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2-Year Carsharing Pilot Program to Launch in Fall, City Says

 The city is rolling out a car sharing pilot in 15 neighborhoods this fall for companies like Zipcar.
The city is rolling out a car sharing pilot in 15 neighborhoods this fall for companies like Zipcar.
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PARK SLOPE — Before the year is over, the city will remove 300 on-street parking spots in select neighborhoods and give them over to private carsharing companies as part of a test to see if they can convince more New Yorkers to permanently part with their private vehicles.

The two-year program will swap 300 on-street parking spots — and another 300 spaces in certain city lots — in Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Red Hook, Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Hamilton Heights, East Harlem, Morningside Heights, Jamaica, Jackson Heights, Ridgewood, the Eastern Rockaways and Soundview.

Even before the launch, the program is eliciting mixed reactions from New Yorkers. 

"The environmentalist part of me really likes this, but the car owner part of me hates losing parking spots," said Melissa Markos, who had just managed to find a Seventh Avenue parking spot Monday after a 20-minute hunt. "But I'm not going to be a NIMBY and spoil it for everyone. I say see how it goes."

The carsharing program, which mimics programs in Seattle, San Francisco and Philadelphia, will actually help matters by getting cars off the road, said one Park Slope community leader.

"It presents a real opportunity for people who are light users to give up their cars," said Eric McClure, chairman of Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee and executive director of StreetsPAC. "‘Oh it’s going to take parking spots,’ is always the reaction, but then when it comes it goes from, ‘Oh it’s going to be fine,’ to actually being better.”

DOT officials initially announced the program's roll out for this spring, but the agency is still completing the permitting process that will allow companies to apply for spaces once the program launches, according to DOT spokeswoman Alana Morales.

Existing car-sharing companies such as ZipCar, Car2Go, Enterprise Carshare and ReachNow, will be able to apply to take part, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at a City Council Transportation Committee meeting announcing the plan.

Spaces will be implemented two at a time on residential curbs and new signage will be erected to flag spots as "Carshare Parking Only." Police will be able to ticket and tow non-carshare vehicles illegally parked in the zones.

New Yorkers will be able to apply for pilot membership after the city announces the selected companies in the coming months.

In the meantime, residents can submit feedback on where they would or wouldn't like to see the carsharing spots in their neighborhoods.