The endless wars between State and Uber, City and Lyft, seem to be ending. It is a fact that rideshare driving is here to stay. It is the new human transportation service, and as such needs to be addressed with rules and regulations that help both the driver but more so the passenger. San Francisco has taken the first step in this direction by designating rideshare passenger loading and drop-off zones which will combat the issues of double parking.
San Francisco announced on Tuesday, Nov. 7th, 2017 that they were officially incorporating this new procedure. Mayer Ed Lee stated that this would be an experimental procedure a first and its aim was to deal with the ridesharing drivers blocking bike and transit lanes as well as crosswalks when picking up passengers.
The new pick up and drop off zones have yet to be assigned to specific locations, but once they are assigned, Uber and Lyft drivers will be legally enforced to only stop at those locations.
Lee when on to state "The program will address issues of double-parking and blocked bike and transit lanes and help rideshare companies provide their services in a safe, convenient way. This is just the beginning of our work to make our streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists and more efficient for everyone on the road."
This procedure came to an agreement with both Uber and Lyft, although the exact locations are yet to be defined and the pilot has also not yet been given a time period for assessment. With this new change comes a lot of support from every quarter including the advocates for pedestrians and cyclists that claimed the concept is a few years late in coming.
The executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Brian Wiedenmeier, stated that their number one complaint was always about illegal parking for Uber and Lyft driver's pickups and drop-offs in bike lanes.
The issue with new locations will be addressed by the company's software developers, and most probably apps will have a geofence designating the new areas for passengers and drivers alike. In one respect this is also very helpful to drivers that have always faced problems with stubborn passengers demanding the most unusual pickup locations. Drivers are actually very eager for this procedure to be applied nationally, since it will ensure both safe picks up and drop off as well as easier destination planning for congested areas.
Weidenmeier also hoped that the new locations would be placed in areas that have a high saturation of cyclists, he thought that Market, Folsom, and Valencia would be a good place to start. This was supported by Walk San Francisco executive director Jodie Medeiros, and she added that it would be beneficial if the city would ban all deadliest street pickups and drop-offs as part of the Vision Zero strategy aimed at eliminating traffic deaths by 2024.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen considered a joint effort by Uber and Lyft in defining specific areas to be mandated for drop-offs and pickups while the city worked on the issue
She stated that she was fed up with both companies and suggested they consider dealing with this issue in-house, creating a mandatory parking rule to be adhered to by their drivers, instead of allowing them to flout all of SF's traffic and parking laws. She went on to state that her request would not cost the companies much to implement and would ensure the prevention of endangering lives and injuries on a daily basis.