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Richmond paves way for car-sharing

Modo car co-op signs are coming to Richmond after city council paved the way for car-share vehicles Monday.  -
Modo car co-op signs are coming to Richmond after city council paved the way for car-share vehicles Monday.
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Cars—that people share with strangers—are coming to City Centre streets.

Up to three on-street parking spaces around Canada Line stations will be reserved for car-share vehicles, after city council approved the change Monday.

Douglas Dunn, fleet director for the car-sharing co-operative Modo, said there’s a “huge push” from members to expand into Richmond.

“We really see ourselves as another accessory to the lifestyle needs of someone in a given city,” said Dunn.

Modo is seeking to locate vehicles near Canada Line stations on Lulu Island, and Dunn said the co-op could begin operating in Richmond by October.

The Vancouver-based not-fot-profit organization already has 270 vehicles in Metro Vancouver, and each vehicle has its own designated parking space.

Dunn said Modo hasn’t been able to secure parking spots from owners of private lots, so the company approached the city for on-street spots near rapid transit.

“Having vehicles near these transit hubs makes the most sense, and often in many cases, the planning and construction that’s occurred around these stations favours residential housing,” he said. “So it makes sense as a natural thing to have car-sharing.”

Other car-share companies are also looking to expand into Richmond. So far, Car2Go is the only one with a local presence, with two vehicles stationed in the parking lot of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, according to a city staff report.

Staff say that parking car-share vehicles is best in off-street lots, and six such spots—in multi-family residential developments—are under construction. One, at Moncton Street and No. 1 Road in Steveston, is already complete.

But no off-street spots exist yet near the Canada Line, hence the city’s move to reserve some street parking for car-sharing.

Transportation planner Joan Caravan called it “an interim measure until off-street spaces become available.”

“The ability to utilize street parking would further promote car-sharing due to the increased visibility and convenience,” said Caravan in her report to council.

Parking spaces will be converted into car-share spots upon request, on a first-come, first-served basis. Car-share firms will pay the city $300 per year for the privilege, and spaces will be allocated for two-year terms.

If the space is a pay-parking zone, that cost will be higher—according to the average annual revenue the space generates.

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