Parkspots outside Olympic Village Canada Line station in Vancouver
Parkspots outside Olympic Village Canada Line station in Vancouver

One of the things that makes car sharing so advantageous is its ability to be seamlessly part of a car-free individual’s multimodal network. If transit doesn’t run at a certain time or doesn’t serve a certain place, car share can be used to fill those gaps, particularly when walking or biking aren’t feasible.  car2go parkspots are a perfect example of this: designated spaces reserved only for car2go vehicles which are located at strategic points across a city, like hospitals, transit stations, etc.

car2go Vancouver has this down already– I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few parkspots outside the Olympic Village Canada Line station while waiting for a bus to Granville Island last week.  At hours when connecting bus service isn’t available, car2go would be a great alternative.  In addition to Olympic Village, car2go also leases spaces in a private lot right outside Broadway-City Hall and provides nearly 60 other parkspots across the Vancouver home area.

Seattle, on the other hand, has zero parkspots in its home area.  Whether that’s a byproduct of car2go Seattle’s relative newness or some other constraint, I’m not entirely sure.  At any rate, implementing parkspots would seem to be the next logical step of investment for the company, especially given the recent expansion of the home area, which now includes Mount Baker and Columbia City stations.

[UPDATE: Some of our more attentive commenters point out that Seattle and Vancouver have considerably different parking rules, hence the reason for parkspots in the latter.  While I’m not suggesting a city-wide implementation, I think parkspots could be useful in Link station areas and other major transit hubs, where the whole point of RPZs is to discourage hide-and-riders.]

27 Replies to “The Beauty of car2go Parkspots & Transit”

  1. Does Vancouver’s car2go service also allow parking in any legal on-street parking space? Perhaps the use of parkspots is needed because there’s not a large enough supply of on-street parking.

    1. Yeah, I think this one needs to be chalked up to “some other constraint”, that there’s no financial reason for Car2Go to spend the time and money to obtain these spots.

    2. Yep, that’s it. “In Vancouver, we cover the fees for parking and stopovers in car2go specific spots and Permit Only Residential areas” So anywhere outside residential areas you have to find a specific Car2Go parking spot.

    1. But I think this actually defeats the whole purpose of an RPZ around Link stations. They were put in primarily to discourage hide-and-riders. I’m merely suggesting that parkspots should be implemented next to Link stations or other transit centers, not the whole city.

      1. Well I think allowing the car2go parking is really defeating the point of the RPZs around Link stations. The whole point is to encourage living near a station so you can walk or take a connecting bus. Does it really matter if someone drives up in their own car or a car2go? (although the opposite is a valid use case, Link -> car2go -> some inaccessible location)

        On the other hand, where we already have existing parking (Green Lake P&R, Northgate), might as well make use of existing infra and put some car2go spots there (as well as zipcar spots if they would agree to put cars there).

      2. The difference between car2go and other drivers is that once you end your car2go trip, someone else can take the vehicle. Granted, this falls apart at stations that are significant one-way demand generators.

      3. The difference is that Car2Go vehicles left in an RPZ zone benefit residents of that zone (by allowing them to take the vehicle later), while privately-owned cars do not.

        Put differently, if Car2Go’s were not allowed in RPZ’s than anyone who lived in an RPZ would be guaranteed not to find a Car2Go near their house. Since RPZ’s tend to be in denser neighborhoods where people are more likely to live car-free, not allowing Car2Go’s in RPZ areas would make the system very difficult to use by the people who need it the most.

  2. I wonder if these would even be used in Seattle. In theory we have a policy of pricing street parking such that there’s an empty spot or two every block. That of course only applies to metered blocks and our implementation is far from perfect, but if there’s street parking available why would I go out of my way to park in a Car2Go spot?

    1. I wish they had parkspots in areas where parking is predominantly off-street, eg. Northgate mall. It would make the Car2Go much more convenient to use to go shopping there if I could park in a designated spot right next to the building, rather than trying to find a street spot at the edge of the parking lot.

  3. You know if someone could figure out how to add frequent Super Shuttle service from a LINK or Sounder station all the way to a person’s home for the same single fare…

    1. Otherwise known as “making others pay for the externalities associated with your preferred living situation”.

      I have no problem with your fetish for suburban living, John. I have a problem with your presumption that the exponentially less efficient transit service to support your suburban fetish should cost “the same fare” as inherently more efficient urban service.

    2. A lot of what is happening in the automobile transportation market reminds a bit of the early days of the World Wide Web. There were lots of ideas; some that panned out (selling books via the internet) and some that didn’t (selling cat litter via the internet). Some of them seemed to have died, but then got resurrected again (having your groceries delivered).

      The “hourly car rental” system started out as just that. It was no different than a regular car rental agency, except that they offered rentals for a shorter period of time. The big rental agencies have adapted, and now offer the same thing. A more significant difference is that there are “rental stations” all over the city. This means that you are more likely to drop off the car very close to your intended destination. This isn’t something dramatically different, but it is still a significant improvement.

