City Council Study to Look at E-Scooters On Beach Bike Path

By Daniel Pineda

In 2020, the City of Long Beach launched its Shared Micro-Mobility Program, which resulted in thousands of electric bicycles and scooters being deployed across the city. Since then, e-scooters have become a highly common form of transportation for people in the city. You can practically find them parked on any random street corner.

In light of this, there are some places in Long Beach where e-scooters are deemed “off-limits,” including the Shoreline Pedestrian Bike Path – a popular 3.1-mile paved route that offers walkers, runners and bicyclists a path from Alamitos Bay to Shoreline Village.

Now, Long Beach will be looking to study the pros and cons of allowing electric scooters on a popular beachside bike path, according to a recent decision made by the Long Beach City Council on April 9.

The decision to look into the feasibility of Long Beach allowing e-scooters on the bike path was first made by Vice Mayor Cindy Allen. According to Allen, permitting electric-powered vehicles like e-scooters would provide a big opportunity to have the path be more accessible to more people.

“This stems from a lot of countless conversations I’ve had with my residents since I’ve been in office,” Allen said during the council meeting. “I strongly support our (micromobility) program and believe that it should be expanded in (other) areas, including our beach path — a very popular attraction for both our residents and visitors.”

Allen also believes the evaluation of the bike path’s feasibility for e-scooters will help address both safety concerns, as well as the illegal activity that happens on the bike path.

“I saw a car, last night, on our bike path,” said Allen. “I even see motorcycles [on the bike path], so there’s all kinds of things we need to address in terms of safety– so hopefully having a legal program, we can address all these issues that are happening.”

However, despite Allen’s statements, there was also some opposition to the idea of allowing e-scooters on the bike path – some of which came from City Council Member Kristina Duggan.

Duggan, who represents the Belmont Shore and Naples Island areas, said when she heard about the item on Tuesday’s council agenda, she felt it important to get community input on the matter, in the form of a survey. In less than 24 hours, Duggan said she received about 594 responses, and 85% of them were against having e-scooters allowed access to the bike path.

“I think the first thing we are all concerned about is safety for both riders and pedestrians,” said Duggan, during the city council meeting. “Scooters are great for that last mile transportation, but when we allow them in a recreational area like this, it really raises concerns for people seeing more and more modes of transportation in a limited area space.”

Duggan also made a point of the possibility of e-scooters being left scattered across the bike path– a likely daily hazard for riders and pedestrians.

“The scooters tend to get thrown all over [the beach.] They get dragged through the sand– they’re left everywhere,” said Duggan. “Our beach maintenance staff picked up 10 million pounds of trash this year, and we still see trash because they’re working really hard on something that’s difficult. I don’t think we should expect them to be also picking up and delivering scooters back because we are going to open this area.”

In dozens of pages of email correspondence from the public to the council, residents complained of scooters being discarded along the coast, drunk and distracted riders posing a danger to pedestrians, speeding, reckless riding and more.

In the end, the City Council would pass the motion to study the issue by a 6-2 vote, with Councilmembers Kristina Duggan and Al Austin both in opposition. The City Council would also emphasize that, while they are moving forward with the study, this does not confirm a decision to allow e-scooters on the Shoreline Pedestrian Bike Path.

According to Councilmember Roberto Uranga, “We can’t make decisions based on perceptions. We need data.”

It’s currently unclear as to when the study will be completed, though it is likely the results will not return to the council for several months.

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