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If anyone understands the appeal of car sharing, it’s New Yorkers: Wheels when you want them, and no insurance expenses, gas costs, or parking woes—and the tickets that often go with them.
We recently took a look at car sharing companies that have set up shop in the city, and even a cursory overview shows that not all boroughs and neighborhoods have equal access to the disruptive service.
For an even closer look, we partnered with Localize.city, a new AI-powered website that helps renters and buyers predict what life will be like at any address in New York City by examining current and future construction, livability, community, and safety.
This Localize map pinpoints the locations of car-sharing lots throughout the five boroughs, as well as Car2Go’s “home area,” and neighborhoods participating in the New York City Department of Transportation’s car-sharing pilot program, which have select on-street parking spaces and spots in municipal lots for specific car share vehicles.
Here are the areas where it’s easy to share, and the areas that are underserved.
It’s probably not a surprise that Manhattanites have the easiest access to car shares, which is good for them, because parking is limited, and the borough has the lowest car ownership rate in the city.
“Virtually all of Manhattan has easy access to car-share vehicles. Most intersections in the borough are within a few blocks of a car,” says Grace Klein, Localize urban planner. There are however, a few car share deserts: for residents of Alphabet City and north Harlem, the nearest car might be a half a mile away. (The DOT pilot program may help with the northern drought; East Harlem and Washington Heights are part of the trial.)
Finally, Manhattan has nothing for fans of Car2Go’s “free-floating” model, through which users pick up and drop off cars at any available spot in the “home area,” are out of luck; the service is only in Brooklyn and Queens.
In Brooklyn, where the car ownership rate is 49 percent, car share options abound where the living is dense and expensive, like Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill. Perhaps surprisingly, these are neighborhoods with the some of the highest car ownership rates and where parking is also close to impossible. The two northwest neighborhoods have 12 and 11 car-sharing locations, respectively.
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, says Klein.
Additional clusters can be found in Bay Ridge and East Flatbush SUNY Downstate/King’s County Hospital. Car2Go provides another option for all western Brooklyn neighborhoods from Coney Island to Greenpoint.
But most of east Brooklyn—East New York, Canarsie, Mill Basin, Marine Park, and much of East Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay—is shut out, perhaps because of the high number of car owners in this far-flung neighborhood.
At 71 percent, car ownership is high in Queens, driving down demand for car sharing in the borough. But the growing, and increasingly dense neighborhoods of Long Island City and Astoria are well-served, with 11 and nine car-share locations, respectively.
Other clusters can be found in Forest Hills and Jackson Heights, as well as Flushing and downtown Jamaica. Klein says the clusters of Queens car-share locations are near the borough’s transit hubs.
Car2Go’s home area includes Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside Gardens, and Woodside.
The area with the largest number of car-share spots in the Bronx is Soundview, which has seven. That’s followed by Parkchester and Melrose, which have six spots for car-share, and Concourse, with five.
“There are noticeable gaps in the Baychester/Williamsbridge area, Mott Haven/Longwood area and Morris Heights,” Klein says.
Other small clusters are in Fordham, Spuyten Duyvil/Marble Hill and Co-op City. (Car ownership in the borough is just behind Brooklyn, at 48 percent.)
Car-sharing doesn’t really exist in Staten Island, and that’s not a surprise: with 82 percent of households owning a car, they don’t need it.
Those who do, are probably young people and students. “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,” says Klein.
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