Golden Gate Park Segway debate rolls on 

Groups of tourists on Segways will continue to ride on pedestrian-only footpaths in Golden Gate Park, at least until the stakeholders get together and talk about a revised route.

Supervisor Eric Mar held a hearing regarding the safety of the upright scooters today after neighbors in his district complained that they travel where bikes cannot. After the hearing Mar said he wants to meet with the groups who have concerns, park officials and the Electric Tour Co. that operates them before making any decisions.

“My hope is that we’ll identify some of the key pathways they’re concerned with,” said Mar.  “I’m not sure I’m willing to go toward a full ban on all pathways … but I am concerned with some of them.”

During the meeting, about a dozen Electric Tour Co. employees in uniform -- baby-blue sweatshirts -- told supervisors several reasons why they believe the rides are safe and belong in Golden Gate Park.

Employees said riders must take a 30- to 45-minute class in preparation, that they are not allowed to roam away from the tour guide, and that the Segways operate at about 4 mph on average.

But a few other employees said they either don’t approve of Segways in the park at all -- or at least not in pedestrian-only zones.

Ray Holland, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond district, told commissioners he supports Segways in the park. But for some pedestrians, he said, "it's the elephant in the room. You may want to deny it’s there, but it’s there.”

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

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Kamala Kelkar

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