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New ride-share zone in Downtown SLO increasing safety and traffic flow but violations abound

Posted at 7:07 AM, Oct 15, 2019

A new ride-share zone in Downtown San Luis Obispo has officially been in operation for about two weeks and, while it's improving safety and traffic flow, many people are still parking in the pickup and drop-off zones.

San Luis Obispo police are handing out warnings for zone violations for now but will soon be ticketing drivers who decided to park between Garden Street and Broad Street on Higuera Street from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.

The zone helps prevent ride-share drivers from having to pickup and drop off passengers in the middle of the busy street.

"Picking up downtown can be dangerous because we don't have much of a spot to pick them up except for the middle of the road," Brittney Creason, an Uber driver, said.

Over the last year driving for Uber, Creason has seen her share of near misses on the busy stretch of Higuera Street.

"They're getting in and out of my vehicle so you partly feel responsible," Creason said.

After a few drinks at the Downtown bars, passengers amble toward their Uber or Lyft, blind to oncoming vehicles.

"I've see some very intoxicated people try to cross the street and it's not a good idea," Jarred Hall, a Cal Poly student who was partying Downtown Friday, said.

"It's such a dark area here Downtown and people not paying attention crossing the street without looking at the traffic," Marco Aburashed, a manager at Mother's Tavern, said.

The new passenger pickup zone aims to keep passengers and drivers safe.

"The biggest part of it is to unload and load the passengers in a safe manner and a good flow of traffic through Downtown," Aburashed said.

The ride-share zone is a pilot program that's set to expire one year from Oct. 1. City leaders will meet then to assess how successful the program has been and decide whether to make it permanent.