JOHN DURAN 🔹 Going from bad to worse: Scooters, full stop.

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I like watching Mikie Friedman in action. Mikie Friedman is a disabled resident with only one arm. But she is a fierce advocate for the residents in this town. Sadly, it appears that we have a current council majority more interested in appearances than reality. By that – I mean appearing to be “progressive politicians” rather than being community stewards. Mikie asked me to sign her petition opposing extending the Scooters program and I said yes. She is right on so many points and I agree with her point of view. I initially voted for and supported the pilot project. But it’s done. Over.

One of the benefits of being a lifelong Angeleno – is that I have over 6 decades of being stuck in traffic patterns around greater Los Angeles. LA County is the most populous county in the Nation with 10 million people. It has 88 separate cities making it an unmanageable and unwieldy conglomeration of suburbs, desert, hills, and beach communities along with dense urban life. Part of the beauty is you can choose to live in the serene woods of Laurel Canyon, the open desert of Lancaster, the sea breeze of the Palisades or the high urban energy of Weho, Hollywood or Koreatown. If you look at cluster density, the Huntington Park/Bell/Lynwood area is extremely dense. And so is the Koreatown/Hollywood/West Hollywood area. The key to figuring all of these mobility issues out is knowing where you sit in the county and what’s realistic.

Young idealogues (usually from other places) think they can waltz into Weho and dictate transportation policies that the public will learn to love and adore. Our current city council has zero So. Cal natives. Fortunately, both John Heilman and Lauren Meister have lived here In Weho for decades. So while not native Angelenos – they have lived here longer than anywhere else and know and understand what I am saying here. The other 3 are young and idealistic from other places. Mayor Sepi Shyne did her BS degree in San Jose and law school in the Bay Area. Councilmember Jon Erickson has been here for 13 years coming from Wisconsin. And Councilmember Chelsea Byers just moved here from Arizona about 2 years ago. All bright-eyed idealists straight out of universities with campus-taught ideas about what the world could/should be and look like.

But then there is reality.

Here’s the deal. West Hollywood is 1.9 square miles from La Brea to Doheny. But it is highly linear like a long rectangle. On the East end of town at La Brea, the city runs North to South roughly from Fountain to Santa Monica Blvd. In the Mid City near Crescent Heights, it runs from Sunset down to one block south of Santa Monica Blvd. And the West end runs from Sunset down to Beverly.

In essence, it has a long X-axis from East to West and a short Y-axis from North to South. Keep that in mind. Because all mobility planning depends on this geography. West Hollywood Council does not have the ability to directly impact the Los Angeles area all around us or neighboring Beverly Hills. So, in essence, ALL of your great ideas need to exist within this East to West and West to East reality. North to South is not wide enough to consider. At 35 miles per hour, you can travel across West Hollywood in 30-45 seconds if you didn’t have to navigate around others. Ahhh. But you do. And that’s the rub.

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Scooters! What fun! Flitting around town with the sun in your face and hair in the breeze looking cool as you zip in and out of automobiles and those slow lumbering senior citizens in the way. Walkable city? Why bother while I can scoot across town. So what is the current council solution to the speeding scooters? To avoid mishaps, we will mandate that they can go no faster than 10 mph. Makes sense? Yeah. Except what fun-loving scooter user wants to go 10 miles per hour. I would rather walk. Good! Then walk! Even better. Except here’s the main problem.

When I am done with the scooter – I am going to “dump it” right here where I finished. Go find a storage or parking area for my scooter? Ha! No thanks. I am done with it. I don’t own it. It’s not mine. Could care less once I am finished with it. And what about points of origin? Well, the Scooter companies will solve that. Let’s just leave them at every imaginable corner city-wide so they can be easily accessed by anyone who wants one. Clutter? Chaos? It shouldn’t matter! We are about getting people out of their cars! Don’t you see? We are saving the planet by destroying the city ambiance, charm, and sidewalks with scooters scattered everywhere. It’s a bit unsightly but that’s the price you pay for efficiency (?).

I think what is best for this village we love called Weho is to call it out – a failure. No one riding a scooter wants to be mandated to 10 mph. No scooter company wants to limit themselves to scooter docking stations. And those of us who DO use the sidewalks for walking, congregating, and getting about – don’t need the additional clutter of unused scooters on every corner.

A possible great idea for a big city where you can control lots of space and mobility. A terrible idea for a town that can be traversed quickly by car, walking, or even bicycle. Which leads to the terrible council idea about narrowing Fountain Avenue down to one lane to make room for bike lanes…. But I will save that for another Op Ed.

Thanks for being so strong for all of us Mikie. New council members! Acceptance. Not ideology. Consider reality. It’s a great place to start.

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About John Duran
John Duran, a criminal defense lawyer, served on the West Hollywood City Council for 20 years, 2001-2020.

