Transportation Committee Approves Car2Go Expansion

Proposed New Home Area

Proposed New Home Area

On Tuesday the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee (Rasmussen, Harrell, Godden) approved Car2Go’s request for expansion. (See Car2Go’s letter to the council here.) In his testimony to the council, Car2Go’s Walter Rosencranz specifically cited the influence of social media and ‘local blogs’ in making requests to expand the service area.  In its first 90 days, Car2Go  has enrolled 18,000 Seattle members, triple the number typically seen in other cities during that time.

The proposed new home area is exciting and sensible.

In South Seattle, the proposed boundary is S Orcas St (east of 15th Ave S) and S. Michigan St (west of 15th Ave S).  This effectively captures South North and Mid Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Hillman City, Mt Baker, Georgetown, and SODO.  The only exceptions are Harbor Island and the Duwamish between West Marginal Way and SR-99, which will remain outside the new Home Area.

In West Seattle, the new Home Area covers the Junction, Admiral, Alki, Delridge, and High Point. Interestingly, Car2Go has proposed a Home Area exclave at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal, allowing trips to begin/end within the area bounded by Fauntleroy Way, Fauntleroy Pl, and SW Wildwood Pl.

To accommodate this 25% growth in service area, Car2Go will add 30% to its fleet, bringing the number of cars to 430 citywide.  They have additionally asked the Council for a total of 500 permits so that a further fleet expansion of up to 70 cars could be accommodated without further Council approval.

The proposal goes before the full council next Monday. It is very likely to pass, but it wouldn’t hurt for you to send a quick email to Councilmembers voicing your support.

 




Comments

  1. David Milenni says

    Great!! I hope to see it expand to several thousand cars as soon as possible, as people in the city realize that it is a better and more convenient answer to people ownning their own cars and crowding the cities streets with privately owened parked cars!I think it would be better if the city had a competitive program that would mean jobs and revenue for the city, but unfortuantely capitalism is not in it for the people, so this is better than no shared car service!!

    • LouiseR says

      David, why the snarky remarks about capitalism, when you’ve just finished saying how great it is that a PRIVATE company is about to expand a service you desire and you think is great?! That is just strange. Do you really think the city is set up to supply a “competitive” service?? What would they do, buy a fleet of vehicles with your taxes, and then hire a bunch of people to service them at union wages? How could that possibly be competitive? Think!! Before you shoot off your mouth and say stupid stuff like “capitalism is not in it for the people”. Who do you think the Car2Go program is for? It’s providing a service to the people. (Oh, and by the way, where do you think tax money comes from? It comes from people who WORK for profit, so they can get paid and pay others, etc.) Don’t be a dork.

  2. ben says

    While I love car2go and am ecstatic for its expansion, I hope they bounce up to the 500 car fleet ASAP. Even without range expansion, the cars have been much fewer and far between in my experience.

  3. Fnarf says

    Cool.

    It was really funny to see the wall of icons along Cloverdale Street, the old southern boundary, on the app.

  4. d.p. says

    FYI, while this expansion captures much of Mid-Beacon Hill, it doesn’t come close to including South Beacon Hill, which is the part beyond Graham or even Myrtle (where the 36 leaves the hill).

    Beacon Hill is properly a ridge, and is exceedingly long. The Link station is in “North”. Mid- contains most of the population, in mid-density sprawl. South is surprisingly sparse.

  5. Andy says

    Such great news. I have found Car2Go to be a pretty perfect complement to my pedestrian/transit lifestyle. There when I need it and how I need it. Really excited to include west seattle and such. Hopefully Airport one of these days, at least as an island.

    • Becky says

      I’ve actually found it to be a good complement to Link for airport trips, even before the expanded zone. I was able to park at Beacon Hill station and catch one of the first trains for a 7 am flight. Obviously expanding Link hours would be nice. I guess I just see including the airport in the zone as a little bit outside of what car2go is best for.

      • Andy says

        Yeah that is my main problem. I actually can utilize the Monorail effectively for a transfer to LINK. The problem is I often fly out at 6am otherwise I’d take LINK every time. I’d much prefer extending those hours to the Car2Go solution.

        And I agree… they had to study the traffic patterns to make sure they get cycled back up north quickly enough. Probably one of those pipe dreams that doesn’t line up with reality well.

      • Orv says

        I expect the licensing fees from the Port of Seattle would also be prohibitive. They seem to be designed to protect the taxi business.

  6. Janine Blaeloch says

    Wish they would expand it north from 125th to 145th. Zipcar abandoned Lake City long ago, and Car2Go has been our hope for wider availability.

