Nosy Neighbor: Why is the city dedicating street parking space to Zipcar?

J. wrote: Have you seen these Zipcar parking spaces on the corner of Greenwich and Jay by Sarabeth’s? I’m curious why the city is dedicating street parking spaces to Zipcars. The signs were up a month ago, then removed, and now they are back. [And there are some on Washington and Laight.]

It turns out I had already drafted a post on this, but at the time, we didn’t have any parking space in the district so I put it on the back burner. The city Department of Transportation now has its own carshare program — sort of — with a list of about 500 dedicated spaces (so far) around the city. They have partnered with three carshare companies, Getaround, Zipcar and Truqit.

The idea is to improve air quality, mitigate traffic and congestion, cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the total vehicle miles traveled. This certainly adds a new angle to the discussion of what are our public spaces intended for. At first glance, it seems the city is now reserving public space for three private companies that encourage car use.

The way Downtown has the highest car ownership rate in the city at 26 percent, and this is partly designed to assist lower income neighborhoods, so that’s why were were later on the list. There are also spaces in Chinatown, Soho and a couple in Hudson Square (see the list below).

“I can understand the objective,” J. said, “especially to try to offset pressure from car ownership. But I’m sure enforcement of the designated parking spaces will be a challenge. In a worst case scenario, I can see Zipcars strewn across the city abandoned like the Lime electric scooters.”

Getaround 217 Mott Street
Getaround 202 Spring Street
Getaround 512 Greenwich Street
Getaround 125 Thompson Street
Getaround 29 Bedford Street
Zipcar 32 Washington Square West
Getaround 298 West 11th Street
Zipcar 32 East 11th Street

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  1. Again.. I keep repeating the same thing.. where is City Hall on all this? who is authorizing this, and why?

    • The principal behind this is that a shared car which services multiple people is a better use of public street space than a single personal car.

  2. Of all the ways street parking is abused in tribeca and NYC in general, I actually approve of this one! Presumably the car share companies are paying the city for the use of these spots.

  3. The City is dedicating spaces to programs like Zipcar in hopes that less people feel the need to own cars (reducing car usage not encouraging car usage) and to help people who can’t afford to own and park cars have access to cars when they need them. I believe anyone upset with this initiative is really upset with the fact that they can’t find street parking easily and that garages are getting away with charging $1200/month for parking, not with the business model of the Zipcar or the goal of this initiative.

  4. It’s a good idea if people use them. We are likely selling our car and this would be compelling if there are enough zip cars. I see a lot of Mercedes. Land rovers etc parked in our neighborhood streets. I don’t have empathy for the private car owner. I’m one too.

    • We have a car and street park it, but support this initiative. We would like to get rid of our car, but would like access to a car once or twice a month through a car share or rental program. Doing so would cut down on some unnecessary driving we do (moving it twice a week for alternative side parking) and discretionary trips within the city when we could use public transit. This would be good for the environment, since it would cut down on our total driving and when we do rent we would like to rent a hybrid or electric vehicle if possible.NYC is an outlier in terms of all the public spaces that are available free of charge to car owners.

  5. In theory this sounds great. The reality is (happened to friends in Brooklyn), the scenario becomes nightmarish when you drop the car off and the designated spot is illegally taken by some other car… frustration. Car share companies don’t look out for your best interest, and you need to hang out with the car until a solution is found which could be hours.

    Also if you drive often, car shares get very costly very fast. And the logic of less congestion and gas emissions is lost on me. It’s still a car, and car shares actually encouraging car usage over other modes of transport.

  6. Good news. Excited to use the share. Better use of curb space than letting some construction worker from NJ park there all day for free.

  7. Where is my plumber, electrician, HVAC servicer going to park his van when they are needed? They don’t live in Tribeca. Many of them have stopped providing service in our neighborhood to small buildings. The large buildings provide a parking spot for them in their indoor garages. They are okay but the small buildings are not.

  8. I’m in Queens and one day the sign just showed up with no notice or warning! It takes up 2 parking spots in a residential neighborhood where there has never been any ride share/car share vehicles in the area. Since the sign has been up, there still has never been any ride share car there. It is nothing but another way for the DOT to profit off of taxpayers. Traffic cops have given out tickets to 2 cars at a time (even though they are parked on the right side of the street for alternate side parking). It’s a goldmine for the DOT.

  9. The parking dilemma is going to be solved in my opinion by installing more tolls at entry and exit points, e.g. on the three bridges coming in from Brooklyn and the tunnels. While we are discussing this I believe additional work needs to be done to get rid of the cobblestone streets. The effect of those nobody thought of is the influx of eScooters, e-bikes, citibikes and deliveries treacherously running down people on the sidewalks.

  10. ZipCar is more expensive than owning a car with less flexibility. This city has done more to make it unlivable for the people who do the hardest work. Taking away parking isn’t going to get more people to use zipcar. It’s only going to create resentment.