Three downtown locations will now be designated as rideshare pick-up and drop-off stops. From 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers will have open curbs to stop at on Higuera Street, between Garden and Chorro streets, and at the curb in front of the restaurant Luna Red.
The rule began Oct. 1, according to City Parking Manager Tim Bochum. Signs posted at the designated zones will notify everybody of the new spaces, and police will be handing out warnings — not citations — to all drivers parked illegally in the zones as the program comes into effect.
According to a City of San Luis Obispo news release, this program aims to decrease the number of rideshare drivers who stop in road lanes. It also aims to prevent pedestrians from running across the street, outside of crosswalks, to catch their ride.
Bohum said these practices have become long-standing issues, overloading curb and street space. The first proposed plan wanted to establish all downtown commercial and loading zones as rideshare stops 24 hours a day, Bochum said. However, the city determined that it would be better if zones farther from central downtown continued to serve as overnight parking spaces.
Bochum also said the rideshare pick-up and drop-off zones are part of a pilot program. He said his team would monitor and review the program over the next year, tweaking and improving as necessary.
“I’m expecting to see some rather marked improvements to the safety out there,” Bochum said.
History senior Sebastian Lee, who uses rideshare services to get downtown late at night, said he is not sure the plan will help. According to Lee, he said the danger is of ridesharing downtown is slowed traffic. Lee also said he would be less likely to utilize the pick-up and drop-off zones if he or one of his friends were intoxicated and farther away from the zones.