    • says

      125th is a weird boundary, ‘eh? It sort of cuts the commercial core of Lake City in half!

      One thing working against C2G in Lake City is that a lot of the businesses are in places dominated by big off-street parking lots (especially LCW).

    • says

      In some other thread some time ago where the oft-cited Shoup statistic that private cars spend 95% of their time parked came up, there was a question what that number looks like for car-share cars. I searched around a bit for C2G stats and couldn’t find anything applicable, but the Vancouver article provides something:

      12000 trips per week, for 320 cars; that’s a little less than 40 trips per car per week, a little more than 5 trips per car per day. So trip duration matters. To match the private car rate of 5% of time in use C2G trips must average 14 minutes.

      These numbers are just from one city after one year of operation, of course. If the system becomes more popular the company won’t need to maintain such low usage rates to ensure availability. Another thing to consider is that the private cars of target C2G users probably average considerably less than 5% usage.

      • Andy says

        In my experience cars move around quickly here. If I don’t jump on a car and reserve it it will be gone within minutes.

  7. Bill says

    When would the expansion take effect? Can we begin parking in Columbia City next Tuesday?

  8. Brent says

    These tiny pod cars will destroy the character of Seattle. We must have a moratorium immediately! Oh, and it’s time to place a moratorium on new bikes, too, before too many non-millionaires move in and drive down, er ride down, our property values.

    Who wants to drive in such a cramped space, anyway?

    • Mark Y. says

      And they park in front of my condo and block the view of the Space Needle from the basement! Oh the horror!

    • mic says

      We’re on to you cousin Brent Eyman and your little sidekick Mark. Start moratoriums on everything from A-Z just so you can trade ‘lifting moratorium credits’ in exchange for money.
      You greedy little carpet baggers are what’s killing the character of Seattle.
      Shame, Shame on you.

  9. asdf says

    This is great news. Now if we could just keep it going and expand to the denser parts of Bellevue…

      • asdf says

        I don’t believe the demand in Belleuve would be any less than the demand in West Seattle, View Ridge, Sand Point, or Crown Hill. The problem with Bellevue is parking. Car2Go is currently dependent on street parking, and the parts of Bellevue that have ample street parking are single-family-home neighborhoods with nothing around that would generate almost no demand for the service. Meanwhile, the places in Bellevue that would have the demand to justify the service all have parking that is almost entirely off-street, in private lots, while nearby on-street parking is almost non-existant.

        Residential parking, where there is any density to be had, is all private apartment complexes, whose parking lots empty out to arterial streets that forbid parking. Stores are almost all in shopping centers, whose parking lots again empty out to arterial streets that forbid parking. And downtown Bellevue, again, has almost all of it’s parking supply in private garages, with virtually no street spaces.

        Think about where you would park a Car2Go if you were headed to Microsoft? Or an apartment or grocery store near Microsoft? If private property is off-limit, the only legal parking would be a residential cul-de-sac half a mile away, tucked out of the way somewhere where if you didn’t look at the map and research the location, you would never know it’s there.

        Ideally, apartment complexes would welcome Car2Go vehicles being parked on their lots, as a service to their residents. Same with shopping centers, especially those with bloated parking lots that bloated parking requirements necessitated be much larger than the actual customer demand on the average day. In practice, though, I don’t see this happening any time soon. And this is a big reason why I don’t see Car2Go expanding to Bellevue any time soon.

  10. d.p. says

    One potential problem with the Georgetown/Industrial District boundary is that neither Michigan nor Bailey allow street parking, and the area is so bursting with off-street parking that on-street is disallowed on many cross streets as well.

    I can imagine it being quite hard to find a place to leave your car2go in accordance with the rules.

    • asdf says

      Yup – that is exactly why Car2Go will not operate in Bellevue in the foreseeable future. Tons of parking, but virtually no parking at all that Car2Go users can use without doing a stopover, which drastically increases the price. I find it extremely ironic that in auto-centric areas like Bellevue, it is a lack of parking, of all things, that makes it virtually impossible for a Car2Go-style service to operate.

  11. says

    Is there any space for alternate providers to enter the market? Zipcar has expressed some interest in offering this service, but it’d be a shame if they also had to go to the council to get the permits approved.

    • aw says

      “it’d be a shame if they also had to go to the council to get the permits approved.”

      Why? Car2Go operates by one business plan; Zipcar has operated by another business plan. Car2Go negotiated with the city the terms of their parking agreement. If another provider comes in, they need to go through the same motions.

      The city now has a framework for an agreement, but the parties have to agree to specific terms.

    • Brent says

      I like this precedent wherein private car owners have to negotiate with the City on where they can park their private vehicles.

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