WEST HOLLYWOOD — In a move designed to improve the image of parking enforcement officers and give them more visibility in the city, officials on Monday unveiled five new electric-powered bicycles that will be used to patrol the area.
Actor George Takei of "Star Trek" fame joined West Hollywood city officials and about 100 onlookers as the blue bicycles were unveiled to kick off the Electric Bike Parking Enforcement Program.
The electric bicycles assist officers with pedaling up hills and are expected to make it much easier to bicycle through an eight-hour shift, Delgado said.
The five bikes, which cost $10,000, are the first in a three-phase program designed to promote electric-powered transportation in the city.
The program is funded by a $175,000 grant from the California Electric Transportation Coalition, said Oscar Delgado, parking analyst for West Hollywood. The next phases of the program include purchasing an electric car and charging stations for the bikes and automobile.
Five parking enforcement officers, who underwent two weeks of training, will take up daytime patrols.
The officers will do more than just hand out tickets. They will call towing services for stranded motorists, lend a Slim Jim to drivers locked out of their cars, and provide tourists with maps and information about West Hollywood.
"It's hard to give a good name to parking enforcement, but we wanted them to be out there to help the community any way they could," Delgado said. "We never had the right transportation to do that before, but these bikes are perfect."