How Portland (Maine) Pairs Car-Share With Parking Reform

Is your city skittish about reducing parking minimums? Here’s one way to ease people into the idea that new buildings shouldn’t be forced to include lots of parking along with housing, and it comes from Portland — Maine.

The expanding number of places you can pick up a shared car in Portand, Maine. Image: Rights of Way
Portand, Maine’s car-share fleet is growing as its parking mandates shrink. Image: Rights of Way

Network blog Rights of Way reports that this city of 66,000 pairs the reduction of parking mandates with the expansion of car-share. C Neal MilNeil writes:

It’s hard to believe, but UhaulCarShare has been operating in Portland for over six years now.

They started with four cars parked near Monument Square and the ferry terminal.

As of this fall, they’ve doubled the local fleet to 8 cars and expanded into South Portland with a car parked at the Southern Maine Community College campus.

A lot of UhaulCarShare’s success here comes from a helpful new reform of parking rules in the city’s zoning requirements. For the last few years now, city planners have allowed a reduction in developers’ expensive parking-construction mandates if the developers agree to sponsor a carsharing vehicle on-site.

Several new apartment buildings have taken advantage of this incentive, most recently Avesta Housing’s 409 Cumberland Avenue apartment block, which built only 18 basement parking spaces for its 57 new apartment units and sponsored a new UhaulCarShare vehicle to be parked on-site. This arrangement benefits everyone: reduced construction costs for the developers, reduced housing costs and more mobility options for residents, and a more convenient carsharing network for neighbors.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Portland reports from Mayor Charlie Hales’ bike commute yesterday, his fourth Monday in a row riding to work. Urban Review STL photo blogs the experience of navigating the way to St. Louis’s new Ikea store by wheelchair. And Plan Philly wonders if SEPTA should provide all the city’s students with discount transit passes.

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