will be enforced. The city still does not have sufficient bike parking, particularly in neighborhoods but even in commercial and mixed areas, and though it has installed a few bicycle and scooter corrals, they are far from enough.

Parking thoughts

Applicable to the City of Sacramento, but also to any urbanized area:

  • Any block on which parking capacity regularly fills on any day of the week and any time of day should charge parking fees.
  • The price of parking should be managed so as to always have at least one free space per block (the Shoup criteria)
  • Any block with mixed use should have one spot per block for bike racks and scooter parking, and one spot for ride-hailing and delivery use. These spots could be in the space daylighted by red curbs for crosswalk visibility.
  • The fees paid for by residents for parking permits should be sharply increased so that they more closely reflect the cost to the city of providing car storage space for car-owning residents.
  • The income from all new parking fee areas should go into a fund to be spent on the neighborhood that generated it, to enhance livability. It should not go into the general fund, and not be used to bond against. (again, the Shoup criteria)

Free and underpriced parking is one of the largest subsidies the city provides to car owners, but everyone who doesn’t own a car or has on-property parking pays for the subsidy. Which is not fair, and which encourages car ownership and car use.

I’m not suggested we get rid of on-street parking, it is a good use for some of the space we’ve set aside for it, but we do need to manage it more intentionally for the benefit of everyone and all modes of transportation, and charge for what it really costs.

Much more could be said, but that is enough for today.

JUMP news

I learned from a JUMP field staff how to deal with U-bars that won’t insert. Just move the rear wheel a bit, and it will go in. The U-bar is hitting the spokes, so rotating the rear wheel removes the block. This happens particularly with the charging rack, since with the front wheel locked into the rack, the rear wheel doesn’t move as much.

JUMP just changed their return to hub policy. Users will get a 25 cent credit for returning a bike to any hub, on that trip, and a dollar credit for returning to any charging hub. The email (graphics below) doesn’t make it clear if this applies to any drop zone hub, or only the charging hubs, but my experience yesterday and today is that it is for any drop zone hub (the green icon with lightning bolt). The credit I got for drop zone hubs was $1.25, both credits together. This could change. It could also vary depending on your membership type. I hope that this will encourage people to return bikes to hubs at the end of their trip. I often see bikes parked less than a half block from hub. Will 25 cents make a difference? Probably not, but it is a start. How about 50 cents, JUMP? In some other cities, there is a charge of $2 for leaving a bike outside a hub, in addition to the trip charge. I hope that we don’t need to go there in Sacramento.

I now have a student membership in JUMP Sac since I’m a student at American River College. At $30 a year, it is a great deal for anyone who uses JUMP regularly. You get 60 free minutes a day. Almost makes it worth being a student! An oddity is that taking a bike to a drop zone hub for credit counts against my daily minutes, until the daily minutes are used up, then the ride time is no longer charged. So it seems I get partial credit while I still have minutes, and full credit after I don’t have minutes remaining. I’m not sure I understand this structure, and I’m not sure it is consistent.

I, and everyone else, had hoped that bike parking would improve over time as people got used to the system, but parking seems to be getting worse rather than better. I’m not talking about parking in the buffer zone or to the side on wide sidewalks, which while technically illegal is practical where there are no bike racks, but parking in the sidewalk. This morning there were six bikes parked on and blocking the sidewalk on S Street. I don’t know why users would do this, as there was a sidewalk buffer immediately adjacent with plenty of space for bike parking (though nothing to lock to). Get it together people! There is no excuse for this kind of parking. It is both rude and hazardous for people walking, particularly if they have mobility issues and can’t go around. I moved the bikes. Yes, they are heavy.

I have been finding a lot of dead GPS bikes, with no display and no lights on the GPS unit. I’m not sure if this is common, or I’m just adept at finding them. If you find a bike like this, that does not wake up when buttons are pressed, please report it to support@jumpbikes.com. Sometimes they have lost track of these bikes, and sometimes they know the last location before the unit went dead, but it doesn’t hurt to report it.

bike share parking requirements

Not by the rules, but not causing any problems.

