New York City is opening up its highly-coveted public parking spots to car-share programs for the very first time. Starting Monday, June 4, the city’s Department of Transportation will dedicate 285 parking spots for Zipcar and Enterprise car-shares, as part of a two-year pilot program.
The car-shares will take up curbside spaces on streets in over a dozen neighborhoods across the city and in municipal parking lots. The car-share locations will be spread out over four boroughs—the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens—and be located, for the most part, in neighborhoods that are generally underserved by car-sharing programs due to the lack of parking garages. Of the total reserved parking spots, 230 spots will be on the streets, and the rest will be in municipal parking lots. The DOT has a published a full list of locations (each site will have space for two cars) on its website.
“For every vehicle in a carshare program, up to twenty households can forgo the need to own a car, fighting congestion and making our air cleaner,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a statement. “We’re also bringing more carshare options to NYCHA residents to help them get around, so we can continue building the fairest big city in America.”
The NYCHA option de Blasio is referring to is a new partnership between the New York City Housing Authority and Zipcar for 24 dedicated parking spots in different public housing complexes. NYCHA residents won’t have to pay a fee on the Zipcar service for the first 12 months, and will also get discounts on renting the cars.
Predictably, some NYC car owners weren’t pleased with the launch of the program. The New York Times interviewed residents from different neighborhoods across the city that are losing parking spots, all of whom complained how this would add to the existing dearth of parking.
The city however maintains that the car-share will open these public spots to a lot more New Yorkers and will also work towards the city’s broader goals of reducing congestion and greenhouse gases.
“We have targeted two kinds of neighborhoods where we think the pilot could really have a positive effect,” explained DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, in a statement. “First, in transit-rich neighborhoods where cars are only driven occasionally, we think inexpensive and convenient carshare could encourage owners to sell their car or not buy a new one, thereby freeing up more parking for drivers who need it. And in less-transit dense neighborhoods, carshare could add a travel option for car-free households or those who may now find car ownership unaffordable.”
The pilot program comes after months of meetings with local residents and community stakeholders. The DOT might decide to expand this program further based on the pilot. The city also plans to release annual reports that will highlight the impact of said pilot.