Mobility and Equity, News & Opinion, July 17
Oakland's Scooter Failings
I have watched the scooter onslaught of Oakland since the morning after the first 500 were unceremoniously dumped on the street. I spent much of the past year and a half recuperating from double knee replacement requiring me to walk slowly and carefully with a hiking stick. Never did I think sidewalks could become more dangerous than they already were from thoughtless speeding bicyclists. Was I wrong!! I'm better now and I walk a LOT. I have observed danger to pedestrians (disabled or not) from inexperienced, thoughtless, speeding and/or well under the age of 18 riders on the sidewalks is way worse than from bicycles or skateboards. If scooters are in bike lanes, rare except for commuters, they often speed through red lights endangering pedestrians in crosswalks not to mention their non-helmeted selves at 20 mph. Never have I seen any enforcement by anyone from the scooter companies. The only enforcement is from an occasional pedestrian yelling or muttering "This is a sidewalk, not a bike lane." I've been in one other city — Austin, Texas — where the scooter riders seemed better behaved. Oakland has not gotten it together in any way shape or form with enforcement or regulation of scooter use. And frankly my expectations in this regard are LOW.
Francesca M. Austin
Prove to us that the companies are actually enforcing the policies that keep pedestrians, the disabled members of the community, and the riders safe. Laws and EULAs and policies have yet to curb the bad behavior of selfish riders who consistently ride the sidewalks, park obstructively, and expect the right of way to be ceded whenever they want it to be. Prove that the companies are making real efforts to deal with this behavior and maybe you'll end up with something other than a dystopian transportation nightmare.
The newbie scooters get better transit justice than the disabled and the disability rights movement got going in the seventies. When will the disabled see just transit options?
I bet most people who are not in wheelchairs don't know how abysmal public transit is for wheelchairs. Sure Alameda has a program to transport folks in wheelchairs. We can make appointments but these buses can be several hours late. And these disabled-access buses also sometimes phone to say "we aren't coming" and they do this when the wheelchair-bound has a medical appointment. Too bad. The staffing is inadequate so I guess the pay is inadequate.
Oh, and yes, I can use the regular buses. The ramps to get on and off AC transit buses is not close to a good angle for wheelchair riders. Few bus drivers seem to have ever been trained to take into consideration where they park the bus before using that ramp.
I was out in Oakland today. I just couldn't cope with the pain of all the bumps so I cancelled my plans.
Tell me how these companies are enforcing rules. Seriously, how? Lyft has it written right on their scooters — so clearly that I, someone who's never even gotten on one can see it — that you need to stay off the sidewalk and yet these people come racing down the sidewalk on scooters with zero regard for people (and dogs walking on them). They're not going to make any real attempt to keep people off the sidewalk on these things until lawsuits start popping up. (Or, a scooter rider hits the wrong person on the sidewalk and gets their ass whooped — or worse — and the media takes notice.)
That Old Gas Stove Is Not Your Friend, News, July 3
Berkeley is Burning
All buildings will require 220 service so anyone who is a cooking geek can get induction cook tops with enough juice. But that likely will not happen. Rome is burning and this is the silliness Berkeley chooses to focus on. Time to vote these NIMBY dinosaurs on the city council out of office.
Oakland's Bold Investment to Address Displacement, Guest Editorial, July 3
Your Council District Has a Third World Vibe
Councilmember Bas, you should focus your time on rampant human waste, vandalism, and disease caused by widespread homelessness in the heart of your district. It is at epidemic proportions with East 8th, East 10th, and East 12th looking as bad as a Third World Country! Your staff sits on its hands while you write self-serving press releases like this one.
The Next Generation of Cell Towers Has a Next Generation of Deregulation, News, July 10
The FCC Ignores Our Health
By focusing on the aesthetics of cell towers it allows industry and government to better conceal these towers and is, in my opinion, is NOT where activists should be concentrating their time and energy. These FCC orders should be challenged. Having something that is possibly carcinogenic and linked to other illnesses, as many studies are indicating, should NEVER be allowed to go up in our communities. Competitiveness and faster download speeds are poor excuses to install these towers over health concerns.