In Denver, free parking for car sharing

July 31, 2013

Here in New York, where parking is scarce and public transportation plentiful, car sharing is a popular alternative mode of transportation for the large majority without cars of their own. Need to visit the Ikea in Redhook? Get a Zipcar. Want take a daytrip to Far Rockaway? Zipcar, again.

Car sharing’s success in New York City was almost inevitable, but it’s growing steadily in other cities as well. In Denver, car sharing has become an increasingly available option. In fact, Denver welcomes car-share companies and actually dedicates parking spaces to car-share vehicles, an accommodation that has certainly helped to raise their profiles in recent months.

car sharing

Car2Go operates in 21 cities in North America and Europe. Here, a Car2Go car in Vancouver. From Stephen Rees.

In June of this year, car-sharing company Car2Go launched in Denver with a fleet of small, two-seat cars. Eventually, the company hopes to have 300 cars in Denver alone. Car2Go joins other companies like Occasional Car and eGo CarShare in the city, where according to the Denver Post, such services have been slowly gaining momentum.

Car2Go is new to Denver, but not new. The company became the first to use the one-way service model in Ulm, Germany in 2009. With one-way or free-floating services, users locate nearby cars using their smartphones. When they arrive at their destination, they can park the car wherever they find an available spot. In Denver, Car2Go has a deal with the city that allows users to park in metered spots for free. The other Denver car shares use different models and have parking stations designated exclusively for their cars.

According to the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley, more than 890,000 people in the U.S. were members of a car-sharing company as of January 2013. Six months earlier, there were just 806,332 members.

car share

Denver has reserved 28 spots for car share vehicles. From MyParkingSign.

To keep up with the demand for car-share services, Denver has begun work on a regulatory framework for car-sharing companies that includes, vehicle permits, fees and parking spaces. The Denver Public Works Department has allocated 28 of a possible 30 parking spaces to the car-share companies in downtown Denver. Car2Go and Zipcar received seven each, Hertz 24/7 received 10 and eGo Car Share received four.

Those with cars shouldn’t worry about finding available parking, though. The allotted spots were created from unused space like restricted parking areas or the corners of intersections.

Denver’s hope is that more car sharing will mean fewer cars on the road and less traffic. If they continue to work with car share companies to make the whole process easier, Denver could look like Berlin (the largest one-way, car-sharing city in the world) in no time.

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Category: Green Parking

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