Council Transportation Committee Approves Harlem’s Mark Levine Car Sharing Bill

Today, the City Council Transportation Committee approved legislation prime sponsored by Harlem Council Member Mark Levine, requiring the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish a pilot program providing car-sharing organizations with dedicated parking on city streets and in city-owned parking facilities (Intro 873). The legislation has 31 Council sponsors and has been endorsed by the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Car sharing programs offer major cities numerous and considerable environmental, economic, and quality of life benefits, including the reduction of road congestion. For example, the City of Seattle recently found that 14% of free-floating car share members had given up a vehicle since joining the service, with half of that group indicating that the availability of free-floating car share was a factor in the decision.

According to data from a 2016 UC Berkeley survey conducted across 5 cities:

  • 2–5% of respondents sold a car as a result of a car sharing program being implemented in their neighborhood, while 7–10% of respondents avoided buying a car
  • In Calgary for example, for every 1 car share vehicle put on the street approximately 11 personal cars were taken off

The environmental benefits of car sharing programs are also significant, as they have been shown to cut urban air pollution by getting cars off the street, and replacing older vehicles in favor of newer, more energy efficient cars. Additionally, car sharing programs benefit consumers and people of all income levels as most of these programs do not require a down payment, monthly payments, registration fees, insurance, fuel or maintenance costs.

Though on-street car sharing programs such as Car2Go and Zipcar have already proven to be incredibly successful in parts of Brooklyn and Queens, Intro 873 will help open the door to enable these services and others to benefit the rest of City. The legislation will be voted on by the full Council at the next stated meeting on March 1st.

“New York is home to more than a 1.4 million cars, and as anyone who’s ever looked for a parking spot in Borough Park, Forest Hills or anywhere in Manhattan knows all too well, it is a brutal and time consuming process,” said Council Member Mark Levine, prime sponsor of Intro 873. “Car sharing programs have extraordinary potential to solve this problem while increasing quality of life by reducing road congestion and growing the number of people who have access to cars. The quality of life, economic, and even environmental benefits of these programs are significant. The research is clear that for every one shared car put on a city street, between 5 and 10 less fuel efficient cars are taken off.”

“One of my top goals as chair of the Transportation Committee has been to reduce car ownership in New York City as a way to reduce car use on the whole,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “Car share programs have been found to reduce car ownership in areas rich with transit, while providing a lifeline to areas with little transit access. Through this pilot program, complete with on street access, we can accomplish these goals to improve transportation as a whole in NYC.”

“Car sharing programs like Zipcar and Car2Go help reduce car ownership — and thus the number of cars on the road — by encouraging New Yorkers to use cars less frequently and either bike, walk or use transit more often. As an added benefit, these programs can help reduce road maintenance costs and the amount of parking infrastructure required,” said Marcia Bystryn, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “We thank Council Member Levine and Council Member Rodriguez for their leadership in pushing for designated parking spaces for car share vehicles.”