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Hoboken's Innovative Car-Share Program Provides National Model, While Locals Grumble

Lauded by transit advocates, and garnering attention from cities across America, an experimental car-sharing program in Hoboken has proven effective in dissuading private car use. If only the city's residents were as happy with its success.
September 7, 2012, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, an experimental car-share program called Corner Cars, was inaugurated two years ago with the counterintuitive goal of creating parking spaces by taking them away, reports Matt Flegenheimer.

"At the beginning of the program, 42 of the city's roughly 9,000 on-street spaces were sacrificed to a city car-sharing program," writes Flegenheimer. "As of July 2012, nearly a quarter of the program's roughly 3,000 members said they had given up their cars or decided against buying one because of the car share. Since 2009, the number of people with residential parking permits has decreased by about 1,000, to 16,000 total parking permits."

The residents, however, are not thrilled about the results. "It's taking away parking spaces," said Maria Espinosa, who commutes from Bergen County to her job as a receptionist in Hoboken. "Not everybody's going to use a bicycle like our lovely mayor."

Others see the program as an effective way to make driving a less plausible option. "It's such a smart way to handle a limited resource," says Robert J. Pirani, vice president for environmental programs at the Regional Plan Association. "It makes urban living much more affordable if you don't have to pay for a car that you don't use that often." The program, he says, could be transferable to car-choked cities like New York.

Thanks to Emily Williams

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Published on Sunday, September 2, 2012 in The New York Times
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