Upcoming at December Meeting: On-Street Car Sharing - Interim Results and Possible Changes

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By Rupert Clayton, HANC Board

Early in 2017, San Francisco will consider implementing permanent regulations to let car-share companies have exclusive access to on-street parking spaces. As part of our member meeting on Thursday December 8, HANC President Bruce Wolfe and board member Rupert Clayton will lead a discussion of the benefits and challenges of the current pilot program and some changes we may want to advocate for in the permanent replacement.

The pilot program was scheduled to run from September 2013 through August 2015, but has remained the framework for managing car-share spaces on San Francisco streets. The program authorized up to 900 parking spaces across the city to be dedicated to specific Car-Share Organizations (CSOs). In fact, only about 200 spaces, 14 of them within HANC’s boundaries, were taken up by the three approved CSOs: the fleet-based operations of ZipCar and City CarShare and the “peer-to-peer” network Getaround.

 

Car Share Upheaval

In the three years that the pilot has been operating, the car-share business has seen its own changes. The biggest upheaval has been at City Carshare, which entered the pilot as a non-profit car-share pioneer, but merged with carpool company Carma in 2015. A few weeks ago, City CarShare closed up independent operations without warning and dumped all of its vehicles into Getaround’s network. Meantime, new car share companies have entered San Francisco, notably Enterprise Carshare, and want access to on-street spaces. Then there are one-way car-share and scooter operators as well.

Based on preliminary data from the pilot, we’ll look at how often the car-share vehicles in our neighborhood are used, how many different people use them and how these figures compare to averages for the program, for the car share industry and for regular privately owned vehicles.

The pilot legislation permitted little public input on the siting of car-share spaces. In general, the locations are negotiated between the CSOs and and approved in blocks by the SFMTA board. There is currently no coordination with the many other programs that reserve curb space. We’ll discuss options to improve planning, notification and consultation, and also the review process for underperforming and problematic spaces.

We’ll also talk about ways to tweak the program to ensure that each space generates a net benefit for the community and doesn’t just act as cheap parking for large rental companies or private car owners. Come to the Park Branch Library, 1833 Page Street, at 7pm Thursday, December 8 to have your say on the city’s car-share program.

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