City of Boston expanding car-share program to 250 parking spaces

BOSTON — Before leaving his post for a cabinet position in Washington, outgoing Mayor Marty Walsh announced Boston would be expanding its Car Share Boston pilot program from 40 reserved parking spaces up to 250 on local streets and municipal parking lots.

“I’m glad to expand the availability of Car Share Boston, which gives residents access to vehicles that are conveniently parked in their neighborhoods and available for their personal use,” Walsh said in a news release Monday.

The expansion of the car-share locations involves companies Zipcar and Getaround, and is one of the goals of Go Boston 2030, according to the release.

“Car share members often sell or choose not to purchase a car, and for every car-share vehicle added to a neighborhood, there are up to thirteen vehicles removed from or not added to the streets,” the release said.

However, the expansion is not sitting well with some longtime residents who have battled spent years battling over parking spots.

“Oh, I thought it was stupid,” Marcos Palmarin said.

Palmarin lives on Dexter Street in South Boston. Last week, he said he noticed a couple parking spaces outside his home reserved for Getaround vehicles.

“The concept is nice, but it’s something that I don’t use and what it does is just takes away parking for me,” Palmarin said.

John Devine has lived on Dexter Street for more than 50 years.

“I don’t like it because parking is at a premium now anyway, I don’t like the idea of it,” Devine said.

But Southie resident Connor Frauendorf loves the idea of car-sharing. He said he relied on it while he was a student at Bryant University.

“For me, I think it’s great,” Frauendorf said. “It was very quick and easy. The app was easy to use and for me, not having a car on campus...for me to just be able to use the app, get in the car and go wherever I wanted to, I thought it was great.”

A Getaround spokesperson said the program cuts down on congestion and traffic crashes.

“Cars are parked 22 hours a day on average. Studies show that sharing one car can take as many as 10 cars off the road, which means fewer accidents, reduced traffic, and less space needed for parking,” the spokesperson said in an email to Boston 25.

A Zipcar spokesperson said 80 percent of its members do not own or lease a car, and nearly 50 percent have postponed buying a car because of Zipcar’s services.

“A UC Berkeley study found that each Zipcar removes the need for up to 13 personally-owned vehicles, reducing congestion and increasing available curb space,” a Zipcar spokesperson said in an email to Boston 25.

According to the news release, the city placed a cap of 30 dedicated car-share parking spots in Downtown and the Seaport.

“The City believes that supporting wider availability and awareness of car sharing as an alternative to personal vehicles will decrease individual car ownership, reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, make more curb space available for a range of uses, and reduce the City’s rate of carbon emissions,” a city spokesperson said in an email to Boston 25.

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