Car shares may get share of street parking 

Reserved parking spots for car share vehicles, found in parking lots and garages, soon may be found in street spaces too — a shift that would surely rev up controversy in a city where parking is rare and prized.

Still in the formative stages, Municipal Transportation Agency spokeswoman Kristen Holland said city staff members are looking at how street parking in various neighborhoods around the city could reserved specifically for car share vehicles.

She said it has not yet been determined whether the reserved spots would be located in metered, permitted or unpermitted spaces — or some combination of those. It’s also not yet decided whether the street parking spaces would only be available to nonprofits like City CarShare, or whether they would also be available to for-profit operations like ZipCar.

Street parking could make accessing car sharing programs more convenient. Car share cars are currently parked in private and public garages. Participants are given electronic keys that can open any car they reserve, and they rent the cars hourly. It’s pitched as a cheaper and environmentally friendly alternative to owning a car.

Other cities nationwide have reserved on-street parking for car share vehicles, and California passed legislation in 2006 that allowed cities to decide whether to allow it, said City CarShare President Rick Hutchinson.

He said his company has been in on-and-off discussions for about two years with San Francisco over the concept. ZipCar spokesman John Williams said ZipCar has had discussions with the city about the idea in the past, but not for several months.

Philadelphia was one of the early cities to reserve on-street parking for car shares. Philadelphia Parking Authority official Linda Miller said the initial legislation authorizing nonprofit car shares to use street parking was passed in 2006, and was expanded to include for-profit enterprises last year.

In total, Philadelphia has turned over 82 parking spaces to car share programs and those spaces are scattered throughout the city, she said.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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Katie Worth

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