Bitter Battle Over DecoBikes in Pacific Beach

DecoBikes angers neighborhood

David Silverman can't understand why people don't want his bikes.

"It's green, clean, healthy," said Silverman, "I think there's better things to protest about."

But some Pacific Beach residents are protesting. In fact they are trying to collect 3,000 signatures demanding that the bike rental company pull up stakes from its boardwalk location.

DecoBike started setting up its self-serve, hourly rental kiosks around San Diego in January.  Since then they have established 85 locations. Most have not raised the ire of the local population, but when the company plopped down on the boardwalk next to Crystal Pier in P.B., the protesters started showing up.

"We were told that there would be no sites for rentals on the boardwalk or near the boardwalk," said Scott Chipman with the Pacific Beach Planning Group.  He said the company assured residents that they would not target tourists and take away bike rentals from local businesses.

Silverman said his bikes, which rent for $7 an hour and can be returned at any DecoBike location, help the community.

"It's a great way for people to spend more time at retailers and restaurants," said Silverman.

But knowing where the bikes will be established is sometimes a surprise. DecoBike makes requests to the San Diego Department of Transportation, and that request is then either accepted or denied.

Silverman says 80 percent of the stations are adjusted before they are ever installed because of feedback.

As for the protest, Silverman said, "depending on what the feedback is, just that we don't want it there, we might end up putting it there. If they have a legitimate cause then we consider that a little more strongly."

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