Carsharing Policy

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Policy Proposals

Context: Policies for a Shareable City

"Here are a few ways a city might foster widespread Carsharing:

1. Designate on-street parking spaces for cars that are part of a carsharing program: Innovative Mobility has done some great research on parking policies and carsharing. Given the findings that every shared car results in a handful of cars being taken off the road, designating street parking for shared cars will actually result in more on-street parking. San Francisco has caught on to this and recently started renting street parking spaces to City Car Share. In particular, cities should increase parking for shared cars near public transportation hubs.

2. Allow people to lease their residential parking spots: Parking sharing is a smart use of resources, and someone with an empty driveway could offer a valuable parking spot to a carsharing program – or anyone’s car, for that matter. But earning money by leasing a parking spot could run a property owner up against laws that prohibit people from using their properties for certain business uses. Cities should clarify that leasing a parking space like this is an acceptable home business use of a property.

3. Legalize off-street parking spots for cars that are part of a carsharing program: It turns out that just because a space is paved doesn’t mean it’s legal to park a car there. Currently, many of the carshare-designated spaces in gas stations and private driveways are technically illegal parking spots. Cities also tend not to allow tandem parking in driveways. A city should legalize additional off-street parking spaces to allow those spots to be used by shared vehicles. Furthermore, by the same reasoning that it is legal to block your own driveway by parallel parking, it should be legal to designate tandem parking spots in driveways. In both cases, one car will have to be moved for the other to leave, and residents should be allowed to set up their parking this way if they wish.

4. Make it expensive for other cars to park on the street: A city could incentivize carsharing by disincentivizing individual car ownership. Many cities make car owners pay an annual fee of between $30 and $200 in order to park a car on the street. Raising that fee is justifiable, given the high cost to a city of maintaining street parking and the social/environmental cost of every car in existence.

5. Subsidize or require carsharing programs in new multi-unit developments: Carsharing could easily be administered by a condo-owners' association or apartment manager in a multi-unit development. To offset the traffic and parking impact of new developments, cities could subsidize or require that the new development include a plan or program for carsharing." (