Will a City supported carshare program help reduce car ownership in Brooklyn? The NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) intends to find out with a two-year pilot program launching this Fall.
While the agency will not run a carshare service, it will designate parking spaces on-street and in municipal parking facilities to carshare companies participating in the pilot.
NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced at the end of 2016 the launch of a two-year citywide pilot that will dedicate approximately 300 parking spaces in municipal parking facilities and another 300 street parking spaces in select neighborhoods exclusively to participating carshare companies.
Where Are The Carshare Pilot Zones?
The on-street portion of the NYC DOT Carshare Pilot will take place in 15 select neighborhoods citywide, including the following Brooklyn neighborhoods:
- Boerum Hill
- Brooklyn Heights
- Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens
- East Williamsburg
- Park Slope
- Red Hook
The off-street portion of the NYC DOT Carshare Pilot involves making 10% or up to ten spaces (whichever is less) of parking spaces in all municipal parking facilities available to carshare companies, where there is demand.
The following areas in Brooklyn are included in the off-street portion of the pilot program:
- Avenue M
- Bay Ridge
- Brighton Beach
- Grant Avenue
- Sheepshead Bay
NYC DOT has been asking for feedback from residents of selected pilot zones about where to locate carshare spaces in their neighborhoods. Check out NYC DOT’s online feedback portal to tell them where you think spaces should go.
Two spaces will be implemented at a time on corners in residential areas, only at the curb where it is currently regulated for alternate side parking. No metered parking will be impacted, according to the NYC DOT website.
Research from other cities (including Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle) with carshare programs has “shown that improving access to carsharing supports a reduction in car ownership and vehicle miles travelled among members,” according to the NYC DOT Carshare website. The carshare programs have helped cities “address the challenges of curbside parking pressure, congestion, and vehicle emissions.”
What Is Carsharing?
Members of carsharing services have access to a car for short-term use, reserving it typically by the hour. Some carshare companies, like Zipcar and Enterprise Carshare, provide round-trip service, in which members pick up the car and return it to the same location, usually a parking garage.
Other carshare companies, like Car2Go and ReachNow, offer one-way service, in which members can pick up a car at one location on the street and drop it off at their destination so long as they park it within the company’s service zone.
According to NYC DOT, the goal of the carshare pilot program is to put carsharing “within convenient reach of more New Yorkers,” increasing their ability to get around the city while helping them save money on auto costs.
Adding carshare spaces can help reduce car ownership, DOT states. With reliable access to a car, New Yorkers may decide to do away with their own wheels and save on car insurance, gas, maintenance, tickets, and other expenses involved in owning a vehicle.
The addition of carshare spaces would benefit all drivers in neighborhoods by lowering the number of cars fighting for parking spaces, DOT insists.
“I know that some are skeptical of shifting on-street parking to car-share spaces — I will admit that I was to,” Commissioner Trottenberg said at a City Council meeting announcing the program last December. “But after seeing the numbers on reduced car ownership and lessening demand on our curb space, I believe car share could be a good use of public space that will benefit everyone.”
Another benefit of the program includes carsharers spending less time searching for a parking spot since there will be designated spaces for the participating carshare providers, DOT adds. New Yorkers who use carshare drive less than those who own their own car, according to DOT, and fewer cars on the roads will make for cleaner air and less congestion as well.
How Will The Carshare Pilot Work?
NYC DOT will install signs at the curb and in parking facilities that will clearly indicate “Carshare Parking Only” and “Others No Standing Anytime” along with the name of the specific carshare company permitted to use the space.
If non-carshare vehicles are parked in a carshare space, the NYPD is authorized to ticket and potentially tow away the illegally parked cars.
Additional displayed signage will explain, in multiple languages, the carshare pilot, the new use of the curb, and how to become a carshare member.
New Yorkers can sign up for carshare membership directly with participating carshare companies who will be announced once carshare parking permit applications are available in Fall 2017.
NYC DOT will monitor and evaluate the pilot’s impact on New Yorkers’ mobility, car ownership, and curb access before determining a long-term carshare program. Participating carshare companies will be required to share data to help NYC DOT understand where and how often carshare vehicles are used.
How To Join The Carshare Pilot Program
New Yorkers interested in joining the pilot program can apply for carshare membership directly with a participating carshare company. Participating carsharing providers will be announced in Fall 2017.
Have your driver’s license and credit card info ready when applying. Annual fees and hourly rates will vary with each participating carshare company.
Learn more about the Carshare Pilot at NYC DOT.