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Question of the Day: Ready For Zipcar?

The Board of Selectmen will discuss using town property for Cambridge business.

You have likely come across a late model car – a Toyota Prius, BMW 325i or a cute Mini – with the small advert on the door or trunk: Zipcar. 

The popularity of the Cambridge-based, membership-based car sharing company is remarkable. What started in 2000 as an idea between friends to share the cost of car usage – members are not responsibility for gas, insurance, maintenance, parking or lease payments – now encompasses more than half a million members (Zipsters) who can use 8,000 cars in 28 states. 

While most of the locations that Zipcars can be shared are in neighborhoods in larger cities and on college campuses such as The George Washington University, the company is expanding to close by suburban locations like Newton Center.

With the enthusiastic backing from Sustainable Belmont and the town's Energy Committee – a recent study concluded members of Zipcar and other car sharing programs report a 47 percent increase in public transit trips, a 10 percent increase in bicycling trips and a 26 percent increase in walking trips – the Board of Selectmen are considering allowing Zipcar to use public property as locations to park these cars.

Should Belmont allow Zipcar to park their cars on publicly-owned property?

PJ Looney June 20, 2011 at 06:16 PM
It's my understanding that Zipcar is a private "For Profit" business. This could be a great way to raise new revenues for the Town by leasing dedicated spaces for Zipcars to be stationed. The Selectman should not give it away seeing we are now being pro-active in unlocking the value of parking with the introduction of "smart parking meters". So yes allow Zipcar to lease spaces on an annual basis.
Kimberly Becker June 20, 2011 at 07:58 PM
From the wording in the article, it doesn't sound like the selectmen are considering the use of space that is currently used for public parking, but I could be wrong. Does zipcar pay other towns for space? If not, could we allow them to use our "excess" lots for free, knowing that we could benefit financially in other ways- for instance reducing our car fleet for town employees? An d as for the "smart meters" that PJ is referring to, who is in charge of making that happen? The last I heard of it the selectmen approved the idea- but haven't made it happen. We need revenue and this is low hanging fruit!

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