West Hollywood residents and visitors will soon have a new option for getting around through a partnership between the city and Zipcar, which will get a green light on Feb. 15.
Zipcar is a vehicle-sharing program where people rent cars for as much or little time as they need, ranging from the hour to the day, or longer. The program was first launched in the local area at USC and UCLA, but expanded into Hollywood in 2009. The vehicles range from hybrid Toyota Priuses to sedans, SUVs, pick ups and luxury vehicles, and they can be picked up and dropped off at designated parking spaces located throughout the city. Rates start at $8-per-hour, or $70-per-day.
West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffry Prang, said he is excited about the new program, and hopes people in the area will embrace the idea.
“West Hollywood tries to be alert to new technology and new concepts that will help reduce traffic congestion and create more parking,” Prang said. “The vehicles are environmentally-friendly, and should help address the issues of parking and congestion.”
Melissa Antol, planning manager for long-range and mobility planning for West Hollywood, said the Zipcars are very popular in Los Angeles and other cities where they are available, and she believes they will be a big hit in West Hollywood. Ten Zipcars will be stationed in spaces on Fountain Avenue, Poinsettia Place, Orlando Avenue, Orange Grove Avenue and Hancock Avenue. Antol said the locations were chosen because of their proximity to the city’s busy entertainment and commercial districts.
“It provides more transportation options for people who don’t want to be taking up space in a single-occupancy vehicle all the time,” Antol said. “In the city of West Hollywood, we are looking at using different sustainable transportation options. Zipcar is another piece of the puzzle to get people to reduce the number of trips they take and reduce the number of miles traveled.”
To rent a Zipcar, drivers submit credit card information and pay a one-time application fee of $25, and $60 annually. Users must be 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license. They can then rent the vehicle for however long they need it, and the gasoline and insurance is included. After signing up, the drivers receive a key card that will open and start the vehicle, and it will only work for the specific car and the amount of time reserved. Drivers can either sign up online, or visit the Zipcar office at 1529 Cahuenga Blvd.
The city of West Hollywood is partnering with Zipcar on the program to provide the parking spaces, but no taxpayer money is involved.
“It is in our best interest to look at alternatives to driving such as bicycling and vehicle-sharing,” Antol added. “We are looking at every option to reduce single-occupancy vehicle use in our city.”
For information, call (866)4ZIPCAR, or visit www.zipcar.com.
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