E-scooters line the streets of Santa Monica. Some are lined up in a row, while others are just thrown on the ground.
Jose Valle used to work as a Bird scooter mechanic, picking up broken scooters and fixing them. If he couldn’t repair them himself, he would drop them off for another mechanic to work on.
Valle says he sees a lot of broken motors, handles, and flat tires, and the scooters often look misused.
“It is pretty common to be honest to see a lot of Birds on the floor all the time,” says Valle.
That is why Santa Monica is working to build designated parking zones for the scooters. Jay Dinkins, transportation engineer and Kyle Kozar, bike share coordinator, helped create the new spaces.
“We are really targeting underutilized space. This is an extra red curb and has appropriate protection,” says Kozar, who added that the red curb means they will not be taking parking spots away from other motorists.
There are currently 40 drop zones in the city, and they are adding more by working with e-scooter companies in the hopes of creating future incentives for riders to utilize the zones.
“We want the companies to educate the users on the appropriate parking,” says Kozar.
Right now, there is no enforcement to park in the designated. Valle says he learned of the new zones directly from Bird, and started dropping the fixed scooters in the designated areas to help riders to better understand where they need to be docked.
“For me as a mechanic it’s better to have these spaces to drop them off,” says Valle.
He says the spots offer a safe space to leave the scooters, but others say the spaces will go unused because they aren't very convenient.
Some zones are full while others remain empty - but it's one step towards helping to corral the hordes of e-scooters on the sidewalks of Santa Monica.