1337 E. 5th St (New CAR-FREE.ORG administrative office)
Meeting began at 6:30PM
Treasurer, Anne Connors; vice-President and Board Member, Roy Young; Advisory Committee Member Jennifer Swann, ; and League Cycling Instructor & CAT Member, J Dietrich Reisenberger; plus Director, Steve Schmitt.
The discussion during this meeting centered on hourly car rental (Zipcar for example) and the potential for CAR-FREE CAT to accelerate the trend of more ride sharing in order to improve mobility, decrease pollution and congestion, while lowering individual and regional transportation costs. With cyclists accounting for only 1 in 2,000 commuters traveling to work; transit riders less than 1% and walkers, less than 5% and not easily increased, ride sharing is the only alternative feasible to significantly impact the 86.6% of work commuters traveling by themselves in their own car. Hourly car rental, such as that offered by Zip Car is an essential option (as are walking, cycling and transit) to permit more people to forgo car ownership and single occupancy travel in cars.
Initial contact with Zipcar several years ago revealed the Lehigh Valley is well down on the list of metropolitan areas and will not be serviced by Zipcar for many years to come. (Lehigh Valley is approximately the 300th largest metropolitan area in the United States.) How can we make readily available hourly car rental happen sooner is the question. The experience of Arlington County in Virginia would indicate that other areas are thinking the same way. That county got Zipcar to open with a financial guarantee with excellent results.
Stakeholders in a car sharing program:
- Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges (LVAIC)
- Hotels/Motels-Discover Lehigh Valley is the convention center that oversees visitor travel.
- Young professionals with two household incomes desiring to have only one car
- Parking Garage Operators/Parking Authorities
Assess way to bring stakeholder into effort
LVAIC – Jennifer Swann
Discover Lehigh Valley-unassigned
Young Professionals-committee includes Sarah Andrews, Kim Schaffer
If CAT is going to work on this project we need a small grant to cover administrative costs.
Both California and Oregon – have passed laws to make peer to peer ride share easy.
Anne suggests Seniors she works with in State Representative Steve Samuelson could use the car to get to the doctor and get rid of their car (save money) Anne volunteered to look at State grant opportunities and legislation affecting car/ride sharing.
A question about car sharing was raised – would we need a centralized location for pick up and return? Yes and no, Berlin has 3000 offices! So most people could walk to one. Car sharing companies in Germany don’t push the savings/environmental benefits as much as suggesting you could drive different car each day.
Steve pointed out that Pennsylvania has a regressive tax on hourly car rental. While
small it could be onerous with repeated hourly rentals.
Uhaul has developed a ride share system now in use at Lafayette College, there is some hourly car rental at Lehigh University.
and we have many park and ride lots, most serviced by
Lanta. But No one uses Lanta to get to the park and ride
planning commission – is expanding the park and ride system rapidly.
Steve also wants an app contest – the app will allow people to buy a seat in a car for trips in the Lehigh Valley similar to the Zimride app that uses paypal to pay for a trip before it starts. The arrangements are made through Facebook. Roy volunteered to help work on this.
The app could be modified to work for specific employers or other destinations such as hospitals and supermarkets (Stakeholders: Lehigh Valley Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital and Giant).
Rodale made their own program at significant cost and more than 400 employees signed up. But few shared rides resulted. Steve suggests the employee base was older and better off than our target audience. The younger and lower income households are more likely to want to ride share? Is someone willing to ask Rodale for use of their ride share program?
Steve would like to change the bus schedule to accommodate people in the neighborhood around our new office at 1337 East Fifth Street. Steve also talked about long term issues with the bus shelters being poorly lit, badly designed and maintained, plus not enough of them.