My Car, Your Car, Zip Car
p(cf-lacuna color-saddlebrown px13 alignJustify). The Arrival of the Zipcar vehicle sharing service has been a long awaited addition to Brooklyn’s transportation alternatives. Car sharing services like Zipcar allow members to live without a vehicle, but still have access to one when they need it. With monthly and yearly payment plans (gas and insurance included), it’s convenience without the cost and hassle of actually owning a vehicle. And it’s prompting a new way of thinking about personal vehicles as they relate to the transportation system. Zipcar’s members, “zipsters” as they’re referred to, are challenging the conventional conception of personal vehicles. They think of shared vehicles as part of the public transportation system rather than an alternative to the system. Zipsters use the most efficient means of transportation for the task–walking, biking, public transportation, taxi or Zipcar. Going to farmer’s market? Walk. Going to Ikea to pick up furniture? Hop in a Zipcar. Most urban residents already evaluate their transportation needs according the task at hand. It’s less costly, better for the environment and simply smarter. Compact communities such as Brooklyn allow residents to drive less by bringing the things they want closer to where they live–a concept known as “access by proximity.” Taking advantage of this concept, vehicle sharing encourages people to recognize personal vehicles as a community good. The concept of designating transportation as shared property is catching on with bicycles as well. According to the New York Sun, Community organizers and transit advocates are working together to bring a bicycle-share program to Manhattan, Queens, and "Governors Island":http://www.nysun.com/related_results.php?term=Governors+Island. The ability to live smarter in urban environments, with less driving, is a major agent for sustainable prosperity. According to a recent member survey, Zipcar’s service has had significant, positive impact on the environment and local communities. Each Zipcar takes over 20 personally–owned vehicles off the road (there are over 3,000 Zipcars around the world.) Consequently, less land and financial resources are needed to provide parking infrastructure. Car usage of individuals is reduced by as much as 50%. This all means fewer greenhouse gases emissions and, of course, less congestion on the roads. There are currently 21 Zipcars available in Fort Greene at DMK Garage at 116 Waverly Avenue, at Armory Parking Garage at 172 Vanderbilt Avenue, and at BAM at 258 Ashland Place. The cars come in a variety of makes and models ranging from the Toyota Prius to the Subaru Outback Oden. Zipcar’s launch into Fort Greene and Clinton Hill is a great example of local residents’ acceptance of change towards a healthier and smarter community. With all the changes that have already been made and all the changes yet to come, there’s no doubt Fort Greene and Clinton Hill is quickly becoming a leading sustainable community in New York City. Zipcar is just one more addition to our environmentally friendly options we have available in our community.