Car share companies eye a piece of the curb 

Car share services such as City CarShare and Zipcar could be coming closer to the curb, but it will come at the cost of precious street parking.

Currently, customers pick up their shared cars in private lots such as gas stations, garages and apartment complexes. A new Municipal Transportation Agency plan with the support of Mayor Ed Lee and Board President David Chiu, however, would allow companies to rent exclusive spots on public streets.

The proposal is the latest in a string of efforts that sacrifice street parking to create a “livable city.” Temporary “parklets,” landscaped mini parks taking the place of parking spots, have been increasing throughout San Francisco as have more bicycle lanes and racks.

This latest plan would expand the reach of carshare companies while providing some extra cash to the agency that runs Muni. Each space would cost $150 a month to rent, and motorists that park illegally in the spots will be hit with a $100 ticket and could be towed away.

The pilot program set to begin this fall would only involve City CarShare, which has entered into a contract with the City Administrator’s Office. It will initially take up six total parking spaces throughout The City. After the pilot program, more spaces could open up depending on the success of the program.

Allowing more dedicated spots would also threaten already precious parking spaces in city neighborhoods. Jim Lazarus with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has often been critical of policies that sacrifice parking, but he said this plan seems like a good idea as long as The City gets input from the affected community.

“On the one hand, dense neighborhoods are where carshare is popular,” Lazarus said. “At the same time, that’s where parking is scarce. It’s all a tradeoff.”

Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich applauded the idea as a way to promote the idea of carsharing while offering a more convenient and safer place for people to pick up their cars.

“There’s always the concern of lost parking spots, but there are pretty good statistics that show people who join carshare end up shedding their vehicles,” Radulovich said. “In the end, that means more parking spots.”

The pilot plan would begin this fall with approval of legislation introduced last week. A hearing on the plan will be scheduled with the Land Use and Economic Development Committee in July.

Mark the spot

Where will the first City CarShare spots be?

- Hyde and Union
- Polk and Greenwich
- Taylor and Pacific
- 38 Harriet
- Valencia and 17th Street
- Clay and Fillmore

$100 fine for illegally parking in one of the CarShare spots

Source: SFMTA

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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Brent Begin

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