ABOVE: Mayor Sylvester Turner
An exciting new initiative to enhance transportation in the city of Houston has literally “hit the streets’ just in time for Super Bowl LI.
ParkHouston, a division of the City of Houston’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, recently launched the City’s first on-street car-share pilot program with Zipcar that deploys shared vehicles in highly visible on-street spots in the Midtown District.
Through this newly established partnership, Zipcar and the City of Houston aim to further reduce traffic, congestion, and parking demand throughout the City.
“Our partnership with Zipcar allows us to take advantage of the sharing economy to better utilize our existing roadways and bring alternative transportation options to our community,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “As density increases, we need to find innovative ways to make our existing infrastructure work for us, not against us. Midtown is a growing and vibrant area and car-share can help Houstonians more efficiently live, work, and play in this community.”
Four Zipcars are available through the program by the hour or by the day, which include: a Volkswagen Jetta named “Davy Crockett,” a Mazda CX-5 named “Carlin,” a Subaru Crosstrek named “Blue Bell” and a Toyota Corolla named “Mayor Turner” (after Houston’s very own Mayor Sylvester Turner). The vehicles are parked in designated parking spots near Midtown Square and the MetroRail for convenient pick up and drop off and can be reserved in seconds via Zipcar’s mobile app, website (www.zipcar.com), or over the phone. Each reservation includes gas, insurance, maintenance and 180 miles of driving per day.
The four initial spaces for the on-street program are at 2000 Bagby (at Gray) and 1000 McGowen (at Main St). The spaces are reserved 24/7 for Zipcar car-share vehicles only. Zipcar will lease the spaces from ParkHouston at the rate of $100/space per month for a metered space and $50/space per month for unmetered space.
While Zipcar has operated in Houston for more than two years, this is the first use of on-street spaces for car-share vehicles. The pilot program will last 18 months in the Midtown District and has the potential to expand to 14 additional spaces in the area during the pilot. In this 18 month period, the City will monitor data to determine the success of the program. At the conclusion of the pilot program, ParkHouston will present the results of the data collection and customer surveys and make recommendations on the future of the program.
ParkHouston supports the City of Houston’s economic development by providing superior customer service, investing in cutting edge technologies, and actively collaborating with stakeholders. As a solution-focused division of the Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, we service and maintain over 9,200 on-street parking spaces across the City. We create sound parking management strategies for commercial and residential areas that enhance pedestrian safety, ensure a smooth flow of traffic, and allow emergency vehicles to reach their destinations. ParkHouston also works to create more sustainable communities by reducing congestion and supporting alternative modes of transportation.