Moving toward a Car-Free City

Cars at Curbside, Available to Share (New York Times, July 16, 2010)

Also dicussed here: Surrender Your Permit (City of Hoboken, NJ)

And here:  Corner Cars (City of Hoboken, NJ)

Car-sharing by the hour has taken another step forward with the innovative scheme implemented in Hoboken, NJ where the city actually pays someone to give up the parking permit for their car (and hopefully their car as well). Typically, a car used in a car sharing operation is used by 15-20 people, as opposed to the private car –single user. Reducing the number of cars in a city which car sharing along with alternative modes such as public transit, cycling and walking will accomplish, has two main and positive impacts on urban life and environment: on the one hand, it reduces congestion and the paved storage areas needed for 90% of the day for private vehicles- both on and off street- and on the other hand, less emissions from the total vehicle population and improved air quality.
Key Quotes

“The program, called Corner Cars, is based on the rent-by-the-hour model that companies like Zipcar and Hertz have been offering for years…  Sign up online to get an electronic card in the mail. Then make your reservation, find your car in its assigned space, wave your card by a reader mounted inside the windshield and head off…. Hoboken’s shared cars are parked on the street, in special bright green spots that appear every few blocks so they are never far out of sight or mind”

“Surveys have shown that for each of these vehicles in Hoboken, over 17 households have given up their cars! An additional 20 or more households have said they delayed or avoided buying a car because of access to these cars… The first wave of this program includes about 50 Corner Cars, so we expect to see over 750 cars removed from the streets!”

“What is it about car sharing that causes people to sell their cars or forfeit a car?..a growing culture of sharing of “social networks and the creation of communities through instant information…Mr. Vanderbilt likened it to the difference between paying to acquire and “park” a huge collection of CDs and simply streaming the music you want, when you want it, from the Internet.”

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