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May 4, 2010
by Jessica Sheridan Assoc. AIA LEED AP

Last week, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) announced the beginning of public review for new zoning to expand the use of car sharing in the city. With the success of Zipcar, one of three such programs in the city (along with Connect by Hertz and Mint Cars On-Demand), hopefully new regulations will clarify where the vehicles can be located and, ultimately, provide space needed for the programs to expand.

Under the proposal, car share vehicles will be permitted to park in greater numbers both in higher density neighborhoods and in public parking facilities. Based on the type of residential, commercial, manufacturing, or community facility districts, a certain percentage of vehicle spaces may be reserved for car share parking. According to the chart DCP released with the announcement, in most cases if a parking facility has 20 or more spaces, it could allow up to 10% of the total vehicle spaces for car share parking. In a public lot or garage, though, up to 40% of the total spaces may be reserved for car share vehicles.

The press release cites San Francisco as a model, where it’s been proven that roughly 40-50 members typically share one vehicle, rather than one or two people per household. That, and the fact that car share members typically plan to complete multiple errands in one trip, San Francisco claims that the amount people driving over the course of several years was reduced by two thirds.

While LEED has given credits for providing spaces for car sharing vehicles since its inception, I am excited to see that the city is once again integrating sustainable practices into new regulations. Over-congestion has long been a serious issue in the city, and while I think we’re still a long way off from everyone giving up their cars for public transportation, this is a major step in the right direction.

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