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Manhattan and Surrounding Neighborhoods Lose 300 Street Parking Spots to Car-Share Companies

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New York City Street Parking

Photo: Max Pixel

If you’ve ever driven through New York City, you know that parking is a game of musical chairs turned sport. There are a limited number of spaces, countless cars, and a lot of angry drivers. New York City’s Department of Transportation has been making an effort to reduce congestion in the city by installing bike lanes and, most recently, expanding the availability of car-sharing services like Zipcar.

Of course, car-share services are not the same as ride-sharing services. Ride-sharing services include companies like Uber and Lyft, similar to calling a cab. Car-sharing services are stationary vehicles you can rent out for an allotted period of time. When the car-share vehicles are not in use, they need to be parked somewhere; that’s where New York City officials are running into some trouble.

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In an effort to make these services more accessible, the city is reserving parking spots in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and other surrounding neighborhoods for car-sharing vehicles. This means that local residents — primarily low-income individuals — will lose around 300 public parking spaces in the area.

“It’s already really hard to find parking,” said one local resident, Elisa Ferreira. “It’s only going to be harder for us.”

The city also received criticism from officials at AAA, including legislative committee chairman John Corlett. “You’re basically taking those spaces off the plate there for the public,” he said. “It’s a valuable commodity they are handing over to a private, profit-making company.” Car-sharing companies will not have to pay to use the reserved parking spaces.

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Despite the backlash, those implementing this change are doing so in hopes that it will reduce vehicle ownership in the city. In theory, car-sharing services will reduce the need for individual vehicles and improve emission levels in New York. Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg stands by the city’s decision: “It’s not my job to make anyone take up a particular mode,” she said. “It is my job to try to provide the best options I can for all the travelers of New York City.”

Zipcar issued a statement on the issue, as well: “We share the City of New York’s vision of easing traffic congestion, reducing parking demand and promoting sustainable transportation options,” said spokeswoman Katelyn Chesley.

The changes to public parking spots will be official on Monday, June 4.

News Source: The New York Times, ABC 7 New York