Hundreds of cities around the world hold PARK(ing) Day on the third Friday in September where dozens of parking spots that are usually reserved for stationary, empty cars are transformed into places for people. Here’s a look at a few of the “parklets” scattered around our office in Washington, DC and what their creators had to say about them.
On Wednesday, September 25, Smart Growth America’s Transportation in the City event brought together a panel of transportation and startup experts, representatives from innovative transportation services operating in DC, and Washington residents to discuss the growth of transportation options over the past few years – and the challenges that lay ahead.
The panel included Donna Harris, Co-founder, 1776; Sita Vasan, Executive Director, SwitchPitch; Martin Di Caro, Transportation Reporter, WAMU; and Tom Fairchild, Director, Mobility Lab. Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth made the opening remarks and the panel was moderated by Smart Growth America Vice President and Chief of Staff Ilana Preuss.
Until recently, there were only a few choices for how to get around Washington, DC. Today, however, there are over a dozen services that make it easy to borrow a car, hire a taxi, grab a bike or catch a ride, and they’re using mobile web applications to make these choices possible. As a result, getting around DC has never been faster, more diverse or more convenient.
Transportation choices are a big part of smart growth strategies. Traditionally this has meant creating sidewalks, bike lanes and public transportation in addition to roads for driving. But the next generation of transportation choices—things like car sharing, ride sharing and bike sharing—bring a new dimension to that conversation. How will these new options affect where Washingtonians chose to live, work, dine or shop? As it becomes easier than ever to get across town, how will DC’s neighborhoods and development throughout the city change?
After a year of running its carsharing service in Baltimore, MD, Zipcar released a survey yesterday of its members in the city and the findings are exciting for anyone who supports easy parking, reduced traffic congestion and transportation choices.
According to the survey, people who use Zipcar’s carsharing service reported driving less overall, reduced vehicle ownership and increasing use of other modes of transportation. 18% of respondents have sold their vehicles since joining Zipcar, 46% stated that they have avoided buying a car, and 72% said being a Zipcar member made it less likely they would buy or lease a car in the future. In addition, a full 88% of respondents say they take less than five car trips each month.
All of this means that there are fewer cars on Baltimore roads, and that has great implications for the city.