June 1, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The city is reserving a small number of parking spaces under the 7 train viaduct for car-share services as part of a citywide pilot launching next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday.
Four parking spots at the DOT’s Sunnyside Municipal Parking Field, running under the 7 train on Queens Boulevard between 32nd Place and 48th Street, will be set aside for customers using companies like Zipcar and Enterprise for their short-term car sharing services under the DOT CarShare pilot.
The two-year pilot begins on Monday, and includes a total of 230 on-street parking spaces being reserved in 14 neighborhoods by the city for the program, along with 55 spaces at 17 municipal parking facilities. Some spots in NYCHA developments are also set aside, with discounts available to NYCHA residents to use ZipCar’s services.
It is unclear if the four parking spots in the Sunnyside parking field will be concentrated in one area, or separated through the stretch of the facility. Zipcar, however, is the only company that will hold the car share-reserved parking spots at the site.
Signs noting car-sharing regulations will be posted in all pilot locations, with some already in place for on-street parking zones. The reserved spots are only available to carshare vehicles, with non-carshare vehicles subject to fines and towing for parking in those spaces.
Nearby areas that are part of the program include Jackson Heights, with a total of eight spaces set aside for car-share services, and a combined 14 municipal parking spaces in some Astoria locations.
The city said it is launching the pilot to study if car sharing can relieve traffic congestion and provide a reliable, affordable travel alternative for New Yorkers living in transit deserts.
“For every vehicle in a car-share program, up to twenty households can forgo the need to own a car, fighting congestion and making our air cleaner,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement.
The pilot has been months in the making, and came about with the public and the DOT looking at areas where car sharing could work through interactive online maps and interactions with DOT Street Ambassadors in pilot zones.
In all, some 309 parking spaces will be reserved for car sharing in the pilot. Both companies are each paying a meager $765 a year for all the off-street parking spots, along with the regular fees for municipal spots.
The rates for the Sunnyside parking field are currently at 25¢ per 15 minutes for a 4 hour limit, with a large number of spaces also offering 25¢ per 15 minutes for up to 14 hours, with a maximum charge of $8 in these spaces.
The Sunnyside parking field is also subject to another DOT proposal that includes converting dozens of the 14-hour parking spots to 4-hour spaces, and starting the meters at 5 a.m. instead of 8 a.m. Some parking spaces there would also be removed under the proposal.
The proposal, presented to Community Board 2 in November 2017, is still undergoing work.
To use the car-share service in this pilot, customers can apply directly to Zipcar and/or Enterprise CarShare for membership. Pricing is between $8 to $18 the hour, with membership fees between $40 to $70 a year, the city said.
The rides under the pilot are round-trip, meaning customers must return the cars to the same spot they picked them up from at the end of use. Customers, however, are free to park wherever is legal in between the session.
For more information on the pilot, include where the car-sharing sites are, visit the DOT’s CarShare portal.