Thursday, October 20, 2005

DC Increases On Street Parking

The Washington DC Department of Transprotation (DDOT) has authorized 50 on street parking spaces for Zipcar and Flexcar carsharing vehicles. Zipcar says they'll be using 27 of the new spaces.

It appears that about half of the new spaces will come from existing truck loading zones and metered spaces, and many will be in the Adams Morgan area. According to the Washington Times, one of the terms of the contract between the city and the companies requires them to put vehicles in all eight wards, including low-income neighborhoods, which have not traditionally seen high membership numbers.

The spaces will be marked with distinctive orange "mobility node" poles, which were first developed and used in Portland, Oregon. Technically, the spaces are not specifically reserved for one company or the other (but for a class of vehicles), which parking place is used by which company is defined by "gentleman's agreement" between the companies.

Like neighboring Arlington County, Washginton DC was interested in the environmental and low-income benefits, "Carsharing meets many of DDOT's goals - it reduces traffic congestion, air pollution and demand for parking while increasing demand for alternative forms of transportation," said Dan Tangherlini, Director of the Department of Transportation. The press release also mentioned the benefit that carsharing provides for low-income persons whose transportation needs may not be fully met by transit, taxis or traditional rental cars.

Arlington County, Virginia, which started a pilot on-street parking program with 20 on-street spaces in 2004, recently increased the number of on-street spaces when they made carsharing support a permanent part of its transportation program. Both Flexcar and Zipcar shadow each other with vehicles at the same Metro rapid transit stations in Arlington County as shown here.

Presently, other cities providing on-street parking for carsharing are: Portland, Oregon; Boston, Mass.; Brookline, Mass and Cambridge, Mass. The city of San Francisco provides parking spaces at city-owned garages to City Carshare and Evanston, Ill. provides spaces in city-owned garages to I-Go.