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The Real Zam
7 months ago

Enforce, enforce, enforce!!! Rental scooters have wireless ID tags in them. You can’t read them, but basic sensors can see them far more clearly than a license plate. Setup video enforcement. A scooter / bike that rides on the sidewalk across an entire ‘block’ at a certain speed with the rider on board the entire time (not pushing it) gets a ticket sent to the owning company. They have to pass that along to the rider. For parking, we need zones / spots and citation enforcement just like cars. We just need to have these spots EVERYWHERE and a way… Read more »

Single Guy WeHo
Single Guy WeHo
8 months ago

So, let’s have the Sheriff prioritize issuing citations to those riding bicycles and scooters on the sidewalks.

“Stop! Stop or I’ll shoot!”
(Yeah, we know how THAT will go over.)

Once a Deputy commands a rider stop, they are legally (read that word again) entitled to use necessary force to ensure compliance. This includes any force up to and including deadly force.

Do I have to draw a picture of what happens next, or can everyone figure it out?

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
8 months ago

It’s annoying listening to the same people putting in all this effort and making the same complaints about scooter riding on sidewalks (which we all can agree should not be allowed) put next to no effort into demanding the law be enforced. I can assure you the only way to see less riding on sidewalks is to cite the user of the scooter. The current fine for a violation covers the cost of processing the citation and add $50 on top to go towards making our streets safer for all users, specifically cyclists and scooter users.
Problem solved, next.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
8 months ago
Reply to  Josh Kurpies

Josh you’re right that these laws should be enforced, and we have tried in vain to get both the sheriff and the city to enforce them. Both the sheriffs and BBB tell us that they cannot catch these kids as they go whizzing by down the sidewalk. They say it is too difficult to stop and cite the riders!. They also do nothing to fine people that leave them abandoned on the sidewalk. Actually, I just found out that both bird and lime are leaving scooters on the sidewalk purposely so that their riders will have easy access. I will… Read more »

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
8 months ago

Maybe, preferably banned, they could at least be restricted to SMB and other major thoroughfares. A lot of WeHo sidewalks are simply unsafe.

hifi5000
hifi5000
8 months ago

I suggest very strongly that if you are not in favor (or are) of the scooters on the sidewalks that you make a written comment to the city council before the meeting. It will become a public record for the city and the staff and council will know how you feel. Otherwise,your comments will remain here on Wehoville and not go further.

Look on the West Hollywood city council agenda on how to contact them.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
8 months ago
Reply to  hifi5000

thank you! you are absolutely right! I wrote it in my comment,, but perhaps nobody saw it. If you want your opinion to count, send an email before noon tomorrow to [email protected].
The Council will read your comments, and they will also become part of the public record.

Erwin Smith
Erwin Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

Thank you!

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
8 months ago
Reply to  Erwin Smith

You’re welcome

Peel
Peel
8 months ago

have designated drop-off areas.

Erwin Smith
Erwin Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Peel

Yes!

Tom
Tom
8 months ago

If someone broke into your house and planted themselves on your sofa, would you call the cops and have them removed or hand them the TV remote and asks them how they like their coffee? Because these scooter companies did that with the city- dropped their scooter without warning, applying for business licenses, or going through any of the usual channels any other business would need to to be allowed to operate here. Why is the city continually rewarding them?

Josh Kurpies
Josh Kurpies
8 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Bird is the only company that did this that remains operational in the City. The others currently operating in the City have all come through the pilot program.While Bird is the only one that started as such a bad actor, it should be mentioned that they have probably worked the hardest to comply with the City’s requests, no matter how ridiculous and anti-scooter the City’s policies may be.

Jim Sattertwaite
Jim Sattertwaite
8 months ago

Yesser. A scooter plowed full speed into a packed sidewalk of people last night in front of Revolver people scattering as fast as they could falling into the tree and the patio gates.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
8 months ago

OMG! was anyone hurt? I hope not! Was it reported to the sheriff?

Jim Sattertwaite
Jim Sattertwaite
8 months ago
Reply to  Mikie Friedman

A bunch of us were looking around for Ambassadors. As usual not around – especially when clubs close and when stuff happens (except for the Abbey where Ambass’s congregate). Don’t know if sheriffs were called (I didn’t have my phone). But we know the likelihood of sheriff’s – well, don’t need to say what is known.

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
8 months ago

that’s too bad because they keep telling us that there are no scooter accidents. Oh well! I’m just glad nobody was hurt.

:dpb
:dpb
8 months ago

Spot on 🎯🎯🎯 thanks, John

Morty
Morty
8 months ago

John is a nice person. Too bad he has some poor judgement issues.

JF1
JF1
8 months ago

👏👏👏

Mikie Friedman
Mikie Friedman
8 months ago

please come to the council meeting on Monday. Get a sticker and be part of the action. And if you want to get up and speak in public common, that would be great! If not, you can fill out a citizen, speech position slip, and make your opinion known and put into the record. If you cannot come, but want to send an email or call in via zoom, the instructions are below TO PROVIDE WRITTEN COMMENT OR AN E-MAIL submit written correspondence to [email protected] or submit an E-Comment by visiting http://www.weho.org/wehotv no later than 12:00 p.m. on Council meeting… Read more »

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