Once Santa Monica opens its streets to pedicabs this summer, can bicycle-powered taxis in Hollywood be far behind? Maybe! According to the LA Times, the LA Department of Transportation is "studying the breadth of a pedicab regulatory system in order to help establish a system of its own." Which might make it sound like things are farther along than they actually are. While cities can't ban pedicabs (since they're just glorified bikes), LA can (and does) withhold permits until there's a regulatory framework in place. And an LADOT spokesperson says the Department doesn't have a timeline on when that might happen. The process is hardly new--though City Councilmember (and almost-Mayor) Eric Garcetti asked LADOT to look into a pilot pedicab project in Hollywood last year, the most recent wave of attempted pedicab regulation started in 2007 when some rather silly rules were proposed: "All riders needed a helmet, and drivers had to wear 'a shirt with sleeves, and a collar, pants or shorts ... with a belt and black shoes.'" The city didn't go for it. But now with pedicabs coming to Santa Monica--and already running in San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, and Long Beach--LA may finally catch pedicab fever.
Boosters of the program say pedicabs provide safe, energy-efficient transportation, offer an alternative to driving for people who've had too much to drink, and can ease congestion in traffic-plagued neighborhoods. On the other hand, "'You're dodging a lot of pedestrians after the bars let out and you have taxis double parked, and then you're going to have pedicabs?' Santa Monica filmmaker Kenneth Kokin said as he left a local bar. 'Main Street is going to be a hell.'"
· Pedicabs are finding a place in the Southland transportation mix [LAT]
· Hollywood Pedicab System Could Close H&H-Vine Street Gap [Curbed LA]