Parking Garages Are So Last Century

Ian Sacs's picture

The parking "epidemic" in Hoboken is so bad that no parking garage conceivable by man can contain our demand.  So this week, Hoboken ventures where no city has gone before; we are rolling out the nation's first city-wide on-street car-sharing program as a public-private partnership between Hoboken and Connect by Hertz.


The program, called Hoboken Corner Cars, seeks to sprinkle car-sharing vehicles on-street throughout the entire city – complete with exclusive, reserved parking spaces - so that these vehicles are much more accessible and convenient than any personally owned car.  Existing car-sharing statistics in Hoboken justify this special treatment; for every one of these vehicles placed in the community, over 17 households will choose to give up their cars, taking cars off the street and culling the glut of "recreational" ownership for residents who commute daily via transit.  An additional 20 or more households say they postpone or stop considering buying a car because car-sharing vehicles are available.  The cherry on the sundae is a potential savings per household of $3,000 to $5,000 over vehicle ownership.

Hoboken hopes to not only convince current residents that owning a car is much more hassle than it's worth, but to also "sell" the car-sharing alternative concept to the constant flow of suburban-flight newcomers who have no idea that it is possible to live their lives sans auto.

On environmental considerations, the program requires the fleet mix to maintain an average of 35MPG, and since car-sharing utilization is measured as multiple households per car, each car-sharing vehicle enjoys a significantly smaller carbon footprint compared to the traditional American profile of multiple cars per household.  In terms of sustainable urban infrastructure, the City Council President successfully appealed to both his Council colleagues and the public by likening the initial phase of the program - where approximately 750 cars are expected to be removed from Hoboken streets – to building an invisible 750 space parking garage for free.

Hoboken hopes to serve as a model for other cities to take the leap of faith of taking away a small number of parking spaces from residents in order to free up hundreds or thousands more.  For dense, urban environments with intense on-street parking problems, car-sharing is truly a modern demand-based solution that makes parking garages seem so last century!

Ian Sacs, P.E. is a worldwide transportation solutions consultant based in Finland.



Great Plan

Great plan and I'm excited to see the results. It's refreshing to see transportation professionals treat the disease (in this case, unneccesary car ownership) rather than the symptom (not enough parking spaces).

It's about time for

It's about time for something like this to happen! How long is a car allowed to be used for before it has to be returned to it's corner? Who is going to regulate this operation?

Ian Sacs's picture

Ian Sacs Replies....

Cars are "rented" on an hourly basis, so each vehicle can be reserved and used for as long as it is available. Of course, at a point, renting a car on a daily rate is cheaper than using car-sharing vehicles on an hourly rate.

The operation is managed by Connect by Hertz as part of the public-private partnership agreement between the city and the vendor. Enforcement of reserved parking regulations is the responsibility of Hoboken's Parking Utility.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
Habitat blockitecture tower

Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.