NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is rolling out a new transportation option.
The Department of Transportation is launching a two-year carshare pilot program citywide.
It designates 309 parking spaces for carshare companies that give members short-term access to a car. That number includes 285 spots reserved for Zipcar and Enterprise CarShare vehicles on streets in certain neighborhoods and municipal park lots.
Zipcar will also be allowed to park at 25 spaces at certain public housing spots.
Users will be able to access the cars from those spots as of June 4, officials said.
The city hopes convenient access to cars will help cut down on the number of vehicles on the road, improve air quality and reduce congestion.
A study on carsharing by the Mineta Transportation Institute found that “an increasing body of empirical evidence supports that carsharing is an effective tool to reduce auto ownership… U.S. and Canadian data reveal that each carsharing vehicle removes between five and 20 cars from the roads.”
“For every vehicle in a carshare program, up to 20 households can forgo the need to own a car, fighting congestion and making our air cleaner,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “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.”
De Blasio said the goal is to reduce the overall number of cars in the city.
“If we don’t reduce the number of cars, we’re all screwed,” he said.
“We have targeted two kinds of neighborhoods where we think the pilot could really have a positive effect. 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,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “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. Either way, we encourage New Yorkers to give carshare a try and let us know what they think.”
As part of the pilot program, the spots will be designated in the following neighborhoods:
- Boerum Hill
- Brooklyn Heights
- Cobble Hill – Carroll Gardens
- East Williamsburg
- Park Slope
- Red Hook
- Eastern Rockaways
- Jackson Heights
- East Harlem
- Hamilton Heights
- Morningside Heights
The pilot program also dedicates 55 parking spaces 17 municipal facilities in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens:
Bronx: Belmont Avenue; White Plains Road; Jerome & 190 Street
Brooklyn: Avenue M; Bensonhurst #1 & #2; Brighton Beach; Grant Avenue; Sheepshead Bay #1 & #2
Queens: Broadway & 31 Street; Far Rockaway #2; Ditmars; Queens Village; Queens Borough Hall; Steinway #2; Sunnyside
The NYCHA sites include:
Bronx (Two spaces each):
- East 152nd St-Courtland Ave
- Davidson Houses
- Marble Hill Houses
- Randall Balcom Houses
- Throggs Neck Addition
- Belmont Sutter Houses (2 spaces)
- Cypress Hills Houses (2 spaces)
- Fiorentino Plaza (3 spaces)
- Glenmore Plaza (3 spaces)
- Marlboro Houses (2 spaces)
- Pink Houses (2 spaces)
“Studies have shown that owning a car in New York City right now is about $9,000 a year, with car payments, insurance, maintenance, as well as the hassles of parking, potential tickets – all the inconveniences of owning a car here,” said Trottenberg. “The carshare prices can range from $8 to $15, $70-120 per day. So if you used a car, let’s say, four hours a week twice a month to run errands or visit family outside the city, you could be spending in the ballpark of about $1,500 a year, as opposed to the $9,000 for owning a car full-time.”
As CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the ridesharing companies are getting a great deal during the pilot, paying $765 — total — as a licensing fee for the spots. That put the mayor on the defensive.
“I want to emphasize that, one, this is not the permanent model, this is just the initial test with a small number of spaces,” de Blasio said, adding that if the model works, it will be expanded aggressively.
The mayor said he believes in ridesharing so much that when he leaves office, he is not going to purchase a car, Kramer reported. He plans to move back to his home in Park Slope and use mass transit and carsharing.