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Car-Sharing Instead of More Parking? LES Co-op Says: “Fantastic”

Seward_Park_Houses.jpgSeward Park Houses has welcomed a small car-sharing program instead of clamoring for additional parking. Image: The Lo-Down.

About 1,700 Lower East Side families live in Seward Park Houses. Located between East Broadway, Essex, and Grand Streets, street parking is scarce, and though the complex offers 400 parking spaces, there are 500 names on the waiting list for a spot. 

"Not enough parking" is a pretty familiar refrain from residents, community boards, and elected officials across the entire city. According to the New York Times, Seward Park's co-op board has avoided that route and settled on a solution that can actually reduce the amount of space dedicated to the automobile: car-sharing. 

Seward Park invited Hertz Connect, the car rental company's new car-share program, to take two of its spaces. The Hertz Connect cars are now available to the public, with Seward Park residents getting a discount. 

"It’s a fantastic way for our people to own a car without owning a car," co-op board president Michael Tumminia told the Times. The best research on car-sharing suggests that each shared vehicle replaces between 4.6 and 20 personal vehicles, depending on the city, and that car-share members drive less over time. 

Hertz claims that each of its shared cars replaces 14 personal cars. At that rate, if Seward Park converted just 64 of its 400 spaces to car-sharing, everyone on the waiting list would be served, and maybe some of those parking spaces could be converted to more productive uses. 

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