New York City Is Testing Carsharing-Only Parking Spaces
A two-year pilot hopes to lessen carsharing user stress and free up additional street parking
Carsharing services like Zipcar, car2go and ReachNow have made getting access to a car in New York City easier. One stress point of using one-way rentals from car2go or ReachNow can be finding a legal street parking space to leave a vehicle in once a trip is done. Finding a space in a crowded neighborhood, noting street cleaning days, and avoiding driveways and fire hydrants can be a game of patience as the rental time clock and fees add up.
Nearly a year after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio passed two pieces of car sharing legislation, some parking relief is on the way for carsharing users, and potentially car owners too. Local law 47 and 50 of 2017 establishes a two-year pilot to test off-street and street dedicated parking for vehicle sharing services. The off-street test will create spaces in municipal parking lots and garages. The street test will take place in ten zones across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.
The New York City Department of Transportation studied carsharing parking programs that have already been conducted in cities such as San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. They hope to use the best practices from those programs to find the issues unique to NYC’s urban environment.
The goals of the test are to ease access to vehicle sharing in areas where public transportation is not as integrated. Data from two carsharing studies are cited that show a decrease in personal car ownership when vehicle sharing is available. The NYC DOT hopes that dedicated street carsharing spaces would actually create more parking from a reduction in personal car ownership. The parking spaces would be exempt from street cleaning rules and be maintained by the carsharing companies.
As with any large city initiative in NYC, there are supporters and critics. Citibike, being a similar public/private program, faced similar issues with critics opposing the loss of street parking from bike docks. Similar arguments are being raised with this project, including reservations against turning over public land to private companies who stand to profit financially from service use.
The NYC DOT plans to roll out the carsharing pilot this spring. The agency has been posting community board briefings online, which include some interesting data predictions about how it could change streets in the future.
Lead Image: Dave Pinter