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Santa Monica Bike Sharing, Car Sharing Programs Set for Approval

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

July 28, 2015 -- With some initial test runs coming soon, Santa Monica City officials are putting the finishing touches on much-anticipated bike sharing and car sharing programs meant to reduce the gridlock on city streets.

Among other related items, the Santa Monica City Council is set to approve regulations guiding the use the bike-riding equipment at its meeting Tuesday.

The motion also asks that the City codes be amended to allow off-street car share spaces and to change provisions in the codes to allow some parking in front of commercial driveways under specific circumstances to accommodate car sharing.

The “priority” programs are meant to cut down on traffic, offsetting -- supporters hope – some of the impacts of major developments being built in the seaside city.

“It is just one of many tools we hope can help,” said David Martin, director of planning and community development.

Breeze, the City’s bike sharing program, gets a test run in late August to be followed by the launch of the full system in November. The program calls for 500 bicycles at between 65 and 75 stations.

City officials have been conducting field reviews to determine the suitability of the preliminary locations selected for the bike stations. The bikes are chainless, have automatic lights for riding during the night and GPS.

“Smart bike” technology provides for the registration and checkout and the locking mechanism for each individual bike, “eliminating the needs kiosks  need of  at every hub and replacing complex docking technology with simple branded racks,” a City staff report said. “The rack design makes it easy for Breeze bikes to park and lock.”

But there is nothing to physically prevent other riders from locking their bicycles to Breeze hub racks, making it necessary, to enact code provisions prohibiting that from happening, the report said. The new codes would include enforcement rules.

Meanwhile, City officials are in the process of selecting an operator to provide the cars needed for the car sharing program. Hertz was an early choice, but the car rental company dropped out of the bidding, Martin said.

Bids are due in early August, he said, and expected to reach the City Council for a decision in the fall.

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