Ridgewood becomes a car sharing destination, but Board 5 fears a negative impact on parking

Photo by Gerrit Quast via Flickr

Free-floating car shares have been making their way into the Ridgewood area after Car2Go announced many of their vehicles are taking one-way trips to southwest Queens.

The car share, which generally uses smart cars, works on a basis of hourly rentals and allows customers to pick up vehicles without dealing with a rental car counter and leave the car wherever there is public parking.

Members of Community Board 5, however, viewed the new program with a more skeptical eye at the board’s Oct. 10 meeting in Middle Village. They raised questions of whether parking will be impacted and how the free-floating fleet will be maintained.

According to Carina Fortuna, location specialist for Car2Go, the company operates across 44 square miles in Brooklyn and Queens.

“Our goal is to provide an alternate mobility solution for the neighborhood and ultimately help remove privately owned vehicles from the streets to create a better quality of life for all of us here,” Fortuna said. “We already have a really robust membership in Ridgewood, we’re seeing a lot of activity here already. In the last three months, we’ve already seen a few thousand stop-overs. That means that people are taking the cars from the existing home area, bringing it to Ridgewood and then returning it back to the operating area when their finished.”

Customers use an app to locate and reserve vehicles with insurance included and no monthly fees; it currently has 125,000 members and 560 fleet vehicles.

Fortuna referenced a UC Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center study from 2015 that found that one car share vehicle takes up to 11 cars off the road with people either selling cars or not using their own.

Up to 28,000 vehicles have been removed from the streets across North America since the inception of car sharing, according to the study.

Car sharing has also proven to be a more environmentally friendly way of getting from point A to B, the study said.

“Our exhaustive, three-year research effort into one-way car sharing reveals that Car2Go vehicles result in fewer privately owned vehicles on the road, fewer vehicle miles traveled and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” Susan Shaheen, co-director of TSRC, said in a release. “Participation from Car2Go and its members, the largest free-floating one-way car sharing service in North America, gave us unprecedented access and insight into how this kind of innovative mobility service is impacting North American cities.”

In response to one community board member’s concern, Fortuna said the company has staff making rounds throughout the city to moves vehicles for alternate side parking for street sweeping.

The Board 5 Transportation Committee requested a presentation of Car2Go’s operations and how it manages its fleet in communities across the city.

More from Around New York