Car Sharing Zips Beyond Downtown

January 27, 2016, by Markeshia Ricks - Stefanie Lapetina is the type of person New Haven is seeking to attract: She lives in the city, works here, and instead of owning a car rides her bike or takes the Yale shuttle. But she admits that when it’s cold, trying to navigate the city makes her consider buying a car. “In the winter it’s hard,” said Lapetina, who lives on Mechanic Street. “It makes me feel a little trapped.”  Lapetina (pictured) has tried to bridge that gap with a membership in the car-sharing service Zipcar. But the limited service in town is more convenient to where she works at the Yale School of Medicine than to where she lives. If she wants to take a Zipcar at night, she first takes Uber to a pick-up location near Science Hill, and when she returns the car, takes an Uber back home.But in the next two weeks, according to city Parking Authority COO Sammy Parry and Doug Hausladen, the city’s transit chief, people like Lapetina, who are trying to resist the lure of car ownership, will have a new option. The pair announced Monday night that the Zipcar car-sharing company will expand from its downtown and Yale-centric locations out into the city’s neighborhoods, starting with the city-owned surface lot at State and Mechanic streets. Two of the lot’s 35 spaces will be reserved for Zipcars. The parking authority currently manages four garages — Union Station Air Rights Garage, Crown Street and Temple Street — that already have two Zipcars apiece. But between those garages and the Zipcar locations that belong to Yale, Southern Connecticut State University and Yale-New Haven Hospital, most of the cars are downtown, and difficult to reach for most New Haveners. Hausladen said the parking authority (which he runs along with the city’s transportation department) has seven garages in all and manages more than a dozen surface lots — meaning space to expand Zipcar.

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