I had lost track of the bike share parking requirements, but found the City of Sacramento has a good bike share page now that answers most questions you might have, at http://www.cityofsacramento.org/Public-Works/Transportation/Programs-and-Services/Bicycling-Program/Bike-Share.

People have asked whether you have to lock the bike to a bike rack, and the answer from the page is yes, you do.

They have also asked what to do about improperly parked bikes. The page says to call 311, and they must be removed within two hours of notice to the vendor, JUMP in this case. I’m still going to recommend that you first report to JUMP by emailing support@jumpbikes.com, and report to the city if the issue is not solved in a timely manner. Some people have reported that 311 operators said it was not an issue to report to them, so there is some education yet to happen, but with the system only three weeks old, not all the bugs have been worked out yet.

5.18.220 Retrieval of bicycle-share bicycles.

A bicycle-share business shall, within two hours of notice, retrieve their bicycle-share bicycles that are in any of the following conditions:

  1.                Bicycle-share bicycles that are inoperable or not safe to operate, and parked in the public right-of-way;
  2.                Bicycle-share bicycles that are not parked at a bicycle rack in an upright position;
  3.                Bicycle-share bicycles with a battery or motor determined by the city to be unsafe for public use.
  4.                Bicycle-share bicycles parked in violation of section 10.76.050. (Ord. 2018-0006 § 1)

SacRT issues and solutions

Another list of ideas for improving SacRT. This was developed as part of my work with 350Sac Transportation Committee, but again, the ideas are mine and not the committee’s.

SacRT issues

  • funding
    • SacRT is the most poorly funded transit system of its size in California; the limited amount provided by Sacramento Measure A (through the Sacramento Transportation Authority) is insufficient to operate a transit system
    • dependence on federal funds from most system enhancements and extensions means that the system has not kept up with either population growth or increased demand
  • leadership
    • the board, composed of only elected officials, provides poor oversight and leadership
    • management is weak, unwilling to explore innovative solutions and accepting of current limitations as permanent
  • light rail
    • has a poor reputation among many commuters
    • no evening service to Folsom
    • no service to American River College
    • high-floor rail cars are inaccessible to many people
  • bus network
    • buses are too infrequent to provide effective service, with no routes meeting the definition of high frequency and only four routes meeting the definition of medium frequency
    • routes deviate into neighborhoods in an attempt to maximize coverage, but the result is a loss of functionality and timeliness
  • land use
    • SacRT is ineffective in large part becuase land use decisions have resulted in an urban/suburban/exurban pattern that cannot effectively be served by a transit system
    • SacRT has little to no input into land use decisions
  • fare card system (ConnectCard)
    • the fare card system has been delayed for more than a year
    • there is no evidence that the fare card system will address equity issues such as low-income users without bank accounts and credit cards being able to purchase cards and passes
  • bike parking
    • the lack of secure bike parking at light rail stations and major bus stops reduces transit use and usability
    • SacRT has refused to provide on-demand bike lockers at stations, though Folsom has provided them at stations within the city

SacRT solutions

Continue reading “SacRT issues and solutions”

bike corral overflow

bike corral and overload at Insight Coffee
bike corral and overload at Insight Coffee

The bike parking corral at Insight Coffee on 8th Street is a great service to customers, but on nice days like we have been having, it is far too little. On Sunday morning, there were almost three times the bicycles parked around Insight Coffee as the 10-space bike corral could handle. There were bikes locked to parking meters and sign posts on both sides of the streets, and some bicycles simply unlocked for lack of a place.

We need more bike parking! Most customers are arriving by bike, few by car, at least when the weather is nice. It is a little hard to judge the number of customers by car on Sunday in this neighborhood, because car parking is filled with churchgoers for the churches to the south, and customers cannot park close to the business, but while sitting and watching for over an hour I saw only a few customers who seemed to be arriving by car. In contrast, there was a continuous turnover in the bicyclists, representing more than fifty customers in just an hour. And a lot of people arrived on foot, walking in from the neighborhood.

I am not being critical of Insight Coffee. They deserve praise for welcoming the Park-A-Bike demonstration bike corral, and for keeping it. I am pointing out that we have too little bike parking and too much car parking in downtown/midtown. Customers are coming by bike!

The other bike corral is at Pangaea Two Brews on Franklin.