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City HallThe AgendaThose high-tech scooters on the streets are hurting pedestrians

Those high-tech scooters on the streets are hurting pedestrians

Plus: Sick leave for domestic workers, an update on Dream Keepers—and what's up with the city's Climate Action Plan anyway? That's The Agenda for Dec. 6-12


In October, Nicole Bohn, director of the Mayor’s Office on Disability was struck and injured by someone who, according to Sup. Aaron Peskin, was illegally riding a scooter permitted under San Francisco’s Powered Scooter Share Program.

Bohn is not the only one. Since the city, in 2017, in the thralls of Mayor Ed Lee’s passion to approve anything tech-related, gave companies like Scoot and Spin the right to put bikes and now powered scooters anywhere they want on the streets, pedestrians have been an afterthought.

But you can’t just pack all of this on-demand powered vehicles on the streets without rules—and, Peskin argues, the companies have not been following the rules.

As a resolution he’s introduced states:

Sccoters are a great alternative to cars—except when people drive on the sidewalk. SFMTA photo.

Despite SFMTA’s best efforts to monitor for compliance with permit terms and conditions, compliance remains a challenge, enforcement policies are inconsistent across permittees, and data regarding the number and type of violations is incomplete …. Compliance and enforcement has been a particular challenge for parking requirements and the prohibition on riding scooters and bikes on sidewalks, which have proven particularly dangerous for pedestrians, people with disabilities, and riders themselves, eliciting concern and calls for reform from pedestrian safety, senior and disability advocates.

The Board of Supes Land Use and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing Monday/6 on the issue. That starts at 1:30pm.

The Budget and Finance Committee will hear legislation Wednesday/8 that would take a dramatic step toward providing paid sick leave for domestic workers.

Domestic workers are already, technically, covered by the city’s sick-leave law, which requires one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. But since many of them work for multiple employers, and are hired as contractors, many haven’t had access to the benefit.

The measure, by Sup. Hillary Ronen, would create a portable PSL system, which would allow domestic workers to collect time from various employers and apply it to sick leave.

That measure comes up at 10:30am.

Early last year, in the wake of the emerging racial reckoning that came from police murders of Black men in this country, Mayor London Breed and Sup. Shamann Walton announced that the city would divert money from the cops to fund a “Dream Keeper” initiative aimed at funding badly needed services for Black and African American families.

As it turns out, the mayor didn’t actually take a lot of money from the police. Sup Shamann Walton is going to ask Breed during Question Time Tuesday/7 for an update on how the program is going and the money is being spent.

The Commission on the Environment will hear Tuesday/7 an update both on the city’s public-power efforts and on the Climate Action Plan, which contains far-reaching goals, but not clear policy mandates on how they will happen. That meeting starts at 5pm, and you can watch it here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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