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Little Italy moves dockless bikes to make room for pedestrians

Posted: 7:06 PM, Apr 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-21 02:06:35Z

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)—  They’re convenient. They’re trendy. But some are now saying the popularity of dockless bikes is problematic. 

Whether you are a local or tourist, there is something magical about Little Italy that propels you in. 

“The microclimate is great, it’s attractive and beautiful,” Marco Limandri of the Little Italy Association said. 

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This was just one of the many reasons Claire Golden and her family made the trip from Boston. 

“It’s really pretty,” Golden said. 

But lately, the neighborhood has become inundated with clumps of these bikes.

“There is a bike war in San Diego, going on between five different companies,” Limandri said. 

On nearly every corner of Little Italy, there is a dockless bike. The bikes are a great amenity for people like Golden, who want to explore San Diego.

“It’s easy...instead of getting an Uber or walking, to just get around the city,” Golden said.  

However, the Little Italy Association says there are just too many of them in the neighborhood. So many that it's becoming a safety issue - especially when the bikes block sidewalks, parking spaces, ramps, and construction zones. 

Here's what they're going to do about it: 

“First thing in the morning, our maintenance guys come up with one of their trucks," said Marco Limandri of the Little Italy Association. "They’ll see if there are any of those bikes are blocking the sidewalks, and they’ll pick them up and they’ll relocate them two blocks away.

The destination: State Street, which runs parallel to I-5. A location that the association says is far enough away from the hustle and bustle of restaurants and businesses in Little Italy. On any given day, you can see rows of endless bikes and scooters, sent to State Street from areas on India and Kettner Streets.  

The Association said they do not necessarily have a problem with where the customers leave the bikes. They said most of them courteously park them on side streets. Instead, they took issue with where the bike companies launch them. 

“Our streets are not showrooms,” Limandri said. “These aren’t their sidewalks. They have no authority to place them. That’s the point.”

The Association is in the early stages of proposing to each bike company, to take one parking spot as a designated launching lot. 

They have not reached an agreement yet, but they hope to get there soon. 

“This is a community in which pedestrians, bikes, cars, wheelchairs and strollers all have to interact,” Limandri said. “So once they understand that, I think we can work out an agreement where they are able to support the 'bikability' of San Diego, and people can come to Little Italy or other areas, and enjoy them.”

Other San Diego neighborhoods dealing with similar issues include the Gaslamp and Hillcrest. They hope to come to a compromise through the implementation of permits.