Which NYC Neighborhoods Have Best (or Worst) Access to Car-Share

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November 6, 2018

Some New York neighborhoods have much better access to car-share companies than others.

Localize.city, a real estate knowledge platform creating dozens of insights about every address in New York City, analyzed where car-share companies are distributing their vehicles, pinpointing where car-share locations are plentiful and where there are holes. Manhattan and northwest Brooklyn, which tend to have the city’s priciest real estate, also have the greatest numbers of dedicated parking spots for car-share companies.

“Car-share companies have been growing at a clip,” said Localize.city urban planner Grace Klein. “But when it comes to car-share access, like other amenities in the city, some neighborhoods have more services than others.”

There are many reasons New York City drivers are embracing car-sharing instead of car ownership.

Car-share lowers household transportation costs since you’re ditching annual car insurance fees, maintenance costs and tickets you may rack up. More importantly, you don’t have to worry about alt side parking rules. It’s eco-friendlier: fewer cars on the road means less pollution and congestion. Also, with New York City’s newly dedicated parking spaces for car-share companies, it can help cut down on the search for parking in neighborhoods where so much traffic is caused by people driving around looking for on-street parking. Research shows that about nine to 13 privately-owned vehicles are taken off the road for each car-sharing vehicle.

Car-share companies like Zipcar and Car2Go continue to gain traction, despite the recent closure of ReachNow in Brooklyn. Yet, while New Yorkers like to think they have it all, this is the only state that does not allow peer-to-peer car-sharing. Just across the Hudson, in New Jersey, for instance, you can “rent” a car from anyone who makes their personal vehicle available on platforms like Turo or Getaround. There are hundreds of cars, from Hondas to Teslas, and they’re all over the place.

New York City’s Department of Transportation is expanding access to car-share companies by dedicating on-street parking spots and space in municipal garages to the vehicles. When the city’s Department of Transportation selected the 14 neighborhoods for its two-year on-street parking pilot program, it targeted predominantly low- and moderate-income areas not well-served by car-share in part because they lacked parking garages. The DOT is also piloting a program reserving car-share spots in municipal parking lots.

Methodology

Localize.city analyzed the car-share landscape, mapping the locations (private garages, municipal garages and on-street spots) for Zipcar, Enterprise and Maven, as well as looking at Car2Go’s “home area” in Brooklyn and Queens. (Only these two boroughs are part of Car2Go’s service that allows users to return cars on the street at any street parking space, as long as it’s 12 hours before street cleaning on streets with 4-day-a-week street sweeping, and 24 hours before cleaning on streets with 1- or 2- day-a-week cleaning.)

Localize.city’s analysis provides a comprehensive map of car-share locations as of Oct. 12, 2018. (The analysis did not tally the total number of spots at the locations, though each tends to have between one and three car-share vehicles.) Companies sometimes change garage locations where they house their vehicles.

Here’s where you can find car-share locations in each borough.

Manhattan

Virtually all of Manhattan has easy access to car-share vehicles. Most intersections in the borough are within a few blocks of a car,” Klein said. “However, there are some pockets where residents might have to walk half a mile to a car, like Alphabet City or the northern part of Harlem, east of Frederick Douglass Boulevard. And there are no car-share spots on Roosevelt Island.”

    • NYC DOT car-share pilot program:  Three neighborhoods in northern Manhattan — Hamilton Heights, Morningside Heights, and East Harlem — have several on-street car-share spots under the program.
    • Car ownership context: Manhattanites have the lowest car ownership rates, with 22 percent of households owning vehicles. Parking is always in short supply, which also makes car ownership unappealing. So, the wide availability of car-share makes sense for the borough.

Brooklyn

“Northwest Brooklynites have plenty of reasons to ditch their own cars in favor of car-share. There is a high density of car-share spots in areas like Cobble Hill and Park Slope. Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill are among the neighborhoods with the most cars per resident. They have 12 and 11 car-share locations, respectively,” Klein said. “And while Greenpoint doesn’t have too many car-share locations, Williamsburg has the most of any neighborhood in the city, with 45 locations for car-share vehicles. But there are few cars east of Bushwick Avenue in Williamsburg.”

  • Other small clusters of car-share locations: There is a small cluster around SUNY Downstate/King’s County Hospital in East Flatbush and another small cluster around the end of the R line in Bay Ridge (Fourth/Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street)
  • Car2Go gives drivers more options: The company’s “home area” covers all western Brooklyn neighborhoods, from Coney Island to Greenpoint. This is a boon to neighborhoods where fixed car-share locations are almost absent, like in much of Sunset Park, Ocean Parkway, Coney Island, or Bed-Stuy.
  • Large swaths of the borough don’t have any car-share spots: Most of east Brooklyn is without vehicles: East New York, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Marine Park, and much of East Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay.
  • Car ownership context: Some 49 percent of Brooklyn households own cars.

Queens

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hip, growing neighborhoods of Long Island City and Astoria have the most car-share locations in Queens, with 11 and nine, respectively,” Klein said. “Generally, the clusters of Queens car-share locations are near the borough’s transit hubs.”

  • Other small clusters of car-share locations: There is a cluster along Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills and a small cluster in Jackson Heights, south of Northern Boulevard and closer to transit (7 line) than the rest of the neighborhood. There is a cluster in Flushing, by the mall and several car-share locations by downtown Jamaica, along Hillside Avenue and Jamaica Avenue (E & F lines),
  • Car2Go gives drivers more options in western Queens: Car2Go only covers Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside Gardens, and Woodside
  • Car ownership context: 71 percent of households own cars in Queens.

Bronx

“Soundview has more locations for dedicated car-share spots than anywhere else in the Bronx, with seven. That’s followed by Parkchester and Melrose, which have six spots for car-share, and Concourse, with five,” Klein said. “There are noticeable gaps in the Baychester/Williamsbridge area, Mott Haven/Longwood area and Morris Heights.”

  • Other small clusters of car-share locations:  There are a few car-share locations in Fordham, a few in Spuyten Duyvil/Marble Hill and a few in Co-op City.
  • Car ownership context:  48 percent of households in the Bronx own cars. Yet, while the Bronx had similar car ownership rates as Brooklyn, Kings County — particularly its priciest ZIP codes — saw many more car-share locations.

Staten Island

“Staten Island is barely on the map when it comes to car-share in New York City,” Klein said. “There are only three locations in the borough: two in Saint George and one by Saint John’s University — areas that tend to attract younger people.

  • Car ownership context: Staten Island has the highest rates of car ownership, with 82 percent of households owning vehicles. Because of that, the demand is not there as much as the other boroughs.

Snapshot of car-share companies in New York City:

  • Zipcar:
    • Rates: $12/hour or $89/day and up
    • Membership Fee: $70/year or $7/month
    • Discount for NYCHA residents and NYCID cardholders
  • Enterprise:
    • Rates: $8/hour or $69/day and up
    • Membership Fee: $40/year
    • Discount for NYCHA residents
  • Maven:
    • Rates: $7$130/day
    • Membership Fee: none
  • Car2Go:
    • Rates: $15/hour and up
    • Membership Fee: $5 one-time sign-up fee
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