LaBonge: Looser Parking Restrictions Would Make Car Share More Attractive

As the City of Los Angeles continues to mull through a series of proposals to expand Car Sharing from its current 40-space contract with ZipCar, Council Member Tom LaBonge is pushing a new idea. LaBonge wants to see the city loosen parking restrictions for carshare vehicles, providing an alternative to dedicating spaces providers. The “point to point” carshare has proven successful in Vancouver and Berlin. In North America, Car2Go offers point to point carshare in two-seated smart cars in Austin, TX.

Parking is an issue that every carshare company deals with in different ways. In San Francisco, a new ordinance allows developers to exceed parking maximums if they are adding carshare spaces. Photo: Lacy Atkins, ##http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/City-working-to-make-car-sharing-more-popular-3177537.php##SFGate##

“Point-to-point carshare could take more Angelenos to more places, as well as decrease congestion,” writes LaBonge. “We should join Vancouver and Berlin, our Sister Cities, in implementing this concept.” 

LaBonge introduced a motion to this effect last month. The motion asks the City Attorney to investigate the legality of relaxing the restrictions for particular cases and makes the case that each new carshare vehicle will reduce congestion throughout the city.

In a point-to-point carsharing system, Angelenos can pick up a nearby shared car and drop it off anywhere within the City of Los Angeles. The success of a program depends on the ease of finding on-street parking upon drop off. Promoting such a program will decrease congestion by allowing an increasing number of Angelenos to live
without a car.

The current City of Los Angeles municipal code makes no allowance for point-topoint carsharing. For such a program to be feasible, on-street parking restrictions must be relaxed, including but not limited to: permit parking districts, parking at meters, and time restrictions.

Staff with Council Member Bill Rosendahl, the Chair of the Transportation Committee, explain that there is no timeline for when the motion will be heard.  First, the city needs to make its choice on who will be awarded the “official” carshare contract with the city before deciding whether or not to move forward with special exemptions.

However, it’s never too early to begin the debate. Before it becomes a fait accompli, or before its dead on arrival, let’s start the discussion around two questions.

First, is a major relaxing of parking restrictions across the city worth the benefits of an expanded carshare program.

Second, is a “point to point” system an improvement over the current one or should only be tried in addition to the current one?

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