Should City Provide Dedicated Parking for Car Sharing?
Last fall when car sharing giants Zipcar and Flexcar merged there were some bad side effects for the City of Los Angeles. After the merger, Zipcars began to disappear from the streets as the merged company decided to focus on bringing car sharing to college campuses because they were losing money on their other urban investments. This move left many car-free residents who relied on Zipcar or Flexcar for the occasional emergency both high and dry.
The City Council and LADOT are seeking to remedy that problem, but so far the only company interested in helping out is Zipcar. The city has twice requested interested parties to submit proposals for the areas outside of college campuses, Hollywood and the Downtown; but all Zipcar is willing to do is expand their campus services to the areas just outside of UCLA and USC for a one year-pilot program. The Council’s offer to provide dedicated parking at the cost of signage and street paint garnered no interest from any of the other car share companies.
This Wednesday, LADOT is going to the Council’s Transportation Committee this week to seek guidance. Is Zipcar’s proposal to expand their services worthy of dedicated parking by itself or should the city require the service for all four of its proposed locations? If Zipcar’s expansion goes forward and is successful it could lead to further car sharing opportunities; but on the other hand all that Zipcar is promising is to expand service in the only areas that are already served.
Any comments that are provided will be presented to the committee this Wednesday.
Photo: Poppyseed Bandit/Flickr