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Here’s how to report scooters that block LA sidewalks

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Companies will have two hours to pick up improperly parked scooters

Scooters on sidewalk
Transportation workers are also installing scooter parking zones, where riders will be encouraged to leave the devices after a trip.

Stray scooter blocking the sidewalk? You can now report it through Los Angeles’s 311 system.

The city’s transportation department announced Friday that three companies—Bird, Lime, and Spin—have received year-long permits allowing them to deploy the rentable devices throughout the city, as long as they meet certain conditions.

One of those is a requirement that, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., the companies pick up scooters reported as incorrectly parked. Anyone can report scooters if they are parked in the public right-of-way or if they are blocking fire hydrants, ramps, or loading zones. If companies don’t fix the issue within two hours, they’ll risk losing authorization to distribute vehicles.

The dockless devices, which began popping up on Los Angeles sidewalks in 2017, have been popular with riders and some environmental advocates, who argue they could encourage people making shorter trips to leave their cars behind. But they’ve also been a target of scorn for residents who complain that the vehicles have made already crowded sidewalks impassable.

The city’s new requirements make it much more difficult for scooter companies to ignore these issues.

Transportation workers have also installed designated scooter parking zones where companies can deploy multiple vehicles, and where riders will be encouraged to drop off the scooters once they’ve finished a trip.

The one-year permits replace temporary conditional permits issued after the City Council last year approved regulations on dockless vehicles and the companies that deploy them.

According to the transportation department, 11 companies applied for 12-month permits, but so far, just three have received them. Those three permits allow for deployment of a combined 22,500 scooters, more than doubling the number of vehicles those companies were authorized to distribute under their former permits.

The department reports that three other companies—Jump, Lyft, and Wheels—have been given new month-long permits while they “work to comply” with the terms of the year-long agreement.

Jump, which is owned by Uber, last month sent a letter to the department expressing concern about a required data-sharing agreement that the company argued could violate the privacy of vehicle users.

Davis White, Uber’s California public affairs director, tells Curbed via email that the company is continuing to meet with the department about these concerns and that transportation officials have “proposed next steps to address them.”

The department said Friday that five other companies are still being considered for permits, but have not yet been authorized to deploy vehicles.

To report a scooter parking issue, dial 3-1-1 or use the MyLA311 app.