      The same is true for the “instant carpool” systems. In many cases, it has worked more like an “unofficial cab” system. In other words, people aren’t picking up other people on the way to their own destination, but are simply going around picking up rides. This really isn’t an improvement. On the other hand, unlike a cab, if you ride one of these, it is reasonable (I assume) to expect to share your ride with someone. This makes it far more like an airport shuttle, which is a fairly efficient transportation mode. Hopefully, over time, we will see more carpooling and ride sharing with the new systems (which can be far more smart and efficient than the old system).

      All in all, though, I don’t see why any of these systems should be subsidized. Compared to a regular bus or rail system, they are fairly inefficient (even though they are way more efficient than a single occupancy vehicle).

      1. How about this, you as a suburban commuter have this car, and maybe you own it, or maybe it’s a Car2Go. And instead of driving it to a transit station letting it sit in a parking lot, while you’re at work, someone can take it and rent it. Then when you get back after work, either that car, or a similar one is waiting there for you to take home and use.

  4. Car2Go spots definitely at malls and shopping centers, city halls, hospitals, public libraries, etc. would be helpful. At the very least, implement Car2Go parking zones for all public city facilities.

  5. In Seattle, street parking is good enough so that, for the most part, parkspots aren’t really needed. However, there are a few places where I think parkspots would help a lot, namely:

    – Green Lake P&R
    – Northgate P&R
    – UW Link Station, once the station opens in 2016 (I admit, this is mostly a dream, since I’m not sure that any reasonable amount of money would convince the UW to allow it, even though the parking lot around the stadium is half-empty on non-football gamedays)

    If Car2Go were to ever expand to Redmond or Bellevue, however, parkspots would become a lot more important, for the simple reason that there is virtually nothing in Redmond or Bellevue besides single-family homes with any street parking nearby whatsoever. (That’s not to say there’s no parking at all – there’s plenty of parking, it’s just all in private parking lots that current Car2Go rules don’t allow)

    1. There’s plenty of on-street parking in downtown Redmond. Not so much in downtown Bellevue. There’s also plenty of MF housing in both places.

      1. To name a few top destinations in Bellevue with zero (or next to zero) street parking of any sort within half a mile:
        – Downtown Bellevue
        – Overlake Hospital
        – Whole Foods (and nearby businesses)
        – Overlake Shopping Center at 148th and 24th (Safeway, Fred Meyer, etc., restaraunts, etc.)
        – Microsoft campus
        – Crossroads Mall
        – Bellevue College
        – Transit hubs (Overlake TC/Eastgate P&R)
        – nearly all multi-family apartment complexes
        – nearly all shopping centers

        Hence, if Car2Go were to every operate in Bellevue with its Seattle-style street parking model, it would only be useful for trips from one single-family home to another single-family home, or for trips to Seattle. Even though all of these places above have parking (and many of them have a glut of parking due to oversized parking requirements), under current rules, Car2Go users wouldn’t be able to use the service to travel to any of them. That is why, if Car2Go ever plans to expand to Bellevue, there is simply no way to make the service useful there without parkspots.

  6. Another interesting aspect about Car2Go parkspots is that they can be made to be more space-efficient than would be feasible for ordinary parking spots. For example, Car2Go vehicles are small enough that if you wanted to, you could probably easily squeeze 4 Car2Go spots in what would ordinarily be striped for 3 regular cars. Kind of like the concept of “compact” spaces, except this time, you know for sure that the vehicles parked in them will actually be compact.

    And, if you wanted to go even further, you could take advantage of the fact that if multiple Car2Go vehicles are parked at the same location, they can be allowed to box each other in. Since all the vehicles are exactly the same, you can just grab a vehicle at the edge of the box, which will make another vehicle accessible which, when taken out, will make yet another vehicle accessible, etc. With just 2 car2go spaces in a parking lot, this idea doesn’t do much, but if you wanted to set aside a section of a parking lot for 20 Car2Go vehicles (hint – Husky Link Station), you would only need to give up 10 or so spots for regular cars if you are willing to do a little bit of signage and restriping.

  7. Random observation:

    I had noticed some Car2Go cars parked at the Northgate Transit Center — in the parking lot but at the edge by the sidewalk along 3rd NE. I was trying to figure that one out, until I thought to look on my App.

    The cars were listed as available. They were so close to the street that the GPS must have thought they were at the curb. And, if I were using the app to look for an available car, it was close enough that I would have easily found it there. Technically not legal, but it seems to work.

    1. “Seems to work” in that the GPS lets you do it. But if you did, and the parking lot operator ticketed or towed the vehicles I’m sure Car2Go would pass the cost onto you.

  8. Vancouver actually has three different car sharing agencies: car2go and ZipCar, as well as the largest: non-profit Modo (previously Vancouver Car Share Coop). Modo (and the Victoria Car Share Coop here in Victoria) frequently get some of their new vehicles from residential developers who give them spots and cars in exchange for breaks on numbers of parking spaces in the building.

Comments are closed.