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, ##

“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?

  • Anonymous

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

    You’re asking if increased freedom is worth increased freedom. The answer is yes.

  • Mike Brennan

    Car2Go also operates a 300 all electric smart car fleet in San Diego

  • Mike Brennan

    Oops. Make that 500 car fleet.

  • Mike Brennan

    BTW San Diego Car2go users are allowed to park their cars in any metered spot in the service area for free. 

  • Juan

    Point to point is good stuff. My interpretation of California law is that it grants many of the same privileges to peer to peer car share vehicles.

  • Linnea

    As a Mid-City resident without a car, I am particularly interested in this. I haven’t used the Zip car, but I see them in Hollywood.

    I would be willing to GO to Hollywood to pick up the car, but I wouldn’t want to have to return it to Hollywood. Having free parking at parking meters in my neighborhood for a ‘dropped off’ car would be a major incentive to use the system.

    HOWEVER, I think this should be a temporary solution; after enough people adopt the system, there should be designated drop-off locations every couple of miles.

    In the meanwhile, I think the users of the carshares should be paying the (approximate) parking fees as part of their rentals, and the carshare companies remitting them or some approximation thereof to the City.

  • Mike Brennan

    The freedom to pick up the cars wherever they are in your neighborhood (found on the car2go app) and drop them off wherever you are going is extremely convenient. The company tends to shuffle them back to where they are heavily used and they have several set parking areas where you can always find car2go vehicles. The success of their model depends on free metered parking – otherwise you could not leave a vehicle in that spot. The company has a deal with the City to reimburse for metered space usage and those costs are built into member rates. San Diego has some of the best electric car charging infrastructure and will be the best in the nation very soon – due in no small part to car2go.

  • Melissa

    The biggest concern with a point to point system in Los Angeles is the size of the city.  There is a reason why Car2go is offered in cities smaller in scale (i.e. Austin, DC, Miami, Portland, San Diego).  To launch in a larger city would require more staff than necessarily needed and its much easier to retrieve to redistribute the cars in a smaller service area.   

    Secondly, the premise of carsharing is to remove cars off the road.  How does bringing in an additional 500 cars, to serve residents who already do not own a car, help remove cars let alone ease congestion?  They are actually adding to the problem. 

    The City of LA needs to think outside of the box and figure out a way to use their own vehicles to support such a program and allow free floating parking amongst city owned lots.  Removing parking spaces from residents and visitors to the city, in order for a  company to make money, doesn’t make much sense for a city who just tried to pass off a new sales tax in Measure A.  

    Taking into consideration that Car2go does pay upwards of $500k annually for the value of the meters removed (they payed Washington DC $678k), that is a one-time payment the city will receive.  Wouldn’t it be smarter to use city vehicles and increase revenue for the CITY?  Or is it smarter to work an arrangement with the parking lot owners?

    Expansion won’t happen in the City of LA and if you have visited Santa Monica recently, with all that traffic, don’t expect carsharing there either.  Get excited about BikeNation, that’s the true solution. 

  • melissa

    Not true Juan, a peer to peer system has NOT been adopted in any major city through metered parking arrangements.  Peer to peer allows the average person to install electronics in their vehicle and make money by renting through the marketplace (i.e. Getaround or RelayRides).  Peer to peer will never happen in a formal arrangement with any city.

  • Melissa

    At 13.99 per hour, neither parking nor fuel are free, it is included in the rate.  Breaking it down per minute sounds more enticing to the user. 

  • melissa

    Not a single fuel powered car?

  • melissa

    Excise tax revenue is low, mixed (fuel and electric) fleet please.



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