Alexandria City Council is slated to decide Jan. 8 whether to allow a private company to use public parking spaces in the city for a car sharing program.
The issue is whether the city should designate certain public spaces for private car share users 24 hours a day. Council members must decide where the spaces would be located, how many and what licensing fee the company making the proposal, Hertz, would pay the city, said Sandra Marks, acting deputy director for the city Department of Transportation and Environmental Services.
"The city is active in promoting alternate modes of transportation, and car sharing allows people the ability to commute by transit, get rid of their car, and have a car if they need to make a trip,” Marks said. "… So it really encourages a car-free lifestyle.”
The recommended annual fee from the car sharing company to the city per space in Old Town would be $2,300 and $1,500 for Carlyle. No more than two spaces per block would be able to be reserved for car share spaces, and leases may be granted for two years at a time only.
The city already runs a car sharing program, Carshare Alexandria!, which is part of the Local Motion initiative to encourage alternative modes of transportation. That program reimburses car share users for the first year of their car sharing membership, usually about $85, Marks said.
Currently, Zipcar is the only car share program operating in the city, but those cars are all parked on private or Metro property, Marks said. Car sharing programs allow members to reserve a car for hourly use. Individuals can become members of a car sharing service by paying a flat annual fee. Members can reserve a car anytime.
Faye Dastgheib, a principal city planner, said Carshare Alexandria! launched in 2004 and has had 477 participants to date.
On Dec. 5, the new program was favorably received by the city Transportation Commission.