A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Monday, September 28, 2015

UCarShare is growing and Portland's parking reforms are working

It's hard to believe, but UhaulCarShare has been operating in Portland for over six years now.

They started with four cars parked near Monument Square and the ferry terminal. Here's a screenshot of their website in 2009:

As of this fall, they've doubled the local fleet to 8 cars and expanded into South Portland with a car parked at the Southern Maine Community College campus. Here's their new coverage map:

A lot of UhaulCarShare's success here comes from a helpful new reform of parking rules in the city's zoning requirements. For the last few years now, city planners have allowed a reduction in developers' expensive parking-construction mandates if the developers agree to sponsor a carsharing vehicle on-site.

Several new apartment buildings have taken advantage of this incentive, most recently Avesta Housing's 409 Cumberland Avenue apartment block, which built only 18 basement parking spaces for its 57 new apartment units and sponsored a new UhaulCarShare vehicle to be parked on-site. This arrangement benefits everyone: reduced construction costs for the developers, reduced housing costs and more mobility options for residents, and a more convenient carsharing network for neighbors.

1 comment:

my architect said...

This is really interesting and quite possibly beneficial to the city. Its also quite possibly disastrous. I don't know if I can articulate this well, but referencing the increase in the number of UCarShare vehicles does not necessarily constitute success in reducing the number of vehicles, right?
Couldn't it be developer driven success? Considering sub-surface parking spaces can cost $40-50k (numbers given to me by developers; I don't actually know) and then the ongoing cost of annual maintenance, with respect to 409, not meeting the 1-1 less 3 relationship is a staggering amount of savings to the developers and yet there is no follow up data speaking to the effectiveness of a UCarShare vehicle actually reducing the number of vehicles at any given development. And not providing enough spaces to deal with a developments actual burden, burdens the tax base through on street parking spaces, parking garage subsidies etc.
Or maybe I simply don't understand all the factors here.